All the High School Musical Songs Ranked from Worst to Best

A scene from “High School Musical 3 Senior Year”
Image from IMDB

The recently held “D23 Expo”unveiled Disney’s promised series in their new streaming service. And along with MCU shows, “The Malandorian,” and the “Lizzie McGuire” revival is the obscure “High School Musical” series. The title alone – “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.”

If you think the title is enough to give you an aneurysm,wait ‘til you hear the plot.

Basically, it’s about the next-generation East High students holding a High School Musical production at the same high school where the original High School Musical was performed.

Confused? So am I.

The reboot enraged some of the purist fans, including me. (Cue: This is not what I want. This is not what I planned.) But since Vanessa Hudgens will be breaking free from the Gabriella role, all we can do is look back on the majestic, unparalleled work of art that is “High School Musical.” Nothing united our generation like the movie franchise’s discography – and our field demonstrations and Christmas parties in grade school and high school can attest to that.

So in honor of the glorious hallmark of our childhoods, here’s a definitive, completely unbiased ranking of all the “High School Musical” songs – from “ugh skip” to “not a want, but a need.”

31) We’re All in This Together (Graduation Mix)

This slowed-down version of the energetic mega-hit is a send-off for our beloved characters before they enter college. It’s a beautiful scene, and admittedly, some tears were shed. But let’s face it, we prefer the version where we can do the iconic dance steps.

30) Boys Are Back

The choreography is untouchable, and it highlights both Zac Efron’s and Corbin Bleu’s dancing skills. But the song itself doesn’t speak to me, considering that it’s supposed to be about reliving our childhood. And frankly, this entire scene doesn’t move the plot forward. You can cut it out from the movie and none would be the wiser.

29) High School Musical

There’s something about this song that’s so disappointing. The words just don’t roll off the tongue naturally for it to become an earworm. And for a song that’s supposed to cap off the entire franchise, this one is forgettable, which is sad – and not the good kind.

28) Scream

I admire Zac Efron’scommitment to his character and this number is just one of many that shows his dedication. But unfortunately, “Scream” follows the more iconic “Bet On It” from “HSM 2,” so it ended up seeming derivative and unoriginal. Also, can we talk about how weird the Doctor Strange-esque spinning room was? It was cool, yes, but weird. Especially for a musical set in high school.

27) Senior Year Spring Musical

The whole Senior Year production is basically a recap of some of the songs we saw in the past hour. The sequence is fun, don’t get me wrong, but since I literally just heard these songs a few minutes ago, all I wanted was to move on to the next scene.

26) All For One

This is also fun scene, but sadly, it pales in comparison with the final number from “High School Musical 1” – probably due to its lack of iconic dance steps.“All For One” is just another forgettable song from the whole franchise.

25) What I’ve Been Looking For (Reprise)

This is supposedly the original arrangement, and yet it comes across as uninspired and boring. I’m still looking for what makes this version so special, TBH.

24) I Don’t Dance

 Chad singing that he doesn’t dance while dancing is ironic. But dancing better than pretty much everyone else on that football field while still claiming that there’s no chance that he’s a dancer – that’s a weird flex, Chad, but okay.

23) You are the Music in Me (Reprise)

Sharpay, we love you, but this is just . . . no. The saving grace is Zac Efron’s falsetto (which strikes the balance between hilariously good and awkwardly bad) and acting. This scene made me see why he takes on more comedic roles nowadays.

22) Fabulous

The lyrics are monotonousand repetitive at best, but this is Sharpay’s first solo song in the franchise, which is enough for us fans. #SharpayDeservedBetter

21) A Night to Remember

 At first glance, it seems like this song pulled out all the stops. But if you dissect it, the lyrics will make you stop and think. I mean it says “The night of nights, tonight,” for heaven’s sake. The first few verses do make up for this lyrical mess though.

20) Walk Away

Gabriella is so extra she has a solo, uber-dramatic goodbye song in each movie. And I’m totally here for it. I firmly believe that Gabriella has the makings of a Disney princess – she’s weepy, she’s smart and pretty, she expresses her sorrow through songs, and she has unrealistic expectations about love. But what I love about “Walk Away,” aside from Gabriella’s dramatic poses on the walls and windows of her house, is that it sounds like a 2000s R&B song, like a Natasha Bedingfieldor Corinne Bailey Rae hit.

19) I Want It All

The production value of “I Want It All” is worth more than that of all the other songs combined. It’s refreshing to finally see Sharpay and Ryan take their turn in the spotlight – and with no less than an entire sequence deserving of a Broadway stage.

18) Work This Out

The lyrics, the melody, the choreography, and the creative use of pots and pans – what’s not to like about this song? Resolving an issue through a musical number, that’s the true “High School Musical” way.

17) Now or Never

Gabriella is secretly a drama queen and I am obsessed with all the scenes where she shows this side of her. So that slow-mo moment where she stands up on the bleachers, sings “Trooooooy,” and interrupts a basketball game just to motivate her beau is definitely one of my faves.

16) What Time Is It?

That “summer… summer… summer…” chant at the intro is way too relatable. This song sets the premise of the movie in a fun way, which immediately hooks the viewers within the first few minutes of the film.

15) Get’cha Head in the Game

Zac Efron shooting some hoops WHILE dancing? It’s a yes for me. Plus, the song absolutely slaps. It’s the perfect track to listen to when you want to be productive at work (trust me) or when you’re working out (not that I’ve ever stepped inside a gym though).

14) Bop to the Top

This is our first glimpse of Ryan and Sharpay’s theatrics. And it’s quite a ride. Although lyrically, the song has a lot of room for improvement.

13) We’re All in This Together

This is it. The song we all know the steps to, the one we perform in almost every field demo in high school. Not to brag, but I can still nail the chorus part, and I bet you can, too.

12) Stick to the Status Quo

This whole number – the acting, the choreography, the theatrics, and the message – is peak high school. If you tell me in 2019 that they can make a song about peer pressure this entertaining and engaging, I wouldn’t have believed you. I was disappointed that a musical number never broke out in my high school cafeteria. I still am.

11) Breaking Free

I know a lot of people will come at me for not ranking this classic at least in the top five. But let’s face it, if you take “Breaking Free” out of context, it won’t stand as strong compared to the other HSM classics in terms of musicality. Nevertheless, “Breaking Free” is one of those pivotal numbers that really strikes the heart of the film, sealing it as a timeless HSM song.

10) Just Wanna Be With You

“Just Wanna Be With You”is the kind of song that instantly lifts you spirit, even if you have no one to sing it to. Troy, as always, sweeps us off our feet with his charming antics, whileGarbriella does what she does best: mag-pabebe. We also get to witness the start of something new (badumtss) as Ryan asks Kelsi to prom while sharing a duet on the piano.

9) When There Was Me and You

Again with Gabriella’s dramatic solos. This made me realize that that girl has a knack for leaning and sliding against walls and lockers. Still not complaining, though. This is the theme song of the Nilandi Pero Hindi Jinowa, Binigyan ng Playlist at Kinantahan sa Messenger Pero Iniwan, and other obscure Facebook groups.

8) Bet On It

“Bet On It” is a visual masterpiece. Troy Bolton singing out of anguish on a golf course? Yes, please. The song is a bop plus a gold mine for memes. There’s nothing about this song that I’d change.

7) Every Day

In typical Gabriella fashion, she pops up toward the end of the movie after breaking up with Troy. But if it means we get a beautiful duet, such as “Every Day,” then by all means, girl, you do you.

6) Can I Have This Dance

Is therea more romantic way of getting asked to prom? It’s a freaking well-choreographed waltz on a rooftop. AND IT RAINS RIGHT AFTER SHE SAYS “Let it rain, let it pour”! This kind of stuff only happens in movies, yet high schoolers still find themselves wishing for their own “Can I Have This Dance”-moment. But it never happens because as Gabriella said, “it’s like catching lightning.”

5) Gotta Go My Own Way

The OG break-up song. This is our modern-day Marco Polo. When someone sings “What about us?”, somebody else will definitely follow with “What about everything we’ve been through?”. If not, you can always try to sing both parts yourself.

4) What I’ve Been Looking For

Ryan and Sharpay’s rendition of “What I’ve Been Looking For” is a hundred times better than the original. That’s a fact. And Ryan was right; everybody does love a good jazz square.

3) Right Here, Right Now

“I’m looking at you and my heart loves the view.” That’s the kind of line that makes your heart flutter and turn your insides to mush. Vanessa and Zac’s chemistry is evident through their eye contact alone. It makes my Zanessa heart ache.“Right Here, Right Now” shows that sometimes, in love, there’s nothing else bigger than you, your partner, and the moment. Sigh, to be in love.

2) Start of Something New         

The song where it all started; the meet-cute of all meet-cutes. The charming setup of this scene gave us all a false impression of New Year parties and how we would meet the love of our life. The only thing I don’t like about this number is Troy’s outfit. Waaay out of character, IMO.

1)You are the Music in Me

“Music in Me” is the best Troy-Gabriella duet – I said what I said. It encapsulates perfectly what their relationship has been from the start. What’s special about this number is that they’re not in the middle of a major event – they’re not fighting, not performing, not breaking up, not getting back together – it’s just them being a normal couple. And their chemistry is just bouncing off of the walls. It’s every time I see you, my heart sings translated into a song.“Music in Me” lets us into the bubble of happiness and love Troy and Gabriella have.

It’s sad that we won’t be seeing the original cast take up the roles of our beloved characters anytime soon. But at least we still have these songs to celebrate “High School Musical.” And the fact that there’s a reboot (or sequel, whatever it is) means that people want to see more of this classic Disney creation. This just proves that once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

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