Few combinations can beat the mixed power of cartoons and music. Over the decades, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim have supplied the world with the most iconic animated sequences set to music. Enjoy this medley of Cartoon Network and Adult Swim musical moments from the most outstanding animation network.
1. “Stronger Than You” (Steven Universe)
Steven Universe has no shortage of unforgettable musical moments, but “Stronger Than You” stands out above them all. It came as the epic climax of the two-part arrival of Jasper and Peridot to Earth. The song also celebrates the triumphant reunion of Garnet after the revelation that she was a fusion of Ruby and Sapphire the whole time. No other song changed the show like this one.
2. “Remember You” (Adventure Time)
This duet between Ice King and Marceline changed Adventure Time forever. We get our first real insight into the relationship between the two characters as Ice King’s lyrics show a glimpse into their past and the source of his power.
3. “Eye Eye Eye” (Dexter’s Lab)
A cute little girl with big eyes has a crush on Dexter. Too bad for her, he doesn't need any woman in his life aside from sweet lady science. The conflict gets represented by a beautiful psychedelic music video where Dexter gets hounded by the little girl’s eyes until he can’t take it anymore.
4. Deltron (Craig of the Creek)
The Creek goes sci-fi when Craig and his friends encounter Deltron, a modified version of Del the Funky Homosapien’s character from the futuristic concept hip-hop album Deltron 3000. The episode features several original songs by Del depicting his upgrade from a lifeform powered by analog jams to harnessing the power of digital audio.
5. “Lonely Night” (Space Dandy)
A chance meeting in the men’s room led to a concert so great it averted a war between two galactic empires. Dandy and Johnny could only behave long enough to make one song for their band, Dropkix, but boy, what a song. They gave everything they had in their final performance, allowing the rivalry between the two to create “explosive” results–and one of the best Adult Swim musical moments.
6. “No Children” (Moral Orel)
This legendary sequence cemented Moral Orel’s legacy and created countless new fans for The Mountain Goats. The song’s lyrics of a rotten, destructive relationship fit perfectly with the broken Puppington household. The long tracking POV sequence of Clay walking through the house showcases masterful stop-motion animation and one of the most outrageous Adult Swim musical moments.
7. “Brains” (The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy)
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy teamed up with Voltaire to continue the tradition of musical horror. An evil living meteor crashes in Endsville and sings a song to convince Billy to lure victims to have their brains feasted on. The two victimize everyone in town until Mandy shows them who’s boss.
8. “Mississippi Queen” (Regular Show)
Regular Show has a well-earned reputation for slipping in adult experiences with certain substances into a kids’ show. In “Weekend at Benson’s,” Mordecai, Rigby, and Benson experience a bad trip thanks to an ultra-spicy drink. Once it kicks in, the three experience the night in a confused state of intoxication set to “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain.
9. “The Night Begins to Shine” (Teen Titans Go!)
Even Teen Titans Go! haters have no choice but to kneel to “The Night Begins to Shine.” The show had the brilliant idea to find an underappreciated 80s power ballad and center an entire special episode around it. The show takes on a fantastic new art style as Cyborg embarks on an epic adventure to rescue the rest of the Titans.
10. Birds of Prey (Batman: The Brave and the Bold)
What should an unlikely alliance of heroes and villains do when Batman has amnesia? Sing, of course! Black Canary, Catwoman, and Huntress team up to get Batman (now operating as a villain under the moniker Matches Malone) back on the side of good. Caught in the spotlight, the three improvise a performance to jog the caped crusader’s memory through a song of his exploits.
11. Succulentus, the Nu-Metal Supervillain (OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes!)
Nu-Metal has aged enough that the kids listening to it in the early 2000s have grown up and started putting it in kids’ cartoons. Feel old yet? In “Know Your Mom,” KO orchestrates a rematch between his mom and her old arch nemesis, played by Korn lead singer Jonathan Davis. The short fight brings a flood of memories as Succulentus attempts to intimidate with dialogue referencing bands, including System of a Down and Disturbed.
12. “Beautiful” (We Bare Bears)
We Bare Bears embraced K-Pop before any other American cartoon (and many Americans in general) did. In “Panda’s Birthday,” the bears meet with real-life K-Pop group Monsta X. After several hotel hijinks, the bears and the Monsta X boys come together for a short animated music video of the song “Monster.”
13. “Love Makes the World Go Round” (Powerpuff Girls)
It looks like Townsville has met its match when Mr. Mime drains the color and sound from everything and everyone in the city. But Bubbles never gives up. She restores life to Townsville with the power of music. The sugary pop song “Love Makes the World Go Round” revives the city and cures Mr. Mime, changing him back into Rainbow the Clown.
14. “Frog Lullaby” (Over the Garden Wall)
Folk band The Blasting Company provided the soundtrack that secured Over the Garden Wall’s spot as an autumn classic. But to pick just one of their great songs from the miniseries, “Frog Lullaby” distinguishes itself as the best. Greg’s pet frog shocked everyone by showing off singing skills so stellar that the gang could ride on the remainder of the frog cruise without getting ejected.
15. “Eff Grandad” (The Boondocks)
No one did it better than The Boondocks when it came to satirizing (then) modern hip hop, mainly through fan-favorite character Thugnificent. When he moves into the neighborhood, he and Robert quickly become enemies. Thugnificent fires back against Robert’s noise complaints by writing the diss track “Eff Grandad,” complete with a 2000s-style music video with an actor depicting Robert. For the record, The Boondocks also contributed more than one Adult Swim musical sequence for the ages.
16. “Space Age Love Song” (Sym-Bionic Titan)
No, we’re not talking about that musical moment from Sym-Bionic Titan. Ours happens a bit later in that same episode. Octus and Kimmy learned new things about themselves during their study session, sparking a romance between the alien robot and the human cheerleader. After an electrifying (literally) kiss, we’re treated to a fantastic sequence set to “Space Age Love Song” by Flock of Seagulls. The scene mirrors Kimmy’s bubbly walk home with Titan fighting a giant alien monster.
17. “Like a Friend” (The Venture Bros.)
“Operation P.R.O.M” still stands as one of the highest points in The Venture Bros., with an ending that could have served well as a series finale if the show hadn’t continued. The slow, quiet beginning of “Like a Friend” by Pulp fits well with Brock’s devastation from his final encounter with Molotov. The song picks up as he makes a panicked sprint towards the Venture compound to stop Molotov’s assassins before climaxing in the song’s chorus as Brock does what Brock does best.
18. “All We Want is Your Soul” (Class of 3000)
Any of Class of 3000’s songs could’ve made it on this list, but “All We Want is Your Soul” rose above the rest. The lyrics tell the story of Lil’ D selling his soul to the devil (Big D) for fame and fortune. The sinister percussion and chilling piano solo make this song unforgettable. Andre 3000 liked it so much he couldn’t resist recording this song and rapping it himself in place of Lil’ D.
19. “Word Up” (Infinity Train)
To progress from the Crystal Car, Tulip must sing a song from the heart. She spends all day trying to find the correct song through logic but has no luck. Eventually, she realizes that she must sing “Word Up” by Cameo because of her fond memories of listening to it on family road trips.
20. “Trap of Love” (Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated)
The Hex Girls have held icon status in the Scooby-Doo franchise since their first appearance in Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost. After nearly 20 years without a new Hex Girls song, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated came out with one worthy of carrying the fictional band’s name. Daphne (played by Grey Griffin) takes lead vocals for this one and gives a stellar performance with lyrics representing her fraught romantic relationship with Fred.
21. Megadeth (Duck Dodgers)
Never hire a talking duck to coach rock and roll. Duck Dodgers may have failed to reteach Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine how to play music, but luckily, everything clicked when the Cadet and I.Q. Hi defrosted his bandmates. With guitars equipped with powerful lasers, the metal band soundly defeated the Martians and saved the galaxy.
22. “I’m Not Your Boyfriend” (Chowder)
Chowder wrote a hit song with only four words. What other lyricist can make the same claim? But despite Chowder being as blunt as he could be, the message didn’t stick for Panini. If she says Chowder’s her boyfriend, that means Chowder’s her boyfriend, regardless of what the song says.