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Every "High School Musical" Song, Ranked From Worst To Best

"It's hard to believe, that I couldn't see..."

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January 20th marks the 10-year anniversary of when this fab movie-musical trilogy entered our lives. Let's break down each song and see what it was that made the HSM series such a work of art.

40. "When There Was Me And You"

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Movie: High School Musical

Oh, honey, no. Who allowed this to happen to Vanessa Ann? It's like someone walked up to a pre-teen girl and said, "Hey, kid. Make up a sad break up song ON THE SPOT. Aaaaand, go!" She was also clearly told to incorporate some emotional physicality, but her dramatic gestures are less than impressive.

The plus side to this sleeper's existence is knowing that giant Wildcats poster exists somewhere in the world. WHERE CAN I GET THAT POSTER? SOMEBODY STILL HAS THAT POSTER.

39. "What Time Is It? (Reprise)"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

Aw, thanks, but no thanks. Not needed. We already know what time it is.

38. "Right Here, Right Now"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Sure, it’s a lovely little moment, especially with the magic of the revolving treehouse and the roof popping off to reveal the stars. It’s just a bit of a non-event compared to the rest of the masterpiece that is HSM3. Plus, at this point in the movie, we’re all still just waiting for Sharpay to make her entrance, so I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets a little impatient during this number.

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37. "What I've Been Looking For (Reprise)"

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Movie: High School Musical

IMPORTANT PLOT NOTE, in case you forgot: This is the version of the song that Kelsi originally wrote for the school musical. She's mad that Ryan and Sharpay re-vamped it earlier in the movie, so she decides to give this “real” version to Troy and Gabriella, who obviously know it by heart the second they look at the sheet music. Sure, Kelsi, this version may have more “heart," but too bad that heart isn’t beating. Cuz SNOOZE. Amiright?

36. "I Don't Dance"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

How is Ryan playing baseball and not crumbling into ashes? Because there’s dancing involved! Duh!

It’s a beautifully filmed dance number with some impressive moves from Gabreel and Bleu, but the group moments don’t feel very organic and kind of come out of nowhere. This song seems to have been put in there just because someone thought it would be a “fun” idea to do a baseball number. To me, it’s the only time in the series when HSM is doing an IMPRESSION of a musical as opposed to simply BEING a musical.

35. "Right Here, Right Now (Reprise)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

This version of the song ranks ever-so-slightly above the first version, simply because it comes at a point in the story when America's Sweethearts are at risk of being torn apart. The lyrics feel a bit more urgent to the situation. And this is musical theatre, dahh-ling! We need the music to enhance the drama!

34. "Just Wanna Be With You (Sharpay Version)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

It’s OK, Queen. We’ve all been there. We’ve all worked our asses off on stage — mugging and schmacting and indicating the best we damn can — only to be upstaged by some "silly" boy who doesn’t recognize the seriousness of showbiz. Like Patti LuPone staring into the lens of a camera, you don’t stand for Rocketman’s lack of professionalism. He may have that audience of peasants laughing, but he's a flash in the pan. You, Sharpay, show us what true star-quality looks like.

And on top of all this, I bet that stupid lighting guy STILL forgot the damn special. These amateurs aren’t worthy of you, my goddess.

*Bows down*

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33. "I Want It All (Reprise)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Too short… Ryan may want it all, but I just want more!

32. "You Are The Music In Me"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

This isn't your best, Kelsi, but it certainly does enough to put a smile on our faces.

We enjoy trying to figure out Efron’s inner-monologue here. He’s Acting with a capital "A" during every single second. My favorite emotion he goes through here is, “Oh, look, we’re on this measure now," as he constantly points to the sheet music. What a masterclass.

31. "Humuhumunukunukuapua'a"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

Queen Sharpay made playing Hawaiian cool long before Emma Stone did. Since this number isn’t really in the movie (it was cut and featured as a bonus of the DVD), no one really knows what the hell is happening here. Still, it’s a cute little gem.

30. "Walk Away"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

It’s hard to pull off an uptempo and sad breakup song. Luckily, Miss Vanessa Ann and the songwriters do a very nice job here. Kenny Ortega whips out some cleverness with the disappearing household items, signifying the pattern of pieces of Gabriella's life disappearing as she's always bounced from town to town. But it's never too much to pull focus from the story and performance.

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29. "All For One"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

This whole number is a blast, but since we’re comparing it to some heavy-hitters in the HSM series, we have to be hyper-critical. The choreography and filmmaking are rock-solid, but, visually, there isn’t too much to make this number stand out as much as the others. As far as the song goes, it’s a goddamn jam and a half with an insanely catchy chorus. The slight problem is that, as much as the “all for one, and one for all”-theme is present in the second incarnation, the whole song is just a tad lacking in the kind of specificity to the story you want in sophisticated musical theatre writing.

Can we also take a moment to reflect on Vanessa Ann’s obvious discomfort with swimming at the very end? She might have been flailing around at that moment, but at least King Ortega got the shot!

28. "A Night To Remember (Reprise)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Who the hell allowed this flop onto Sharpay’s stage? This whole intro makes you see red. I have a right mind to call the Bureau of Immigration to have this cheeky crumpet deported.

Luckily, the Queen swoops in on a magical umbrella like the badass, All-American, Mary Poppins heroine she is. She single handedly shows the little British tart that, even after hundreds of years, ‘Murica can still whoop England’s ass.

27. "What Time Is It?"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

In the opening of the second film, we’re reintroduced to our favorite characters and newly introduced to a bigger film budget. The money Disney was throwing at production is evident in the sleeker choreography, the more vibrant colors, and a larger mob of even more insanely talented dancers. We start off with a nice, cheesy chant right before the kids start to riot and do a million things that could potentially damage school property. It’s a cute beginning, but it doesn’t really turn magical until we move into the hallway, where Ortega shows off his brilliant knack for capturing movement.

The song, itself, isn’t the best, and some choreographic moments are a bit forced, especially in the cafeteria near the end. But all of that is forgiven, because summer.

26. "Last Chance"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Beautiful. Refreshing. Subtle. Breathtaking.

It’s literally like five seconds long, and yet I’m moved to tears.

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25. "Just Wanna Be With You (Final Performance)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

“THAT… is Troy Bolton,” exclaims the scary Juilliard lady. YES, MA’AM. YES IT IS. AND HE IS A STAR.

But being a star isn’t what this is all about. As the Juilliard people’s super serious exterior melts away, everyone realizes what being in a high school musical is all about: Friendships, and of course, perfectly executed choreo. And judging from Ryan’s reaction, Troy and Gabriella totally nailed their insanely difficult “side step, side step” moves. They’re such pros.

24. "The Start Of Something New"

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Movie: High School Musical

Here we witness a power couple being born. Looking back on it, they were just naïve little babies, but their chemistry in this song — the very first in the series — is what hooked America forever. The second Efron ripped off his coat to reveal his painfully 2005 button-down, we all got the impression that this moment was the start of something new.

AND IT WAS. OH, HOW IT WAS.

23. "Everyday"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

I’m digging the color palette here, Ortega. The whites and pale blues in front of the sky backdrop make all the kids look like angels lifting me off into musical theatre heaven. Efron even continues the almost-religious-like theme as he invites the Queen up on stage is a lesson on forgiveness.

I’m a bit concerned about when they join hands and make a circle, though. This is not a stage-worthy group formation. So many of those kids have their backs to this audience. If Ms. Darbus were there, she’d be horrified. They should know better.

22. "We're All In This Together (Graduation Mix)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

This is barely a production number. In fact, I can barely even tell what’s really happening here. Is this moment even really happening? Is it some sort of fantasy dream sequence?

Whatever. Don't care. Cuz I dare you to listen to this arrangement of the song and NOT cry.

And what a beautiful moment in the beginning with Ms. Darbus. Bless her. BLESS. HER.

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21. "You Are The Music In Me (Sharpay Version)"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

Yeah, that’s right. You'd better keep up, Kelsi. You’d better keep up, Efron. You'd better keep up, world. Once the Queen hits the stage, you have to either keep up or be swallowed whole. Them’s the breaks of showbiz, kids.

20. "Can I Have This Dance (Reprise)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Hey, fellas. Troy just skipped his own prom and drove about a zillion miles in his broken down car to give his girlfriend a prom of her own. What have you done for your girl recently?

Thank God Efron is here to remind you all that you need to step up your romance game.

19. "Scream"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Of course Troy has to be wearing his basketball jersey to have his “Rose’s Turn”-breakdown. We begin in a locker room, where Efron should be giving us a subtle moment. But his insistence on grabbing the door frame and flexing hits you like an avalanche of falling basketballs.

It’s quite an eventful musical number, complete with some high-budget effects and stunts. You'll spend most of the song worried about Troy’s dilemma, but you’ll likely spend the rest of your life worried about Efron’s poor knees. Lord, I’ve never seen a guy do so much jumping from high locations in my life. Troy wants to scream, but I’m sure his joints are already screaming.

I’m surprised Efron can still walk after filming this number. And I’m surprised I can still walk after witnessing the moment at 3:10.

*Passes out*

18. "The Boys Are Back"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Not since Newsies has there been such a display of visceral musical masculinity on the big screen. It’s Backstreet Boys-meets-Mad Max: The Musical. I’m not quite sure who these junkyard men are, but they, along with Efron and Bleu, stomp their asses off.

I’ve also never heard a group of teenage girls shriek as much as I did in the movie theatre when the little kids popped out from under the car.

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17. "Now Or Never (Reprise)"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Sweet Jesus, if I EVER saw a school play open with this number, it would paralyze me. This is better than 90% of what’s on Broadway right now. Most kids I went to high school with could barely remember their locker combinations, let alone immaculately execute a million fuete turns in perfect unison.

Look at Martha slaying the world and kicking her face. GET. IT. GURL.

16. "Bop To The Top"

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Movie: High School Musical

Ryan and Sharpay haters can take a seat after watching this. When have you ever seen kids THIS versatile? Ryan is doing his best Ricky Ricardo as Queen is giving me some Anita-in-West Side Story-realness. Here we’ve got two talents unashamedly giving it their all as they sing us their mantra. I have no idea what this play Kelsi wrote is about, but I do know that, after seeing this knock-out audition, these two are ready to book the new Gloria Estefan musical on Broadway.

And the ladder. The ladder is everything.

15. "Just Wanna Be With You"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

The life in this adorable number is really found in the beginning during the scene between Ryan and Kelsi. It’s one of the best scenes in the trilogy, not only because kids are having a tea party in the middle of school, but because the chemistry between these two characters is fascinating. The mutual admiration for each other is mainly due to the fact that they’re both artists (one a choreographer and the other a composer). However, their platonic dynamic and “wink wink”-ing at the topic of going to prom together reveals that they might have more of an understanding that is never directly discussed.

The rest of the number is obviously a delight. Though watching Efron treat nice auditorium chairs like a jungle gym and touch Vanessa Ann’s cute dress with wet paint on his hands riddles us with anxiety.

14. "Gotta Go My Own Way"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

The one thing the second HSM movie does better than in the other two films is its Grabriella Break Up Anthem. This song is a SMASH. You can sing it to yourself on a daily basis whenever you need to feel a little empowered. The moment completely belongs to miss Vanessa Ann, no matter how much Efron desperately tries to out-act her. Get out of her way, Troy! She is her own woman! Take back your stupid “T” necklace, and let her go her own way!

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13. "Work This Out"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

This much fun in a kitchen is a complete fire hazard and violation of health code, but WHO CARES? When there’s that much open space in a kitchen, you just have to dance. Just be aware that when you visit a resort, all of your food is being prepared by little kids who play catch with your burger patties, cook food in pots that have been on their heads, and burn your toast as they rehearse for their auditions for Stomp. Still, a restaurant this fun is one we would want to frequent as often as possible.

And the shot at the 2:00 mark is, by far, the greatest split second in the entire trilogy. IT IS ALL ABOUT 2:00.

12. "Now Or Never"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

HELLO, BUDGET.

For the opening number in HSM 3, the East High gymnasium has suddenly turned into Madison Square Garden, and millions of people have gathered to watch the game of a lifetime. We’ll never forget sitting in the movie theatre and watching Vanessa Ann rise from the sea of signs, saving her man with her magical words of encouragement. Thrilling.

The visuals are stunning, and the song, itself, is absolute fire. Your breath is ripped from your body as Efron confidently struts through the stampede of players — taking his moment to sing his heart out and show the audience that HSM3 is NOT. KIDDING. AROUND.

11. "Fabulous"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

It was at this moment when thousands of little boys across the world realized they were gay.

This was also the moment we all learned that the highest quality turkey comes from Maine, that you can put a piano in a pool without doing damage, and that Ashley Tisdale was sorely robbed of an Emmy.

10. "High School Musical"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

The song itself is pretty polarizing among fans, but HOLY HELL the production value is jaw dropping. And these kids are dancing like it’s their last day with a pair of legs. 2:58-3:07, alone, is enough to make me want to take a nap. Whoever that chick is who kicks her ankle to her chin, grabs it, and then does a turn with her leg in the air… She is my reason for living.

And how can you NOT feel the urge to stand up and cheer when the main cast steps outside of the scene and jumps into their frozen poses? Bravo, everyone involved. Standing ovation.

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9. "Breaking Free"

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Movie: High School Musical

Who cares if the lyrics are a tad trite? Who cares if the transition from Efron’s real pubescent voice to Drew Seeley’s polished pop vocals is a little glaring? Who cares if that Michael Jackson attempt at 1:17 is a touch self-indulgent? Every teenager fell in love with someone and/or something when they first saw this song. It’s the emotional climax the audience has been waiting for the entire ninety minutes (along with numerous commercial breaks).

Chad can’t help but shed his cool-guy skin and rise to his feet. Coach Bolton and Momma Montez can’t help but finally accept their children for their versatile gifts. And Lord Darbus can’t help but chuck her audition clipboard aside and scream, “SCREW CONVENTION!”

When you have Ryan and Queen Sharpay seething backstage in admitted defeat, that's how you know you've made it.

And the moon… THE MOON...

8. "Get'cha Head In The Game"

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Movie: High School Musical

The miracle here is how this number is able to be pulled off while still being COOL. I mean, c'mon — We've got a young teenage boy leading a pop musical theatre number while using athletic metaphors to reveal how conforming to his "role" as a jock is stifling his inner musical creativity. And all of this happens while playing basketball. This is a recipe for a lame, cheese-fest disaster. This number in the hands of any other director would have us rolling our eyes up to the high heavens. But Ortega remains unapologetic in his approach, diving into the Trilogy's first group production number head-first. And in that, the passion he invokes from his cast and crew becomes infectious.

7. "What I've Been Looking For"

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Movie: High School Musical

Sorry, Kelsi, but this is the version of the song you should have written. Ryan and Sharpay turned your dreary snooze-fest into an adorable, feel-good treasure. And you can just tell how many hours Ryan and Sharpay dedicated to rehearsing this. The hitting of the poses... The choreographed looks and mic hand-offs... Ryan’s stunning jazz square into the sideways layout kick… TROY AND GABRIELLA COULD NEVER.

Sure, Troy and Gabriella might have been a little more “organic” and “relatable” in their rendition of the song, but who needs relatability when your time-step is as FLAWLESS as The Queen's? So you can keep making those sour faces, Kelsi. Ryan and Sharpay are improving upon your song. You should be kissing their feet.

6. "Stick To The Status Quo"

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Movie: High School Musical

It was at this point when I was first watching ten years ago that my opinion of the movie went from, "Oh, this is fantastic," to, "OH... This is IMPORTANT."

I don't need to say any more. Just watch and remember and smile.

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5. "Bet On It"

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Movie: High School Musical 2

Is it the worst best thing ever? Or the best worst thing ever? It’s tough to say. What I do know is that never has witnessing a performance made me feel so embarrassed and yet oddly thrilled at the same time. Any number that makes every single viewer audibly gasp in disbelief of its sheer camp-factor rightfully deserves a spot in the Top 5.

In this piece of infamy, Efron lives his truth harder than he ever has or ever will again. The throwing of the sand… The golf clubs that appear out of nowhere… The bevel of the leg in the final pose… And the reflection… DEAR GOD… THE REFLECTION. Everything here is art. Art, art, art.

And the visuals are a feast for the eyes. I never knew such beautiful colors existed. The grass is so green. The sky is so blue. Efron is so orange. Why can't the real world give us this kind of saturation overload?

That's all I can say, for I am not at all worthy to write any more of this masterpiece.

4. "Can I Have This Dance?"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

When a song can make a grown adult believe a high school romance isn’t a complete waste of time, that song is worthy of recognition. And when that number is as exquisitely choreographed, performed, and edited as this one is, all cynicism just flies out the window. I’ve watched this number about a trillion times, and I still sigh all the way through it.

Naturally, it has to rain at the end. Because God is crying. I’m currently watching this and doing the same. Only, unlike God, I'm in my underwear and my tears are going into a gallon of mint chocolate chip as I scream, “NOTHING ON THIS PLANET IS MORE REAL THAN THEIR LOVE!"

3. "A Night To Remember"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

This is how you film a musical number.

Every transition is seamless. Every cut the editor has made has a purpose and flows as if it’s a part of the choreography. Every choreographic choice is used as an acting moment that provides insight for each character.

Ortega’s vision is in full-force here as we transition from real life into fantasy, only to find that the fantasy has actually just been a reality the entire time. The HSM series reflected the world of high school, not just through a high schooler’s eyes, but through a high schooler’s eyes as told through the medium of a high school musical. It’s a technical tour-de-force, right down to the costumes the kids are wearing.

All that, in addition to a clean shot of Efron vigorously humping the air, is what skyrockets this number to the top three.

2. "I Want It All"

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Movie: High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Let’s figure out this equation:

The Queen + Ryan’s outfit + Stunning dancers + Revolving tables + Queen looking like Gwen Stefani + Puppies + An Oscar + Taylor in a beehive wig + Treadmills + Kelsi as an angry, butch cab driver + A car that turns into a dressing room + Vanessa Ann as the help + Oprah + Officer Chad + A giant revolving statue of liberty head + A kickline of girls with pink wigs and cat ears + THE QUEEN SPORTING A HOT BOB AND A FRINGE BODY SUIT WITH NO PANTS + The realization that ALL of this insanity takes place in the cafeteria = F*CKING GENIUS

Bye. I’m currently in cardiac arrest.

1. "We're All In This Together"

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Movie: High School Musical

Was there ever any doubt?

I love you, Wildcats.

Thank you for these past ten years, HSM.

Thank you for the joy.

Thank you for the artistry.

Thank you for the music.

Thank you for the earth-shattering family entertainment.

And most of all...

Thank you for showing us that we are... indeed... all in this together.

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