Top 20 Songs Featured On 'Rick and Morty' Songs You Can't Miss
Several elements combine to make Adult Swim's highly successful animated show, Rick and Morty, a recurring fan favorite. The show's surreal visual, quirky characters, smart social commentary, and diverse metaphysical themed plots are oftentimes hilarious and complex.
In addition to all these important elements, the show's musical scores and background songs are other distinguishing factors behind its success.
Not only Rick and Morty's original groovy and catchy song 'Get Swifty,' but several other tracks from various artists have been perfectly featured over its four seasons.
In this article, I present you with a list of 20 songs featured on Rick and Morty that complimented some of the memorable moments in the show.
1. 'Look On Down From The Bridge' by Mazzy Star (Season 1, Ep.6)
This beautiful track by alternative rock group Mazzy Star was a perfect backdrop for the emotionally-wrenching ending scene in the episode 'Rick Potion#9.'
The lyrics of this melancholic indie track released in 1996 resonated at a deeper level with the premise of the episode—especially the part of the lyrics "It's no different when you're leaving home."
The moment this track was played out, it perfectly displayed the existential knack Morty felt upon escaping the universe where everyone he knew had been turned into Cronenberg monsters because of his and his grandfather's mistakes.
After Rick and Morty moved from the chaotic home universe to a safer replacement dimension, Morty still felt an absurd realization that the new dimension without Corenberg monsters was just a substitute despite its similarities to his home dimension.
And right at this moment, Mazzy Star's track played out as a perfect background score that showcased Morty's on the absurdness of his reality without a single dialogue.
2. Nine Inch Nails' 'Hurt' (Season 2, Ep.10)
Nine Inch Nail's haunting track 'Hurt' was played on the last episode of Rick and Morty's second season titled 'The Wedding Squanchers.'
The song played right at the moment when Rick decided to get arrested by the Galactic Federation in order to guarantee the safety of his family members: Morty, Summer and Jerry.
Because of the decision, Rick ended up alone in the maximum-security prison of the federation, whereas Morty, Summer, and Jerry safely returned to earth.
For a season-ending that dived into the recurring alienation of Rick's character at the end of a plot, the low-vibe Grammy Award-nominated song was clearly the right choice.
Furthermore, 'Hurt' has been used by numerous other movies and shows over the years, including The Hangover Part 3 (2013), Criminal Minds(2011), and Homicide: Life On The Streets (1993).
3. Pixies' 'Debaser'( Season 1- Pilot Trailer)
Legendary rock group Pixies hit track 'Debaser' was featured in the shows' season one trailer in 2013.
Interestingly, the lyrics of the title are based on the surrealistic elements of the movie Un Chien Andalou (1929) by Luis Bunuel.
In the film, there is a scene in which a woman's eye is sliced by a sharp razor. This particular scene is referenced as an important element of the lyrics of Pixel's 'Debaser.' The song is also trying to capture the surrealism of the movie itself.
Got me a movie
I want you to know
Slicing up eyeballs
I want you to know
Since Rick and Morty itself has a lot of surrealistic elements woven into it, the track was a perfect fit to introduce fans to the show's quirky characters filled universe where a lot of things don't really make sense so easily.
4. 'Baker Street' by Gerry Rafferty (Season1, Ep.4)
Baker Street's saxophone riff was heard numerous times in Rick and Morty's episode titled "M.Night Shyam-Aliens!."
The track played out prominently when Jerry successfully pitched an ad (that simply said "hungry for apples?") during a meeting for his office firm.
The moment was significant for Jerry since he had finally achieved something in his life because of which everyone praised him widely.
Later, Jerry is shown sliding jovially along a railing with the sound of 'Baker Street' buzzing in the background. But when the verse "it got so many people but it got no soul" played out, it made a lot of sense what story twist was to arrive.
It came to light later in the episode that Jerry and the rest of the family were trapped in a simulation made by intergalactic scammers called Zigerions. This surprising plot-twist explained why everyone around Jerry was weirdly servile to him.
This track by late Scottish singer Gerry Rafferty was even featured in other animated shows such as Family Guy (1999) and The Simpsons (1989).
5. 'Sweet Home Alabama' by Lynyrd Skynyrd (Season 1, Ep.5)
Genius Rick sings along to this classic rock track by the band Lynyrd Skynyrd in 'Meeseks and Destroy' titled episode.
In the episode, Rick and Morty go on a fantasy land adventure quest only to end up in the court battle for manslaughter.
In the episode, Rick can be heard jamming on this 1974 conservative rock track at a tavern in the fantasy land while Morty is trying to escape from the hands of physically abusive Mr.Jellybean in the bathroom.
Although the song was featured faintly for just a few seconds in the show, fans were glad to see yet another mainstream track included in the Rick and Morty universe.
6. 'For The Damaged Coda' by Blonde Redhead (Season 1, Ep.8)
'For The Damaged Coda' served as the perfect backdrop for Evi Morty's sinister potential. It got played out after he killed every Rick in the shadow council who opposed him.
The song was first featured in the season one's episode 'Close Encounters Of The Rick Kind' when Evil Morty was introduced with an eye patch.
Also, there's no denying that the song will be featured in the coming episodes in Season 5 if Evil Morty makes a comeback prominently.
Hopefully, the studio has licensed the track for longterm purposes since it'll really be hard to find another song that'll correspond perfectly with Evil Morty.
7. 'Seal My Fate' by Belly (Season 1, Ep.8)
Taken from the second studio album of the alternative rock group Belly (one of Justin's favorite band), 'Seal My Fate' is featured towards the end of the eighth episode of season 1 when Beth and Jerry kiss each other.
The track served as another gripping moment in the show that showcased the love Jerry and Beth shared for one another despite Jerry's flaws.
The song was released in 1995 and wasn't a big-time hit back then. But because of Rick and Morty, it has become Belly's second-most streamed song in Spotify today.
8. 'Moonlight Sonata' by Beethoven (Season 1, Ep.8)
This masterpiece by Ludwig van Beethoven made it to the world of Rick and Morty during the scene where Evil Morty took over The Citadel killing off multiple versions of Rick during the process.
This instrumental track fitted really well with the grim vibe of the episode's ending that showcased multiple versions of murdered Rick (and one Morty) floating in the vacuum of the space.
While most of the background songs on Rick and Morty are licensed from various indie and mainstream sources, the producers didn't have to spend even a penny on this one since 'Moonlight Sonata' was registered in the public domain.
9. 'X Gon' Give It To Ya' by DMX (Season 1, Ep.9)
Initially released as the official soundtrack for the movie Cradle 2 The Grave, the song by rapper DMX (original name is Earl Simmons) was included in the episode 'Something Ricked Comes This Way.'
The bass-rich adrenaline-pumping track played out towards the end of this episode when Rick and Summer got pumped up literally with some heavy lifting and steroids to beat Mr.Needful.
10. 'Shake That Ass Bi**h' by Splack Pack (Season 1, Ep.11)
This Miami Bass genre track was played out right before the end credits of the episode 'Ricksy Business.'
Not only did Rick alongside Morty and Summer literally shake their lower body parts to this funky music, but they also celebrated the successful end of the first season, singing "That's season 1! Boom!"
In the episode, various memorable characters (mostly friends of Rick) including Birdperson, Abrodolph Lincoler, and Squanchy made their debut.
Speaking of the PG-rated track itself, it was originally released in 1991 by the Hip-Hop group Splack Pack.
Incase, viewers are not comfortable listening to the not so family-friendly version of the track, there's also a clean version released alongside it titled 'Clean Class Instrumental.'
11. 'Do You Feel It' by Chaos Chaos (Season 2, Episode 3)
'Do You Feel It' was personally picked by Justin Roiland to be featured in the emotional scene of the episode 'Auto Erotic Assimilation' where Rick fails in committing suicide.
Roiland emailed the indie synth-pop band Chaos Chaos requesting permission to use this specific track on the show and thankfully they agreed to it.
After this atmospheric song made it to the episode, Chaos Chaos's track gained a huge spike in listeners with over 24 million streams on Spotify.
12. 'Memories' by Chaos Chaos (Season 2, Ep.4)
Yet another track by Justin's favorite Chaos Chaos made it to Rick and Morty in the next episode titled 'Total Rickall.'
Just like in the episode prior to this, the musical group's track fitted well again during the final scene where Morty is shown recalling all the bad memories associated with Rick that prevented him from suspecting that he was a parasite.
The episode consisted of several mind-tampering shapeshifter parasites that harvested false memories in the minds of Rick's family members.
Such a complex plot made it a perfect episode to dive into the theme of solipsism and the nature of reality.
13. 'Terryfold' by Chaos Chaos feat Justin Roiland (Season 3, Ep.6)
Following the mass popularity of Chaos Chaos' 'Memories,' Justin Roiland voiced an extremely hilarious with the band.
This sexually-explicit track with the lyrics (and the thumbnail of course) dedicated to human testicles was played in the episode 'Rest and Relaxation' when the characters returned from an alien spa and again during the end credits.
Interestingly, Roiland has also recorded yet another song with Chaos Chaos titled 'Kanye's Birthday Song'. The song was recorded upon Kim Kardashian's request.
As evident from the title, Kardashian released the track as her birthday gift to her husband Kanye—who is a longtime fan of the show.
14. 'Between The Bars' by Elliot Smith (Season 2, Ep.7)
Rick and Morty truly gave homage to the late singer Elliot Smith in the episode 'Big Trouble In Little Sanchez.' The show not only featured the late singer's song but also referenced his untimely death.
When tiny Rick finally comes to his senses from almost destroying his real body after listening to Elliot Smith's 'Between The Bars,' he breaks down with teary eyes and wonders why such a talented singer died so young.
Incase, the viewers aren't aware, the songwriter's death from two stab wounds to the chest has still been a mystery.
15. 'Feels Good' byTony! Toni! Toné! (Season 2, Ep.9)
This classic R&B single starts to play out in the 'Look Who's Purging Now' episode sequence when Morty starts getting a hang of killing (i.e. purging) the entire gang of purgers with his Ironman resembling suit.
The chorus "feels good" in the track perfectly summed up Morty's rage-filled killing spree induced by his uncontrollable temper. After Morty's notoriety, Rick has no choice but to subdue him.
The episode was meant to be a spoof of the Purge franchise that's evident from the plot's premise of Rick and Morty's adventure on a planet where rich rulers have set an annual ceremony of conducting legal bloodshed among the lower class.
16. 'Prisoners To My Emotions' by Trayci Jenkins And The Jenkenettes (Season 3, Ep.10)
At first glance, it seems as if this track is from some legit indie band but in reality, it's a musical collaboration by none other than Justin Roiland, composer Ryan Elder (Rick and Morty's composer) and members of Chaos Chaos.
In the episode 'Rickchurian Mortydate,' the heartbroken "President" is seen listening to this track in one of the scenes.
This song is Justin's third collaboration with the New York-based band and there are chances that this won't be the last time they'll be working together.
17. 'Green Tambourine' by The Lemon Pipers (Season 3, Ep.2)
Originally released in the 60s by the Ohio based psychedelic rock band The Lemon Pipers, this track didn't fit in really well like several other tracks in the show. After all, the song's lyrics told the story of a street performer pleading for money, but the episode 'Rickmancing The Stone' didn't feature even a bit of element related to this.
Instead, the episode heavily referenced the George Miller's hit apocalyptic themed Mad Max franchise movie series. With Morty trying to cope up with his parent's divorce and Summer ending up in a failed marriage in the Mad Max world, this mellow track didn't fit that well to the context.
However, the psychedelic sound is an amazing song in case viewers want to check in on the playlist.
18. 'Snowballing' by L'equipe Du Son (Season 2, Ep.3)
This funky vibe track consisting of French verses can be heard in a scene of the episode 'Auto Erotic Assimilation' where Rick is seen partying with his ex-lover Unity.
The episode dived into complex issues regarding the concept of freedom by showcasing a planet that is ruled by a single person named Unity with the whole population's mind under her radar.
19. 'It's In The Way That You Use It' by Eric Clapton
And if you lie and you lose it
Feelings will show
So don't ever abuse it
Don't let it go
-An excerpt of the song's lyrics
Contrary to Eric's words, Morty starts to tamper with the nature of reality in the episode this track was featured in. Abusing the time-tampering device made out of Rick's scientific craft, he goes on to rewrite parts of his life.
But when Morty falls in love with a girl and is close to living a happy life with her, he accidentally presses the device's remote and ends up at the point in time before he met her.
20. 'Mask Off' by Future (Season 4, Episode 4)
All thanks to 'Rick and Morty,' 'Mask Off' made it to the Hollywood Reporter's "Top TV Songs" chart in 2019.
The song was previously featured in the 'Rick and Morty' episode " titled 'Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty.'
This track was played out when the alcoholic genius started to chill by sipping beer with Morty's talking pet called "Slut dragon" in this episode that had the creature's weird ( moaning) moments.
Interestingly, I don't know if it's just me or something, but does the thumbnail of the track above resemble the face-hugging parasite from the episode Promortyus?