From French Pop to Horny Cowboy: 13 Genre-Spanning Tracks From the Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack

Have I mentioned how much I love Cowboy Bebop? I really love Cowboy Bebop. It was one of the first anime series I ever watched, and it was definitely the first one I really fell in love with. The characters are all fantastic, the animation is stunning, and that soundtrack…

Yoko Kanno & The Seatbelts crafted such a magnificent OST. It’s one that critics and anime fans still gush over twenty years later. And for good reason! “Tank!” is a certified classic at this point, after all.

When it comes to the Bebop soundtrack, jazz is probably what comes to your mind first. It makes sense: songs like “Bad Dog No Biscuits,” “Space Lion,” and, obviously, “Tank!” definitely stand out. But it’s a disservice to the sheer diversity of this soundtrack to only focus on those jazz tracks. The entire soundtrack is filled with an eclectic assortment of genre-hopping jams. There ARE three soundtrack albums for the entire series, after all, plus one full soundtrack for the movie and multiple mini-albums.

Which is why I present to you – 13 of my favorite songs from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack that showcase just how expansive the soundtrack really is. Come, bask in the variety and worship Yoko Kanno’s majesty!

“Live in Baghdad” – No Disc (Metal)

In “Heavy Metal Queen,” the Bebop crew finds themselves hanging around with a headbanging space trucker. VT, the aforementioned space trucker, plays this incredible song for them. The song’s a mix of cheesy hair metal and J-Rock, with a guitar riff akin to the Pulp Fiction theme. My parents, who were total headbangers in their youth, love this song. Is there a more prestigious honor than My Parents’ Seal of Approval?


“Mushroom Hunting” – Blue OST (Funk)

This bombastic song appears in the blaxploitation homage episode, “Mushroom Samba.” The singer, Tulivu-Donna Lynn Cumberbatch, also worked with Yoko Kanno on one of her non-anime projects, and went on to record songs with Yuki Kajiura, who composed music for My-Hime, .hack//sign, and Noir, a personal favorite of mine with a notably kick-ass soundtrack.

I have a lot of fond memories attached to this song. When I was little, me and my mom used to randomly bust out singing the, “Africa/Mexico/Sicily/Tijuana” bit because we liked the way Cumberbatch said, “Indo-NEEEEEEEE-sia.”


“Fantasie Sign” – No Disc (Sexy French Pop)

This song never actually made it into the anime – it’s a soundtrack exclusive. Sung by Carla Vallet, it’s also the only French song on the soundtrack. Surprisingly, it turns out this isn’t Vallet’s normal styling – she’s actually an American gospel singer!

I love this one. The soft, soothing opening gives way to a fast-paced beat coupled with sexy saxophones. This song is perfect to drive to. It makes feel like a sultry femme fatale…although singing along with anything French makes me feel that way, if we’re being honest.


“Pushing the Sky” – Future Blues OST (Angry Alpha Lesbian Rock)

Thank you, lord, for Mai Yamane and the wonders she brought to the Bebop soundtrack. She sings the series outro, “The Real Folk Blues,” and a great deal of other songs. Not only is her gritty yet sultry voice oddly mesmerizing, a bunch of her songs are really gay, for some reason.

It’s hard to find a lot of English-language information about her on the net, but I’ve decided she is a lesbian queen. I wrote a whole manifesto about my Mai Yamane gay feels. This song goes along with my headcanon with its VICIOUS opening line – “Don’t want to be the one to pop your cherry girl/Just jump on a train that will bring you back to mama’s side.”


“Diggin'” – Future Blues OST (Horny Cowboy Music)

Spacy little cowgirl/come a little closer to me!

Sung by Steve Conte, this crooning little ditty is one of my personal favorites from the soundtrack. It tells the story about a worker who “dug gates” and falls in love with a woman along the way. The song incorporates the anime’s universe into its lyrics really well – the Astral Gates are a huge part of Cowboy Bebop‘s setting and lore. It also showcases Conte’s range, as his contributions to the soundtrack are usually more smooth and traditional, not bluesy and gruff.


“Papa Plastic” – Cowgirl Ed (90’s Grrrrl Band)

This song is far from the jazzy, bluesy stuff that’s usually associated with Cowboy Bebop. It sounds like it could be a Veruca Salt song, or maybe even a Belly song. It’s very 90’s, and I love it.

This one’s sung by Gabriela Robin, a frequent Kanno collaborator who also sings “Cats on Mars” – a floaty favorite of mine that I didn’t include only because my list was already too long 😉


“Flying Teapot” – Blue OST (Twinkly Sad Broadway)

Something about this song makes me deeply sad. Possibly, it’s just because it’s from the “My Funny Valentine” episode of Bebop, which focuses on Faye’s haunting past. Still, the lilting saxophone solo and the odd dissonance between the singer’s hopeful voice and the bleak, sardonic lyrics make this song the emotional masterpiece it is. “How could they bare, oh no, to carry/Around the stupid human hopes/So I’m going to help, I will!/Give me a key to lock/The door to the secret paradise.”

In particular, the bit that gets me is where Emily Bindiger sings, “Sometimes I feel, oh yes, I could do/Almost everything I wanted/And it makes cry.” That didn’t make sense to me for the longest time, but now that I have time constraints that make the skills I’ve learned almost impossible to utilize…oof. It does make me cry, girl!


“Rain” – Cowboy Bebop OST 1 (Organ Song To Give You Depression)

Another sad one for you. It’s amazing that the soundtrack delivers that mushroom hunting party from earlier, but also has crushing existential pieces like “Rain.”

There are two versions of this song – Mai Yamane’s version is the one that actually appears in the anime, but this Steve Conte rendition is the one I prefer, and, strangely, the one that actually appears on the soundtrack compilations. Something about Conte’s energy just hits those emotional notes better for me.


“Cosmic Dare (Pretty With A Pistol)” – Ask DNA (Futuristic Britney Spears)

Heyyyyyyyy, let’s bring the party back! Kanno shows her music expertise by crafting this pop masterpiece that could have been slipped right into your standard Top 40 station without anyone batting an eye.

Like “Diggin’,” I appreciate the diagetic nature to this song – it fits perfectly within the universe, as Faye actually listens to it in her ship in Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.


“Chicken Bone” – Blue OST (I Don’t Even Know What You Would Call This One, TBH)

Another English-language song, this one’s about, um…preparing chicken bones with different sauces and seasoning. I told you, this soundtrack has it all!

There’s a whole section of the Bebop soundtrack dedicated to floaty, dreamy music like this. Usually, they’re meant to be associated with the resident wackadoodle, Ed. This one in particular plays while Ed and Ein are searching for food.


“Elm” – No Disc (Robin Hood Serenading You To Sleep)

Somehow, the singer conveys so much, even though the song has no real lyrics. This song plays in the very first episode – an episode that serves some severe emotional gut punches despite it being THE FIRST DAMN EPISODE. I guess the song did such a good job with those first gut-punches that Shinichiro Watanabe decided to use it twice – it’s also featured in “Ganymede Elegy,” turning a standard car chase scene into a sentimental scene about chasing the past.

♪♪Lalalalalalalalalalala, la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. Chiggy chiggy chiggy chi up!♪♪


“Einstein Groovin’”-  Cowboy Bebop Tank! THE! BEST! (Groove in Italian!)

I actually only discovered this song recently. It’s another one that wasn’t actually featured in the series itself. The song was made for the Cowboy Bebop PS2 game. I think it speaks volumes that even after being a fan of this series and Kanno’s work on the series for years, I am still finding new songs to fall in love with. Because the soundtrack is JUST THAT EXPANSIVE!


24hours Open – Future Blues OST (A Whole-Ass Convenience Store Robbery)

Yeah, that’s right, there’s a song that’s just a store getting shot up. I told you, THIS SOUNDTRACK HAS EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!


Sigh. What a trip down memory lane. I’ve been listening to this soundtrack regularly since I was about seven years old. My dad used to listen to “The Real Folk Blues” while he made chili, the smells of peppers and spice wafting into living room while me & my mom sang along in butchered, broken Japanese. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of the music – there’s a song for every genre and every mood. I could listen to all  of Yoko Kanno’s compositions forever, if we’re being honest.

If this list has done anything at all, hopefully it has shown that the soundtrack, and the series itself, has a little something for everyone. Even when it approaches a genre that isn’t your cup of tea, it does it so brilliantly that you’ll suddenly find yourself lapping that tea right up.

And, hopefully, now you’re ready to go listen to the entire Cowboy Bebop soundtrack, or finally go watch the show if you haven’t yet. Have you seriously not watched Cowboy Bebop yet??? Go do that! Then tell me your favorite song, and tell me which one made you cry the most! …if you need me, I’ll be listening to these songs for the rest of my life.

faye cowboy bebop.jpeg
You’re Faye, and I’m every one of those guns pointed at you, because I’m holding you at gunpoint until you WATCH COWBOY BEBOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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5 thoughts on “From French Pop to Horny Cowboy: 13 Genre-Spanning Tracks From the Cowboy Bebop Soundtrack

  1. Cowboy Bebop has some awesome music, though I never payed much attention to it while watching it. I digged Mushroom Hunting, but my favorite in this list is Fantasie Sign. Exactly the kind of thing I would look for in Bebop, and also just something I’m into a lot. Chicken Bone I need to play at a random party at some point, and see people reaction to it. They’ll never know the magic of Chicken Bone unless I show them the way!

    Liked by 1 person

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