Netflix’s ‘The Get Down’ is out now (listen to the soundtrack & music from the show)
The Get Down, the ambitious, pricey new musical drama set from filmmaker Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge, William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliette) debuted on Netflix today. Season 1’s first six episodes are available to watch now and the second half of S1 will be out sometime next year. While initial descriptions of the series made said it was about the birth of hip hop, it is in fact more of a coming of age drama that owes a little to West Side Story (which is based on Romeo & Juliet) that’s set against the backdrop of late-’70s New York (The Bronx, specifically) where poverty and violence are rampant, and disco is king and helping birth hip hop. If you are familiar with Luhrmann’s work, he’s always been more interested in the feeling than facts.
The Luhrmann-directed first episode is by far the weakest of the series first six episodes, that feels Frankenstein’s monster edited, but there are some great music sequences. The show gets much better as it goes, however, with episodes five and six being pretty terrific. The kids are all great, especially Justice Smith as main protagonist Ezekiel. The adults, unfortunately, all suffer from some serious overacting, but again that tones down as it goes. If, like we are in NYC, you’re in the midst of a oppressive heatwave, staying in with the AC cranked and The Get Down is a pretty good beat-the-heat.
One thing’s for sure: they got the music right. Nas, Grandmaster Flash, and Kurtis Blow are producers on the show, and the soundtrack is an appealing mash-up of music from the era and acts from today. A prime example is Janelle Monae‘s infectious “Hum Along and Dance” which samples The Jackson Five. There are also some interesting choices. Can’s “Vitamin C” serves a theme song for Jaden Smith‘s graffiti artist character, and that song also becomes the basis for “You’re Losing Your Mind” by Raury and and Smith which is on the official soundtrack, that also features, Leon Bridges reworking The Temptations’ “Ball of Confusion”, and more. You can stream most of the official soundtrack at Apple Music, and the series has put together episode soundtracks — listen to the first two below.
The Get Down OST tracklist
“Welcome to the Get Down” — Jaden Smith
“Rule the World (I Came from the City)” — Michael Kiwanuka (featuring Nasir Jones as Mr. Books)
“Cadillac” — Miguel
“Losing Your Mind” — Raury & Jaden Smith
“You Can’t Hide/You Can’t Hide from Yourself (Touch of Class GMF Remix)” — ZAYN, Teddy Pendergrass & Grandmaster Flash
“Black Man in a White World (Ghetto Gettysburg Address)” — Michael Kiwanuka (featuring Nasir Jones as Mr. Books)
“Shaolin’s Theme/Pray” — Malay & 6LACK
“Ball of Confusion” — Leon Bridges
“Think (About It)” — Lyn Collins
“Are You Ready? (Do the Bus Stop)/Suga” — The Fatback Band & With (featuring Sarrah Ruba)
“Telepathy” — Christina Aguilera (featuring Nile Rodgers)
“Bad Girls” — Donna Summer
“Hum Along & Dance (Gotta Get Down)” — Janelle Monáe
“Devin’s Gun” — C.J. & Co.
“Wild tn the Streets” — Garland Jeffreys
“Que Lio” — Héctor Lavoe
“Just You, Not Now (Love Theme)” — Grace
“This Ain’t No Fairy Tale” — Justice Smith
“Be That As It May” — Herizon Guardiola
“Get Down Brothers vs. Notorious 3″ — The Get Down Brothers
“Kipling Theme” — Kamasi Washington
“Set Me Free” — Herizen Guardiola (featuring Nile Rodgers)
“Up the Ladder” — Herizen Guardiola
“Zeke’s Poem (I Am the One)” — Justice Smith as Ezekiel Figuero