Trey Parker and Matt Stone's Book of Mormon is only the latest example of their towering songcraft.
Although few have seen it yet, Matt Stone and Trey Parker's The Book Of Mormon is already one of the most promising shows on Broadway. That's because the duo has spent their entire career proving that, in addition to being consummate smart-asses, they're also extremely talented (even Oscar-nominated) songwriters, creating catchy, funny tunes from their early days on Cannibal: The Musical to Team America: World Police and throughout fourteen seasons of South Park. And while South Park songs like "Uncle Fucka" and "Chocolate Salty Balls" have rightfully gotten plenty of accolades, the show also boasts this equally great roster of less-heralded musical numbers — a commitment to quality that bodes well for filling out two hours on Broadway.
1. "Montage" (Season 6, Episode 3, "Asspen")
Paul Engemann's propulsive synth-rock number "Push It To The Limit" — best known as the song that soundtracked Tony Montana's swift rise to the top of the coke heap in Scarface — may have no bigger fans than Matt Stone and Trey Parker. The duo has used the tune several times in versions both straightforward (as during Cartman's training for the Special Olympics in "Up The Down Steroid") and satirical — specifically, as the self-aware "Montage," which bluntly notes the training sequence's power to convey gradual improvement over a stretch of time without everything taking too long. First appearing in "Asspen" and later reworked into Team America: World Police, "Montage" is parody so powerful it should've effectively killed off any and all unironic montage sequences for ever after.
2. "Jesus Baby!" (Season 7, Episode 9, "Christian Rock Hard")
Cartman forms the Christian rock band Faith +1 not only because of its gullible, built-in audience (one that also presumably considers illegal downloading a sin), but because Christian songwriting is as easy as pulling out all the "baby" references from regular pop songs and replacing them with "Jesus." The result: A communion come-on, an invitation to a little between-the-shroud action, a holy roll in the manger — in other words, some super-hot blasphemy. (A note for aspiring pop stars: swap the "Jesus" for "baby" and you're Katy Perry.)
3. "Fightin' 'Round The World" (Season 6, Episode 4, "The New Terrance and Phillip Movie Trailer")
This song will dog Russell Crowe until the day he dies, or at least until he retreats to the caves to hibernate forever. And for that reason alone, it's indispensable.
4. "The Prostitute Song" (Season 4, Episode 15, Fat Camp")
Before Scientology stole him away, Isaac Hayes' Chef was the heart-and-soul songbird of South Park, and even with his life cut short, most of this list could consist of underappreciated, non-"Chocolate Salty Balls" gems. But few of Chef's musical education moments were ever as instructive as this number from "Fat Camp," which turned James Taylor's "Your Smiling Face" — with an assist from (a fake) Taylor himself — into a no-nonsense dissertation on what makes a prostitute so special, with sentiments that Charlie Sheen clearly took to heart.
5. "Getting Gay With Kids Is Here" (Season 3, Episode 1, "Rainforest Shmainforest")
Much of the focus on South Park's early musical hits centered on Chef, but this song from season three's "Rainforest Shmainforest" shouldn't be overlooked. A masterfully crafted parody of an Up With People-style sing-along, "Getting Gay With Kids Is Here" is, admittedly, built on an overly obvious "gay also means happy" premise. But the straight-faced gusto with which it recreates unbearable glee-club-style "rock" songs makes it work. If the line "being an activist is totally gay" doesn't make you laugh, then South Park is not a show for you.
6. "Vote Or Die" (Season 8, Episode 8, "Douche and Turd")
South Park doesn't do hip-hop often, but as with "Gay Fish," when it does, it does it right. Another example: "Vote Or Die," a parody of Puff Daddy (or P. Diddy or Diddy Dirty-Money or whatever) and his unnecessarily threatening campaign to encourage young people to get involved in the electoral process, here aimed at Stan as he considers blowing off a race to see whether a turd sandwich or giant douche should take over as school mascot. And maybe Diddily Doo is right. Maybe voter turnout would be higher if, as the song promises, more titty-shaking was guaranteed.
7. "Gay Fish" (Season 13, Episode 5, "Fishsticks")
Unlike "Getting Gay With Kids," this song is straight-up about being gay — specifically, being a gay fish, which Kanye West comes to believe he is after being tormented by a joke about fishsticks. Kanye famously responded to the episode by saying it was "pretty funny" but that it "hurts my feelings," yet it's possible that what he was really sore over was how "Heartless" works equally well as a song about wanting to have an orgy in a motherfucking fish tank.
8. "Let's Fighting Love" (Season 8, Episode 1, "Good Times With Weapons")
Admittedly, this song from the anime-parodying episode "Good Times With Weapons" probably doesn't do much for those not fluent in Japanese, even with the few "Engrish" phrases thrown in. But fully translated, it's a delicious bento box of profane gibberish. To wit: "Wonderful penis thing / There are hairs at balls / That's sound of monkey-like cunt / No! Ninjas are here! / Hey, hey, let's fight! / This is important/ Protect my balls! / I'm badass / So let's fighting / Let's fighting love! / Let's fighting love! / This song is a bit stupid / This doesn't make sense / English is all fucked up / It's okay — we do it all the time!"
9. "Taco-Flavored Kisses" (Season 7, Episode 5, "Fat Butt and Pancake Head")
When Cartman's "Jennifer Lopez" scores a record deal with this single, it forces the actual J-Lo out of the business, because the new Jennifer Lopez is seen as "younger and spicier." And granted, Cartman's whole act is based on offensive Hispanic stereotypes, and the whole song is just about eating at Taco Bell, but it poses a valid question: has the real Jennifer Lopez done anything this catchy in a while? Singing about Taco Bell is no dumber than singing about your expensive shoes, right?
10. "Hey People, You Gotta Drive Hybrids Already" (Season 10, Episode 2, "Smug Alert!")
Stan's call to environmental action, selfishly motivated by his desire to get Kyle back from smug-laden San Francisco, reduces a big idea to one of the dumbest, most pandering folk songs ever heard outside of a college quad. Still, he's right — we have all got to be people. If only people like Melissa Etheridge and Bono were this direct, maybe they'd have fixed the world by now.