When most people think of the '80s, these things come to mind: gravity-defying perms, bold spandex, and adrenaline-fueled rock music. Netflix's GLOW, about a group of actors training to be on a television show about women's wrestling, has all of those elements and then some. Of course, the hair and the high V-shaped leotards might not exactly be popular anymore, but at least the songs on the GLOW soundtrack still withstand the test of time.
Wrestling is a pretty niche sport that most people will never try for themselves, but I defy you to listen to any of these songs again without wanting to get into a ring and tackle somebody. GLOW certainly figured out just the right combination of songs to get viewers psyched up, using a combination of iconic classics and one-hit-wonders that capture what the mainstream culture of the decade was actually like.
Best of all, most of the songs are the kind of thing you'd hear in an elaborate training montage, which makes them perfect background music for the next time you work out. Make no mistake, I am absolutely putting a bunch of these songs on my running playlist, and I expect that once you get the chance to check them all out, you'll do the same:
"Stir It Up" By Patti LaBelle
This song from the 1984 Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack ends out the first episode, and it won't be the last time the show borrows a track from a classic '80s movie.
"We Don't Get Along" By The Go-Go's
It wouldn't be a TV show about fierce women in the '80s without a little bit of the Go-Go's, and this song is particularly perfect for describing Ruth's relationship with... well, everyone.
"Life In A Northern Town" By The Dream Academy
This song plays over Sheila The She-Wolf's elaborate getting-ready routine, and perfectly speaks to the isolation she feels as a result of the way she identifies with wolves.
"Rock You Like A Hurricane" By Scorpions
Scorpion's "Rock You Like A Hurricane" is probably the most overused '80s rock song in history, so it's no surprise it showed up in GLOW, too.
"This Is One Of Those Moments" by Barbra Streisand
As Ruth so wisely points out, who doesn't love Yentl? Nobody, that's who. Barbra Streisand's 1983 movie about a Jewish woman who pretends to be a man to study the Torah (so like Mulan, but for Indoor Kids) gets a loving shoutout as Allison Brie performs a few bars from one of the film's more obscure numbers.
"Dare" By Stan Bush
Not only does this song literally play over a training montage, but it also first appeared in Transformers: The Movie, the animated 1986 robot extravaganza that's far better than anything Michael Bay's ever put out. I mean, does The Last Knight have Orson Welles and Judd Nelson in it? No? I rest my case.
The Theme From "Exodus" By Ernest Gold
The inappropriately somber song that opens GLOW's first live event is actually from the 1960 film Exodus, about the founding of Israel. The movie was so popular at the time that everybody from Dizzy Gillespie to Liberace performed covers of the theme, so it makes an odd sort of sense that Sheila would know it, too.
"Angel" By The Jetzons
If you've heard of this band, you either lived near Arizona in the '80s, or you are a giant music nerd. Their song "Angel" appears in the background of GLOW's car wash fundraiser, so odds are one of the girls is from Arizona, too. (Fun fact: the keyboardist, Brad Buxer, later went on to work with Michael Jackson and may have written some of the music for Sonic The Hedgehog 3 with him, according to Billboard Magazine.)
"Magic Moments" By Perry Como
There's something about this 1957 Perry Como song that's so creepy and ridiculous in its cheeriness, which makes it perfect listening for when you're drunk and bummed out like Sam Sylvia is in this scene.
"Things Can Only Get Better" By Howard Jones
This 1985 song is so perfectly upbeat that when it comes on the radio on the way to the first GLOW taping, Melrose and Keith are convinced its a good omen.
"Invincible" By Pat Benatar
The show began with a badass female vocalist singing about defeating her enemies, and that's exactly how it ends: with the queen of '80s dystopian pop herself, Pat Benatar.
"Cum On Feel The Noize" By Quiet Riot
This '80s cover of a 1973 Slade song doesn't appear in the show itself, but it's blared at me every time I've used the Netflix app on my Playstation 4, so I'm gonna go ahead and count it. I do, in fact, feel the noise.
Anyone else feeling like a champion right now? Hopefully GLOW gets a Season 2 on top of this, because there's only so many times I can listen to Journey on a constant loop before I'll need something new to get me hyped.