High School Musical Songs Ranked

With the recent release of Disney+, many people have been revisiting the classic Disney Channel Original movies from their childhoods. My personal favorite has, and always will be, the High School Musical franchise, with High School Musical 2 being my favorite of the three. One morning, I woke up with the need to rank all of the songs from each movie to find out what truly are the best of the best songs from the franchise that dazzled my childhood. In the spirit of high school, I ranked them with superlatives within certain categories so you know the perfect song for every scenario. I hope you wildcats enjoy these rankings and if you want the whole list, go to my recent tweet!

  1. 1. Worst Song: I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You

    When I told people that I was ranking every High School Musical song, their first question was often: which song was the worst? Although there were several songs that personally fell short amongst all of the bops such as “Senior Year School Musical” and “Just Wanna Be With You,” this song, in particular, disappointed me. First, “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” is not performed in the movie and was seemingly hastily added to the soundtrack. Second, Disney decided to release this music video in which we see Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale, Lucas Grabeel and Zac Efron in a recording studio singing the song…but Zac Efron did not actually sing any of the songs from the first film, making this a complete scam! Finally, the song does not really match with the rest of the soundtrack and seems out of place.

  2. 2. Best Duet: I Don’t Dance

    If you assumed my favorite couple from the High School Musical franchise was Troy and Gabriella, you were mistaken. “I Don’t Dance” delivered us the best couple in (dare I say) cinematic history when Chad and Ryan playfully engage in a baseball game while Ryan convinces Chad that he, indeed, can dance. Shattering the glass ceiling of toxic masculinity, audiences see how Chad does not have to conform to the jock persona he has found himself trapped in, but can instead branch out and dance for the coveted Star Dazzle Award. This song has a unique setting, tension-filled vocals and impressive choreography to match, making it my favorite duet in the franchise.

  3. 3. Best Sharpay Song: Fabulous

    As you will see in my top five, this song is essential to the High School Musical franchise. “Fabulous” was the first time viewers got to see Sharpay in her element with her Jimmy Choo flip-flops and pink Prada tote. Honorable mentions include “I Want It All” and Sharpay’s version of “You Are The Music In Me.” However, these songs would not be nearly as iconic without the character-defining moment of “Fabulous.”

  4. 4. Best Troy Solo: Bet On It

    In each movie, there was a moment where the viewer got to see the inner turmoil of Troy Bolton’s current mindset. Between “Get’cha Head in the Game,” “Bet On It” and “Scream,” there was a clear winner. “Bet On It” has been established as an iconic song, with several memes, vines, and recreations being made about it.

  5. 5. Best Breakup Song: Gotta Go My Own Way

    Following the recurring Troy solo, there is the song where Gabriella questions everything and seemingly breaks up with Troy to move somewhere or quit her job (her motives are somewhat confusing). Similar to the process with “Bet On It,” when choosing between “When There Was Me and You,” “Gotta Go My Own Way” and “Walk Away,” there was a clear winner. “Gotta Go My Own Way” is unique as it is a duet with Troy, as the two go back and forth between Gabriella leaving because Troy is prioritizing basketball over his friends or staying for the rest of the summer because she clearly did not put in her two weeks’ notice. This scene is heartbreaking upon every re-watch.

  6. 6. Best Ensemble: Stick to the Status Quo

    I wanted to award “Stick to the Status Quo” as being one of the only songs within the franchise without many of the leads. Still, it holds up as a strong song that explores the other characters that do not get much of a moment in the series. Zeke is my favorite character, and without this song, we would never understand his love for baking which is essential to his character. It is also a great moment for choreography and feels like a classic musical number which I appreciate.

  7. 7. Best Choreography: What Time Is It?

    Upon revisiting each of these scenes for this article, I was shocked by the choreography and production that went into “What Time Is It?” Each character gets their own moment, showcasing their individualized feelings going into their summer vacation. From the paper throwing in the first scene to the basketball sequence to the cast forming a rollercoaster together, this number is not to be forgotten. Spencer Walsh (Shane Harper) from Good Luck Charlie even makes an appearance as a principal dancer so what more could you want?

  8. 8. Most Romantic Song: Can I Have This Dance

    This was another song that upon revisiting shocked me with its romance. Troy and Gabriella are in love here and you cannot challenge that fact. The lyrics in this song are deep and go way beyond simply going to prom together…" it’s one in a million, the chances of feeling the way we do." High School Musical 3: Senior Year brought the romance with several songs such as “Right Here, Right Now,” but “Can I Have This Dance” simply reigns supreme in the hearts of my generation.

  9. 9. Fifth Place: Bop to the Top

    “Bop to the Top” is my favorite song of High School Musical. Although the first movie is a classic, many of the songs itself did not stand up in terms of lasting memorability. “Bop to the Top” is the exception as even though the scene is very short and somewhat unimportant in terms of the plot of the film, this song is easily some viewers’ favorite moment in the franchise. It begins Sharpay and Ryan’s fabulous arch towards wanting it all, with the iconic sparkly costumes and gold ladder.

  10. 10. Fourth Place: The Boys Are Back

    What a perfect song to encapsulate the friendship between Troy and Chad! Within the movie, Troy needs this reminder of his childhood, and this song offers an upbeat and fun moment of reflection for him as he is trying to make the best decision for his future. The way the song transforms the scrapyard into a fully imaginative dreamscape with dynamic choreography was dazzling to me as a first-time viewer in 2008. The moment where they became their younger selves is an unforgettable addition to the scene.

  11. 11. Third Place: Bet On It

    Whether it is Troy skipping through the golf course or seeing the horrible CGI reflection of himself in the water as he splashes it in frustration, this scene alone is memorable. Then, there are the lyrics that instill confidence in listeners that he must make it right and that today is the day to turn his life around. “Bet On It” is an essential moment in the franchise that is a great song to revisit and sing along to.

  12. 12. Second Place: I Don't Dance

    “I Don’t Dance” is not only my favorite duet, but it is also my second favorite song in the whole franchise. It is an unexpected moment where an unlikely duo pairs up for a song battle set on a baseball field. This whole scene brings the audience to the edge of their seats wondering who will win the game and if Ryan can convince Chad to dance. Who could have guessed we would have a song with Ryan and Chad? Who could have guessed we would have a song about baseball in a basketball-based franchise? This is the unexpected gem that simultaneously confuses and dazzles me. I still must know: why did Chad and Ryan switch clothes at the end?

  13. 13. First Place: Fabulous

    For those who know me, this should come as no surprise. “Fabulous” has been stuck in my head since I first listened to it whether I like or not. Luckily, this is my favorite of the entire franchise, so I have no problem when the beat re-enters my mind each day. Sharpay is defined as a force to be reckoned with as she shows that she is confident and only wants the best for herself. Some may call her selfish, but I call her goal-oriented. We should all want fabulous things for ourselves!

I hope you enjoyed my ranking. Have fun re-watching the series and send me your favorite songs!