There’s a lot to love about Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe. It’s got action-packed adventures, emotionally charged storylines, charismatic and complex characters, a silly yet sage sense of humor, progressive political messages, and scads of catchy songs.
Today we toast the last of these attributes by counting down the 10 best numbers to have aired on this superb series to date.
10. OPENING THEME REVISED
The perfect vid to send your friends in need of an introduction to Steven Universe’s rich world, this clip out of Comic Con sets up Steven’s move to the Gem’s temple, the motivations for the whole team to fight for Earth, and the villains led by the big bad Yellow Diamond.
Best Moment: The look of uncertainty Greg gives the Gems as he leaves his young son in their care. My heart, she can’t take it!
9. STEVEN AND THE CRYSTAL GEMS
Metaphors are overrated. At Beach-A-Palooza, Steven got literal, turning his misadventures with time travel into a song that ends with a pretty intense—and specific to him—life lesson.
Best Moment: “I learned to stay true to myself by watching myself die!” The final line beautifully captures the show’s bittersweet sense of humor. It gets me every time, which is to say I laugh then sigh.
8. BE WHEREVER YOU ARE
The high point of Lars and Sadie’s tumultuous relationship got a catchy soundtrack with an island vibe thanks to singer/songwriter/third wheel Steven.
Best Moment: Lars tossing a slumbering Steven off his Sadie cuddle.
7. GIANT WOMAN
Celebrating the toppling of gender norms that’s become a common theme of the series, this song might be the tipping point for when I fell in love with Steven Universe. Here its young hero not only begs Pearl and Amethyst to fuse, but also dreams of the day he himself might be “a giant woman.”
Best Moment: The way a carefree Steven tosses his head back on his repeat of “a giant woman!” This jam never fails to make me smile.
6. YOU DO IT FOR HIM
Encouraging Connie’s warrior instincts, Steven asked Pearl to train his bestie in sword fighting. But when Pearl’s lessons extended beyond technique to zealotry, we got a window into her troubled relationship with his mom, Rose Quartz. It’s not a history Steven wants repeating.
Best Moment: Blushing, Pearl gives herself away, “You do it for her—that is to say—you’ll do it for him!”
5. I DON’T WANT THAT FOR YOU (STEVEN’S LAMENT)
Having thwarted Jasper’s assault on the Earth and survived by the skin of his teeth, Steven is reluctant to share the scary details of this mission with Connie. Rather than make her worry, he considers giving up the best friend he has.
Best Moment: The way Steven’s ring tone plays into this is a little bit of brilliant.
4. STRONG IN THE REAL WAY
This Broadway-style belter gave the show a chance to distinguish between strength of spirit and strength of body, as well as establish which is more key to success.
Best Moment: “Can’t you see that she’s out of control and overzealous. I’m telling this for your own good and not because I’m…(doesn’t sing the obvious rhyme “jealous.”)”
3. I’M LIKE A COMET
Before he was a sunburnt and pot-bellied Guitar Dad, Greg was “Mr. Universe,” sci-fi enthusiast and aspiring rock god. In a flashback to how Greg met Rose, the show offered a glimpse of him in his angsty glory. No wonder he caught the lead Gem’s eye.
Best Moment: Greg works that mic like Steven Tyler.
2. STRONGER THAN YOU
What is probably children television’s first lesbian love song, “Stronger Than You” provided the show-stopping climax of Garnet’s showdown with Jasper. Sung by British rapper Estelle, it’s an anthem about the power of love and partnership.
Best Moment: “I can see you hate the way we intermingle. But I think you’re just mad ‘cause you’re single.” So much moxie!
1. WHAT CAN I DO FOR YOU?
The chemistry between Greg and Rose—that was hot, right? Like not just flirty and fun, but hot. I mean, It makes sense, since the passion between this human goofball and this intergalactic superheroine had to be fierce enough not only to incite the jealousy of a possessive Pearl but also birth a destiny-bound baby boy unlike any the universe has seen before. Still, lions.
Best Moment: I’m living for Rainbow Quartz’s death drop into Pearl’s mic drop. No contest.
A new episode of Steven Universe airs tonight on Cartoon Network at 5:30PM.
Kristy Puchko may have ripped all of these songs of Youtube to create an iTunes playable album because Cartoon Network hasn’t, and she’s not made of stone!