On Friday, Netflix released the final five episodes of the first season of The Get Down, the hip-hop musical drama created by Baz Luhrmann that premiered in August 2016. (The season was split in two because of budget and scheduling issues, i.e., because of Baz Luhrmann.) Part 2 is a vast improvement on Part 1; there are no tedious 90-minute episodes in this batch, the plotting is tighter, and the show seems to have figured out how to incorporate the organized-crime storyline into its larger story of young strivers making music in the Bronx circa 1977.
But let’s be honest — the musical numbers are the real draw of The Get Down. On that front, Part 2 certainly doesn’t disappoint: It’s got funky disco tracks, campy cabaret tunes, and, of course, plenty of rap numbers courtesy of the Get Down Brothers, lead by Zeke “Books” Figuero (Justice Smith) and DJ Shaolin Fantastic (Shameik Moore). With colorful lighting, luscious costumes, and dynamic choreography, these numbers are a treat for the eyes and the ears — and, for the discerning listener, full of music and movie references from Drake to Rocky to Magic Mike to Cabaret.
Below, we’ve ranked all the musical numbers in The Get Down Part 2 in descending order from not-as-great to best (it should be noted that some of the song names are guesses based on the lyrics), and timestamped them, for your pleasure. (A few spoilers ahead.)
“Backstabber” (Part 2, Episode 4; 22:30)
Misty Holloway may be last week’s news, and discerning record execs may note that she lacks Mylene’s (Herizen Guardiola) curvaceous bod. But it must be said that the famed (and fictional) disco diva, played by Hamilton’s Renée Elise Goldsberry, has a much stronger voice than her young competition. We finally get to see her in action when she briefly steals Mylene’s thunder during a spontaneous performance of “Backstabbers” (get it?) at Ruby Con. There’s also a clear Drake reference when Misty sings, “They smile in your face/ Whole time they wanna take your place.”
“We All Gonna Fly Now” (Part 2, Episode 2; 42: 51)
The Get Down Brothers’ first performance at Les Inferno may have pissed off the disco-loving Cadillac (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), but his mother, the club owner and mob boss Fat Annie (Lillias White), knows a hit when she hears one. That Rocky theme music sample really puts this one over the top, emphasizing the boys’ victorious emergence on the scene.
“The Other Side” (Part 2, Episode 5; 1:07:32)
This lovely ballad serves as the soundtrack to Zeke (Justice Smith) and Mylene’s final farewell, as Mylene prepares to fly to L.A. to film the sci-fi funk fantasy Gone with the Solar Wind. But first, she and her Soul Madonnas, Regina (Shyrley Rodriguez) and Yolanda (Stefanée Martin), record the song Jackie wrote for Mylene — which takes on new resonance following the suicide of Mylene’s father, Ramon (Giancarlo Esposito).
“Toy Box” (Part 2, Episode 4; 27:33)
The Get Down doesn’t really bother to make this sexy track — written by Sia — sound like something that you would’ve heard in a nightclub circa 1977, but what the hell. “Toy Box” is the song that forces Mylene to cast off her church-girl look and embrace her sultry image as a nubile disco starlet. Too bad dad’s in the audience. Awk-ward….
“’Bout That Bank” (Part 2, Episode 1; 8:52)
This little ditty reintroduces us to the slick-jacketed Get Down Brothers — and has the added pleasure of sampling “Money Makes the World Go Around” from Cabaret.
“Cross Your Rubicon” (Part 2, Episode 3; 14:40)
The Cabaret references keep coming: This episode once again gestures to the 1972 musical film with this delicious little ditty sung by the emcee — who looks more than a little like Cabaret’s Joel Grey — of Ruby Con, a Studio-54-like den of vice where Mylene performs her steamy new single, hence crossing her own “point of no return.” Willkommen, indeed.
“Break the Locks” (Part 2, Episode 3; 12:41 and 43:32)
This little number is accompanied by military-style drumbeats and choreography that would not be out of place in Magic Mike (minus the stripping, of course). In “Break the Locks,” the boys pay homage to the freedom of being on one’s own — right after Zeke’s aunt kicks him out of the house for staying out late.
“I’ll Keep My Light in My Window” (Part 2, Episode 1; 18:50)
For Mylene Cruz and the Soul Madonnas’ first TV appearance — on the Soul Train-esque show Platinum Boogie — the trio performs this absolute banger of a single, backed by a chorus of white-robed gospel singers. I can’t lie, this one had me dancing alone in my apartment.
“Each One, Teach One, Come Together” (Part 2, Episode 5; 38:04)
“Time to school these motherfuckers.” It all comes down to the Get Down Brothers’ final performance of the half-season, on a rooftop with a view of the Empire State Building and with all the tribes of the Bronx — plus a skeptical Cadillac — present. The song acts as an “oral history” of both the Get Down Brothers and the nascent hip-hop genre itself. Theirs is a story of a golden phoenix rising from the ashes of the impoverished Bronx, with accolades reserved for pioneering DJs Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash. The details in this number are great, like the beat from Can’s “Vitamin C” that kicks in when Dizzee (Jaden Smith) starts rapping (the song often plays over his graffiti-tagging scenes). And the whole thing culminates with all the warring factions of the borough coming together onstage to put the music first.