Image of Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike in a scene from 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.' He is a white man with perfectly coiffed salt-and-pepper hair wearing a gold Starfleet uniform. He's on the bridge of the Enterprise singing on his knees with one hand on his chest and the other outstretched.

Let’s Rank the Songs of ‘Strange New Worlds’ Musical Episode, ‘Subspace Rhapsody’

"Will this work? Who can say? We're gonna sing it anyway!"

At last, the Star Trek: Strange New Worlds musical episode is here! TMS’ Lauren Coates has us covered with a review of “Subspace Rhapsody” as a whole, but I’m here to talk specifically about the music. After all, a musical is judged by how likely you are to keep singing and listening to the songs long after the show is over. At least, that’s how I rate musicals.

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So, how does the music stack up? Allow me to provide a humble ranking of the songs from “Subspace Rhapsody” from least to most awesome. Feel free to disagree with me about the order in the comments!

10. “How Would That Feel” – La’an Noonien-Singh (performed by Christina Chong)

Image of Christina Chong as La'an Noonien-Singh in a scene from 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." She is a mixed race white and Chinese woman with dark hair pulled tightly back in a ponytail formed by two braids. She's wearing a red Starfleet uniform as she sits seriously at a conference table.
(image: Paramount+)

Sadly, my least favorite song was performed by one of the characters I was most looking forward to hearing from.

La’an’s going through a lot: she traveled through time, she’s not supposed to talk about it, and she had romantic feelings for a version of Kirk who is now dead. She’s also one of the more guarded members of the crew, due to her harrowing experience with the Gorn and the assumptions people make from her last name. I was sure we wouldn’t hear from La’an for a while, but when we did, it would be meaningful.

Instead, we got a La’an song way too early, singing feelings I’m not convinced she’d sing, even on her own. Especially since she had the self-control not to sing when revealing her actual strong feelings to Kirk later in the episode. Imagine how much more powerful Kirk’s rejection would’ve been if it followed a heartbreakingly honest musical confession. Instead, we were served an emotionally incoherent, lyrically generic ballad way too early in the episode.

9. “Keeping Secrets” – Una Chin-Riley (performed by Rebecca Romijn)

Image of Rebecca Romijn as Una Chin-Riley in a scene from 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds." She is a white woman with long dark hair pulled into a high, 1960s-style ponytail and wearing a gold Starfleet uniform. She is singing to La'an who stands out of focus in the foreground with her back to the camera.
(image: screencap/Paramount+)

Una Chin-Riley is another character who’s way more fascinating than the songs she was given. Unfortunately, Una’s two numbers in the episode are among the weakest. “Keeping Secrets” is the weaker of the two, as Una commiserates with La’an by comparing her unrequited love of Kirk to … her own battle to keep her identity a secret to avoid persecution? Una, all secrets are not equal. And in this context, Number One doesn’t know the timey-wimey reasons why La’an’s feelings for Kirk are so complicated. So, the fact that her approach is this serious in this song makes little sense.

I’d be able to forgive that if the music or lyrics were more interesting, but like “How Would That Feel,” this was another plodding, generic ballad during which I found myself checking my phone.

8. “Connect to Your Truth” – Una Chin-Riley and James T. Kirk (performed by Rebecca Romijn and Paul Wesley)

(image: screencap/Paramount+)

“Connect to Your Truth” was a stronger song for Number One, not only because it was a fun callback to her love of Gilbert & Sullivan—which she expressed in the Short Treks episode “Q&A”—but because it was a duet with a James T. Kirk who is not yet a captain. This allowed Una to give Kirk advice on how to be a better leader by staying true to who you are and connecting to your crew through vulnerability.

Also, this song was fun, which goes a long way. While this song is only slightly better than the first two songs on this list (and it’s probably the cheesiest song in the episode), both Romijn and Wesley seemed to be having a great time singing it. The song also makes sense on a character level as well as thematically.

7. “Main Title (“Subspace Rhapsody” Version)” – composed by Jeff Russo

I love when a themed episode of a TV show goes to the trouble of creating something different for the opening title sequence. SNW already did this once with a Lower Decks-inspired opening for “Those Old Scientists.” For “Subspace Rhapsody,” composer Jeff Russo orchestrated a boppy, choral version of the opening theme that will give you chills.

Hearing this version in the trailer truly got me excited about watching the episode! Literally the only reason for its “low” placement on this list is that it’s an instrumental and not really a “song,” but it needed to be on here!

6. “Private Conversation” – Christopher Pike and Marie Batel (performed by Anson Mount and Melanie Scrofano)

Image of Anson Mount as Captain Pike and Melanie Scrofano as Captain Batel in a scene from 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.' Pike is out of focus in the foreground with his back turned to the camera. We see Batel, a white woman with long, brown hair wearing a gold Starfleet uniform on the large bridge viewscreen. She looks upset.
(image: screencap/Paramount+)

“Private Conversation” is a fun and hilariously awkward moment between two characters who are still trying to figure out what their romantic relationship looks like long distance.

Before any of the singing starts, we know that Pike and Batel have been discussing taking a vacation together. As Batel shares her preferred destination, it’s clear that Pike isn’t into it. But rather than being upfront about it, he deflects. Then, despite being so not thrilled about the singing, Pike is forced to reveal how he feels in song when Uhura patches a call from Batel to him on the bridge.

Hearing them both absolutely hate that they’re being compelled to sing while also having an awkward lovers’ squabble in front of subordinate crew members was an absolute delight.

5. “Status Report” – Enterprise Crew (performed by the SNW Cast)

Image of Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike in a scene from 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.' He is a white man with perfectly coiffed salt-and-pepper hair wearing a gold Starfleet uniform. He's on the bridge of the Enterprise with his head bowed in frustration absolutely hating the fact that everyone has suddenly burst into song.
(image: screencap/Paramount+)

“Status Report” understood the assignment, and is a perfect opening number for a Star Trek musical. It manages to sound very Trek (technobabble and all), while also sounding like a true musical number. Every cast member takes part in the number in a way that is true to their character. The song is a perfect, fun, and funny introduction to the unique nature of the problem: there’s nothing technically “wrong” on the ship, and yet there’s something very, very wrong on the ship.

I mean, just look at Pike’s face above. He really, really hates that this is happening, and I love it so much.

4. “I’m the X” – Spock (performed by Ethan Peck)

Image of Ethan Peck as Spock in a scene from 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.' He is a white Vulcan with pointed ears and short, black hair. He's wearing a blue Starfleet uniform and is looking off into the distance, despondent.
(image: Paramount+)

This darker, angrier reprise to Nurse Chapel’s song (which is slightly higher up on the list) is not only a perfect song for Spock at this point in his life, but it marks the beginning of the more stoic Spock that we (and Boimler) will come to know in the future. Freshly dumped by his fiancée, Spock learns that the woman he basically left her for has no qualms about leaving him to take a fellowship. So Spock decides that the only way to handle this is to put away emotions entirely. Oh, Spock. You adorable stupid jerk.

And leave it to Spock to sing a song about emotions and romantic relationships that uses math as a metaphor. I mean, it’s no “The Math of Love Triangles” from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but it is more accurate about math.

3. “I’m Ready” – Christine Chapel (performed by Jess Bush)

Image of Jess Bush as Christine Chapel in a scene from 'Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.' She is a white woman with chin-length blonde hair wearing a white Starfleet uniform. She's looking up at the ceiling mid-song with her hands held up to her chest.
(image: Paramount+)

Thankfully, not all the women of the cast got sub-par songs to work with. “I’m Ready” has the distinction of being the only song in the episode that truly works both as a song for Chapel (in the context of the story) and as a completely standalone song that I cannot wait to hear someone crush at karaoke.

It’s also a great song musically and has a fun, flirtatious energy. Not flirty as in “with a person,” but flirting with the possibilities of life. And I love that the song subverts TOS Chapel, whom we see pining after Spock all the time. “I’m Ready” gives us a Christine who has feelings for Spock, but is more in love with her own future. Like Billie Eilish.

2. “We Are One” – Enterprise Crew (performed by the SNW Cast)

Screengrab from the 'Strange New Worlds' musical episode, "Subspace Rhapsody." Captain Pike is in the center of several crew members on the bridge, all of whom have their arms in the air, mid-song.
(image: screencap/Paramount+)

“Subspace Rhapsody” came out of the gate strong with a solid opening number, and it ended strong with a finale as optimistic as Star Trek is at its best. Of course the solution was going to be that we need more voices singing. Of course the solution was going to come from Uhura, Trek’s Queen of Communication. And of course, Uhura was going to highlight that music isn’t just about expressing one’s bad or secret feelings, it’s about expressing the good ones too!

She rightfully points out that cultures throughout history have used songs to celebrate and engage in communal activities, and she reminds the Enterprise crew that they are always at their best when they work together. “We Are One” ended the episode on a joyful note that made me proud to be a Trekkie.

1. “Keep Us Connected” – Nyota Uhura (performed by Celia Rose Gooding)

(image: screencap/Paramount+)

The clear standout of the episode is Uhura’s passionate ballad, “Keep Us Connected.” This song is an emotional roller coaster, and it was the one song in the episode that made me cry.

First, it honored a Trek legacy character whose contributions can never be praised enough. Second, it was deeply personal for Uhura, charting her journey from experiencing the death of her family at a young age to making a career out of bringing people together, giving her a depth that she’s rarely been given elsewhere. And third, because this song resonates on the same level as Encanto‘s “Surface Pressure,” relatable to every woman who’s ever felt the pressure of, and recognized the strength required for, the invisible labor in which they so often engage in to care for others.

And Gooding performs the song brilliantly. They have an amazing voice, and while it took the entire cast to make me feel this strongly during the opener and the finale, Gooding was the only cast member able to elicit this level of emotion all on their own. I loved that what started as a song of grief and self-pity turned into Uhura recognizing that her ability to help others communicate is a gift. And in recognizing this gift, they arrive at the solution that saves the Enterprise from being a forever musical.

I will be listening to this song on a loop all weekend. You can, too, as the soundtrack for “Subspace Rhapsody” is available wherever you stream music.

(featured image: Paramount+)


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Author
Teresa Jusino
Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.