'It's like: synth, spandex, neon!'
If you spent your weekend so immersed in the 1980s that you almost brought a boom box on your morning commute, you’re not alone. The first season of Netflix’s new comedy GLOW follows a group of women, led by Alison Brie’s Ruth and Betty Gilpin’s Debbie, out to make their mark as the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, and they’ve already left such an impression that fans are calling for more.
While the show is no empty nostalgia vehicle, part of its charm is its dedication to the decade. For music supervisor Bruce Gilbert, crafting the soundtrack to GLOW was a bit like taking a spin in a modified DeLorean.
“It’s not every show you get to just dive into your past,” Gilbert (Orange Is the New Black, Weeds) tells EW of the show’s music, which you can hear in the playlist below. “I moved from Toronto to California when I was 10, and basically my only memory of leaving there, in like ‘82, is hitting play and record on my parents’ tape deck while the Top 40 was playing and cherry-picking the songs that I was going to put on the deck that I would listen to on the plane over here. So I’m connected to that very specific period.”
Though there was early talk of letting the music deviate to different eras, the creative team ultimately decided to keep the wrestling drama’s sound rooted in the ’80s, freeing up Gilbert to essentially reenact his tape-deck days. From there, the challenge was in keeping the show “authentic” — even when a robot bearing drugs showed up at a party.
“It’s like: synth, spandex, neon! It’s all this stuff where I think it could almost be distracting,” Gilbert says. “If you hear like 10 ‘80s songs in a half an hour, you stop hearing the music.”
But while he was cautious not to overload the show with too many songs, when it came to the music’s popularity, anything was fair game. “I didn’t have an issue with something being really recognizable,” Gilbert says. He admits some ‘80s songs have been “beat to death,” especially as more shows fixate on that time period, but, he adds, “If there’s a song I love, I’m going to use it.”
“You can sort of drive yourself crazy worrying about whether or not something else may or may not have been used somewhere,” says Gilbert. “So you just do what you’re going to do naturally and know that it’s going to be as good as it can possibly be.”
The full first season of GLOW is now streaming on Netflix. Get into the groove with the show’s soundtrack above.