Stronger Than You: The 5 Best Songs from Steven Universe
It’s Steven Universe Week at Unicorn Booty, so all week long we’ll be exploring the artists, fans and creative aspects that make it the most progressive cartoon in history!
As part of Steven Universe week here at Unicorn Booty, we thought we’d take a look at one of the most important parts of the show: The music! The score by Aivi and Surasshu is amazing and shouldn’t be missed, but the real star are the songs, mostly written by Steven Universe creator Rebecca Sugar. Sugar also wrote most of vampire girl Marceline’s songs from the cartoon series Adventure Time, like this incredibly sincere tune between Marceline and Ice King, one of the show’s villains:
Naturally, Steven Universe has a lot of great music too. We struggled narrowing our list down to just five tunes, but we think these ones are the best… at least for today. Fair warning: our explanation of each song reveals some spoilers.
5. “Let Me Drive My Van Into Your Heart”
From the very beginning, Steven Universe treated viewers with a taste of the great music the show would offer. In the second episode, “Laser Light Cannon”, we find out that Steven’s dad Greg was a failed rock star named Mr. Universe. It’s surprising that Mr. Universe never became a cult icon because his song, “Let Me Drive My Van Into Your Heart” is so earnest and heartfelt, sort of like a Daniel Johnston joint. Sure, the central metaphor is a little clunky, and Tom Scharpling doesn’t necessarily have the strongest singing voice, but it’s. Mr. Universe doesn’t need to drive his van into our hearts — it’s already there. And as we hear more songs from him, like “Just A Comet”, his musical sincerity gets more and more wedged in there, like the buildup of plaque in an aorta.
4. “Giant Woman”
The song “Giant Woman” is important twice over: first, it explains the concept of Gem Fusion, where two gems can form to become a new being. Secondly, it’s really catchy. It’s been a couple years — almost two years exactly — since this episode originally aired, and we still get the song stuck in our heads constantly. That said, who among us doesn’t want to see a giant woman!? And, while it’s not in the clip above, when Opal — the giant woman in question — finally shows up, she’s voiced by singer Aimee Mann, who does a quickie reprise of the refrain.
3. “Strong In The Real Way”
The first few episodes of Steven Universe provided songs that were catchy and fun, but without much emotional depth. “Strong In The Real Way” from episode 20 (“Coach Steven”) features Pearl’s distress at Steven’s adoration of Sugilite, the brash and violent fusion of Garnet and Amethyst. Sugilite is powerful but not strong, as she lets her whims and emotions carry the day. The song also addresses Pearl’s internal feelings of jealousy; she was used to Steven looking up to her. The fact that Pearl’s actress, Deedee Magno Hall, has a gorgeous singing voice makes it all the better.
2. “Full Disclosure”
“Full Disclosure” (from the episode of the same name) is great in how it incorporates Steven’s ringtone into the song; it’s also a showcase for Zach Callison’s singing voice as Steven. The song also gets at the core idea of the show — love is important, but can also be difficult. We want to shield those we love from pain, but we can’t, and sometimes that very act of shielding can hurt.
Steven’s friend Connie is calling him because she’s worried that he’s hurt; though, aside from a black eye, he’s fine. Nevertheless, he’s worried that telling her about all the scary stuff that just happened will cause her pain. But then again, by not telling her, he’s inflicting even more pain on them both. Of course, the correct course ends up being honesty, but like Steven, sometimes we need to figure that out for ourselves.
1. “Stronger Than You”/”Something Entirely New”
OF COURSE “Stronger Than You” is our number one choice. Anyone familiar with the show knows that. Not only is it the first song sung by Garnet, voiced by R&B star Estelle, but it’s a big ol’ plot point and contains a huge spoiler. So, if you haven’t seen Steven Universe yet, you might also want to hold off on listening to “Stronger Than You” and stop reading right now. But if you have, continue on…
In the song, Garnet explains that she’s a fusion of Ruby (voiced by Charlyne Yi) and Sapphire (voiced by Erica Luttrell), and that her strength comes from a very simple fact: she’s made of love. Fusion is, among other things, a metaphor for intimacy; emotional intimacy as well as physical intimacy.
As a cheat — and if you can’t cheat on your own list, what can you cheat on? — we’ve also included the song above entitled “Something Entirely New”, which features a reprise of the “Stronger Than You” melody. The reprise makes sense as it’s a song about Ruby and Sapphire’s first fusion. In this case, the physical intimacy metaphor is pretty strong, especially when Ruby asks Sapphire if it’s her first time.