A new season of Girls5Eva has been reason enough to celebrate these last few weeks, but with the Girls in Album Mode all season, we've been gifted with a new batch of songs on top of what was already a treasure trove from season one. In its first two years, Girls5Eva has amassed a truly stunning array of pop parodies. With the second season wrapping up this week, it's clearly time to get ranking, so we've assembled the 25 best songs from Girls5Eva, from brief snippets heard in montages to full-on bangers. Let us be your playlist curators with this list of pop parody perfection.
Dawn swallowing a LEGO figure in the season 1 finale (which was turned into yet another phenomenal Girls5Eva callback at the end of season 2) was punctuated by Dawn's plaintive piano ballad about the little man now inside of her, and her worry that he might have a little sword.
Dawn's satisfaction that their new album has "no skips" only highlights the inherent skippability of this song from their original album, which is a whole lot of the Girls asking each other if they're ready and not a lot of song to be ready for.
The logic of the central notion in "Stronger Than the Best" could leave your mind in a pretzel for hours, which is probably why this one ultimately wound up on the cutting room floor, but as a window into Dawn's sometimes overcomplicated songwriting brain, it's invaluable.
Kev's manipulative social-media shot at Summer, alleging that she cheated on him and ended their marriage, is a nod to Justin Timberlake's Britney-decimating "Cry Me a River," though not nearly as catchy.
Dawn's anxieties over a "geriatric" pregnancy are assuaged by this folky ode to New York City women who wait to have kids until they've got their lives a little more figured out. As a season 2 follow-up to "New York Lonely Boy," it's a nice companion, even if it's a little less earworm-y.
They're on a boy-kissing mission to space! You've gotta love a song seemingly inspired by Britney Spears's outer space adventures in the "Oops! I Did It Again" music video.
When a woman in scorned, she goes after her man's car. That's just the way it is. This song specifically references Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" and Beyoncé's "Hold Up" from Lemonade. It also references Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale, a namecheck so perfect we had to bump it up the rankings a bit.
Season 2 saw the Girls trying out every avenue possible in order to promote themselves, including an Instagram live where they debuted their song about the largest American city that didn't already have a hit song written about it. It's smart marketing combined with smooth vocals about the city's walkable downtown and the nation's second-best zoo, a fine tribute to the hometown of Leighton Meester and Kate Capshaw.
once again thinking about THE MASKICAL: THE MUSICAL from GIRLS5EVA pic.twitter.com/J7OFYdnGjo— the morally corrupt juan barquin (@woahitsjuanito) July 13, 2021
While we all need to get behind some kind of social media push to make Maskical! The Musical a real thing on Broadway, for now we'll just have to make do with this snippet of Wickie performing in the musical-theater version of The Mask (and really the entire oeuvre of Sir James Carrey).
Dawn's often highly analytical songwriting style can veer into the tortured, as was the case in season two with this 8-minute long exploration of the hundreds of meanings of the word "set." A compelling subject for a pop song? Absolutely not. But it is a testament to Sara Bareilles's ability to imbue everything she performs with deep feeling that you're willing to take this extended journey with her anyway.
Summer and Kev's song in support of chastity from back in their teen idol days suggests ignoring those natural premarital urges and looking up medical oddities until the feelings pass. After all, Jesus, Santa, and Kermit the Frog all waited.
The highlight of Kev's boy-band era was likely this banger about how the boys are all grown up and hot enough to make out, but they're not gonna do naked stuff, because that's how how boy bands sell their brand of sex appeal. That all sounds very high-minded for a song that tries to pun the word "puberty" a few different ways, but you get the picture.
Written and added to the Girls5Eva album late in the game, this one ends up being the song that both Wickie's normie boyfriend and the label latch onto as their choice for the lead single. Inspired by Gloria blowing her knee out in the season premiere, the tune is maybe a bit tamer than some of the other options, but as Gloria puts it, it's "the only song about arthroplasty you can slam ham to." Sold.
Speaking of Gloria, this folksy, woman-of-the-woods, Joni Mitchell style song about feathered skies and brandy grass and "lover's dove by daytime moon" is really just a word jumble of soft nature words that represent Gloria and her ex Caroline maybe falling back in love again. It's a change of pace from the show's signature pop, a detour into lesbian longing with a haunting Paula Pell lilt.
Gloria's obsession with finding out whether original Girls5Eva member Ashley really faked her death in that infinity pool all those years ago ends up just masking the fact that she — and the other Girls — all miss Ashley terribly. So they end up sampling one of Ashley's voice-mail prompts and write the album's big love song about their departed friend. And it's genuinely moving!
After Dawn accidentally plagiarizes a song from a children's cartoon that had embedded itself into her head, she and Summer get to work on a song about breaking free from their shitty former manager, Larry. With lyrics about the "Bob Cratchitt hours" they had to work and the set of steak knives he promised to whoever could land Carson Daly first, the song strikes a note of triumph over a creep — "everything we do belongs to us" — even if Larry did try to get the song squashed.
The song so definitionally Girls5Eva that it serves as the show's theme song, it's probably the most perfect example of the girl-power, attitude-forward, grammar-flaunting aesthetics of the TRL Pop era that the show evokes. It's also an insidious earworm and will 5ever mess with the way you think about words that sound like numbers.
One of the lowkey triumphs of season two was this aching emotional ballad from the perspective of a woman admitting that any time she gets sad or cries about anything — at a movie, while reacting to someone else's bad news — she's really just thinking about herself. It's just the latest example of Girls5Eva writing pop songs that reveal unflattering neuroses about the songwriter, i.e. Dawn.
It takes an incredibly smart songwriter to make something as delightfully stupid as "The Splingee." A naked attempt by Girls5Eva to start their own dance craze, "The Splingee" is merely a laundry list of seemingly unconnected movements — two-handed salute! chef's kiss! doggy wrists! — delivered with a lot of attitude and an ever-loosening grasp on sanity. Remember to wait for the sound… that wasn't the sound.
The hot new track to kick off season two was "Momentum," a perfectly meaningless declaration of purpose as the group enters Album Mode. Like with "Famous 5Eva," "Momentum" is mostly wordplay, breaking down buzzy self-descriptors into their component parts ("We got momentum, yeah, um it's our moment"; "Outstanding… ding! We stand out"), but it's also a genuinely hot and danceable hit worthy of kicking off the new album. Intensity? These ladies are tens in the city.
The sharpest of the songs written for the original Aughts incarnation of Girls5Eva is "Dream Girlfriends," a razor-encrusted confection and on-target indictment of pop-girl marketing. The Girls are offering men the fantasy they've always wanted: girlfriends who are so uncomplicated they might as well not be real. The song nails its message immediately: "We're your dream girlfriends / 'cause our dads are dead." It's the "Cool Girl" trope in pop form: they want to watch you play darts and tell them why Tarantino's a genius, offering absolutely no pushback on anything. And, as we've come to expect from this show, the genre parody of a slinky-cool third single is spot on.
Season two's hottest jam is "B.P.E." an explicit and confident ode to Big Pussy Energy. More than anything else in the show's two seasons, this is the song that lets Wickie go full Beyoncé, and it's recurrence throughout the season gives the show the chance to brag on its multifaceted charms. It's Girls5Eva at their most attitude-forward, and that hook will get stuck in your head for days.
Sara Bareilles wrote this one herself to cap off season one, and it's easy to overlook what a tricky task it would be to pen a song that would emotionally pay off eight episodes' worth of story and character development while also sounding credibly like a take-our-power anthem and be funny and hit viewers right in the feelings. "4 Stars" does all of that, giving each member of the group their moment to shine, and delivering some sneaky great jokes on the back of perfect little pop hooks ("who cares what they say / we're gonna do it our way / like Sinatra or Burger King"). The moment the group storms the stage at Jingle Ball and performs "4 Stars," at last the pop act they've always wanted to be… it's a triumph.
Girls5Eva splits its time fairly equally between showing off Dawn as a skilled and laudable songwriter and as someone who can get lost in her own neuroses. There's no better example of the latter than "I'm Afraid (Dawn's Song of Fears)," which she wrote while malnourished and sleep deprived, visited by the ghost of either Dolly Parton or Tina Fey. Dawn's laundry list of fears gets funnier and more outlandish as it goes, from worrying she'll raise a son radicalized on Reddit to fearing that under every bus stop is a sinkhole of rats. The song is wildly joke dense and so satisfyingly unhinged… and will probably give you at least one thing to be afraid about. The baby and the ceiling fan!
This one has been rightly celebrated as a triumph since the first season of Girls5Eva dropped, and with very good reason. A note-perfect Paul Simon parody about the phenomenon of only-child little boys growing up independent in the big city, conversant with doormen and excited to listen to NPR in the morning. Dawn's anxieties over raising a kid with a weird childhood gets reflected with a huge amount of tenderness, humor, and kindness, peppered with jokes about The Strand and Michael Babaro that anyone would appreciate but fancy-boy New Yorkers will really appreciate.
Seasons 1 and 2 of Girls5eva are both available for streaming on Peacock.
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Joe Reid is the Managing Editor at Primetimer and co-host of the This Had Oscar Buzz podcast. His work has appeared in Decider, NPR, HuffPost, The Atlantic, Slate, Polygon, Vanity Fair, Vulture, The A.V. Club and more.