Bob’s Burgers has been a breakout hit in recent years. Its quirky characters, sense of humor, and digestible stories have contributed to a following similar to The Office, where fans frequently watch the entire show all the way through numerous times.
One of those fans is my wife. I definitely enjoy the show, but not like her. She has watched the entirety of the show upwards of 10 times. By extension, I’ve seen most of the episodes multiple times, and have essentially seen most of them by osmosis many more times.
One of Bob’s Burgers’ most endearing elements is their use of off-beat original songs. Almost every episode has at least one, either during the episode or over the credits (or sometimes both, with an in-episode song reprised in the credits). There are hundreds of songs at this point, enough that they were able to release a two-hour-long album with well over 100 songs in 2017. That album covered the first 107 episodes of the show; as of this article, there are more than 200 episodes.
Obviously, choosing five to ten of your favorite Bob’s Burgers songs is a nearly impossible task. There were dozens of songs that could have easily made the cut. In the end, I asked myself which songs would immediately draw me into the other room if my wife was watching an episode and I heard the song through the wall.
“Electric Love” (Season 3 Episode 16)
“Electric Love” was the first song I thought about when I started brainstorming this list. The chorus of “Electric Love” is my ringtone for my wife, if that tells you anything about my love for this song. A “musical reimagineactiment” about “man-on-elephant love,” “Electric Love” is written by the Belcher’s son Gene as part of a science fair presentation about a real-life elephant that Thomas Edison electrocuted. I think that every part of this song is legitimately great: the wordplay (“They’ll say, aw, Topsy at my autopsy”), the backing vocals, the rich harmonies, and the orchestral accompaniment are all fantastic. “Electric Love” is the pinnacle of Bob’s Burgers songwriting, even without fart sounds.
“Kill the Turkey” (Season 3 Episode 5)
This article comes out Thanksgiving weekend, but “Kill the Turkey” would have made this list regardless. The Belchers pretend to be the family of their landlord, Mr. Fishoeder, so he can impress his ex-girlfriend, who enjoys breaking up marriages. Linda, who hates plays without music, writes a delightful Thanksgiving song. She describes a pretty standard Thanksgiving, asking someone to “pass the cranberry sauce” and observing that “the turkey looks great” before surprisingly punctuating the lyrics by declaring “kill the turkey.” What sells the song for me is Linda’s signature optimism and joy, exemplified by the endearing lyrics “thank you for loving me/thank you for being there.” The song is reprised over the credits with a big band accompaniment, which complements the song nicely. “Kill the Turkey” is deliciously toe-tapping and a must-listen for Thanksgiving.
“Amor por Favor (Me Llamo Tina)” (Season 6 Episode 6)
At a dinner party, the Belcher children write and perform “Amor por Favor” in an attempt to break up their aunt’s relationship with their guidance counselor, Mr. Frond. They portray the song as “an old Spanish ballad.” The absurdity of the scene makes it one of my all-time favorites. Tina tonelessly belts basic Spanish phrases (“buenos dias como estas” and “me llamo Tina,” for example), which Louise incorrectly “translates” as Gene strums a toy guitar. The deadpan seriousness with which the children perform the song is the cherry on top of this absolutely hilarious song.
“I Want Some Burgers and Fries” (Season 5 Episode 17)
Another classic from the Belcher children, “I Want Some Burgers and Fries” is performed outside the restaurant by Gene on his keyboard with Tina and Louise rubbing plastic straws in paper cup lids as percussion. Tina and Louise asynchronously add occasional backing vocals, chiming in “don’t you tell me no lies!” The keyboard and cup straw combination is a surprisingly effective instrumentation.
When the song is reprised over the ending credits, there are some additional elements added: drums, cymbals, recorder, and distortion on some of Gene’s vocals. I enjoy both versions of the song, it’s just so much fun that it makes you want to dance in your seat. Despite the song’s simplicity—Gene is only repeating three notes on the keyboard and most of the instruments aren’t instruments—the song comes together really nicely.
“T-I-N-A” (Season 3 Episode 17)
My favorite Bob’s Burgers songs fall under two categories: surprisingly catchy and absolute absurdity. “T-I-N-A” definitely falls into the latter category. Jimmy Jr. attempts to croon a song to Tina while he is dressed up like a horse, using each letter in her name to tell her how she makes him feel. Unfortunately, Jimmy Jr. is neither a crooner nor a songwriter, so the results are hilarious. Jimmy Jr.’s metaphors never make it much further than “breathtaking,” including the line “A is for asthma, that is a disease that takes people’s breath away” (luckily, Jimmy Jr. doesn’t have asthma, or this line would contradict the earlier line “N is for no one else takes my breath away”). “T-I-N-A” is wonderfully ridiculous, but also perfectly captures the awkwardness and cluelessness of middle school.
“The Fart Song” (Season 4 Episode 12)
I couldn’t have a list of Bob’s Burgers songs without a song about farts. “The Fart Song” is appropriately named, because it’s the show’s crowning achievement of fart songs. Gene writes a story that parodies Rock and Roll High School. In the story, Gene locks Mr. Frond out of his office and plays “The Fart Song” over the intercom. Once again, the wordplay is brilliant, with Gene seemingly using every synonym he can think of for “butt.” I also love the keytar and driving rock beat, which are unabashedly awesome. Only Bob’s Burgers can say “farts are liberty” and not be ridiculous! (Okay, it’s still ridiculous, but you know what I mean.)
“The Briefest of Glances” (Season 7 Episode 5)
Tina mentally sings “The Briefest of Glances” to a boy she sees across the room in detention. Written in a lilting 8/8 time signature, it’s actually a pretty normal song overall. The song is a charmingly middle school conceit, with Tina falling in love with someone with whom she has only exchanged a single second of eye contact, building an entire love story around that glance, and the fantasy world of her imagination. My favorite part is when Mr. Fronde interrupts Tina because she has just been standing in place in the middle of the classroom while the song unfolds in her mind, and then immediately returns to the song to sing the final climactic notes before resuming what she was doing before singing the song.
“Bad Things are Bad” (Season 4 Episode 22)
There are actually a few songs that would have worked from this two-part story, including its mirror “Nice Things are Nice,” the James Bond-esque “Wharf of Wonder,” and the song sang by Felix’s aspiring singer girlfriend “Mr. Dance Floor.” In the end, I chose “Bad Things are Bad.” A melancholy waltz, “Bad Things are Bad” is sung by a large cast of the characters, demonstrating the inner fears and shifting motivations of the characters. I also would like to point out Teddy’s section, which is slightly more up-tempo and in a different time signature (4/4 instead of 6/8), making it a perfect contrast to the rest of the song. While “Bad Things are Bad” is a little more reserved than the other songs on this list, it’s still a zany and worthy entry into the Bob’s Burgers songbook.
These are obviously just a few of the many memorable songs to come out of Bob’s Burgers. Since the songs are some of the most distinctive and beloved features of the show, I’m sure that there will be hundreds more by the end of the show’s run. What are some of your favorites?
Listen to The Bob’s Burgers Music Album on Spotify. Bob’s Burgers · Album · 2017 · 112 songs.