ItsNotYouItsMe Blog: ItsNotYouItsMe "Back To The Future" Edition Celebrates Thee 20 Best Tunes Featured On Iconic FX Show "Pose" (Thus Far That Is)

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

ItsNotYouItsMe "Back To The Future" Edition Celebrates Thee 20 Best Tunes Featured On Iconic FX Show "Pose" (Thus Far That Is)

ItsNotYouItsMe "Back To The Future" edition celebrates thee 20 best tunes featured on the iconic FX show "Pose" (thus far that is)...

"FX’s groundbreaking series Pose has changed TV forever with its record number of trans cast members, narrative centering of the AIDS crisis, and masterful storytelling (often headed by trans pioneers like Janet Mock and Our Lady J) that weaves real-life anecdotes from New York’s ball culture with the fictional characters’ lives.

The cast and creators behind the groundbreaking FX show will be just a few of the many special guests attend Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter’s first-ever Pride Summit on Thursday (Aug. 8). During their panel at the event, show creator Steven Canals, writer/producer/director Janet Mock, and stars MJ Rodriguez, Indya Moore, Dyllón Burnside and Hailie Sahar will discuss the show’s impact -- in front of, behind, and beyond the camera. Register for the Pride Summit here.

Just as the whole team behind Pose strives to maintain as much historical accuracy as possible when world-building, the show has also successfully produced a period-perfect soundtrack, which combines some of the most beloved songs of the 1980s and ‘90s with less well-known tracks that younger viewers may have never heard before. As the Emmy-nominated series approaches the end of its second season, we’re taking a look back at some of the best music that has been featured on the show so far:

20. Klymaxx, "Meeting in the Ladies Room"

This campy dance-pop song from 1984 has actually been featured twice on Pose so far, most recently on episode 2 of season 2. Its subject matter centers around a woman who gets in a fight with another woman in the restroom at a club for trying to get with her man, which makes it an especially fitting choice as the soundtrack for a brawl between Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) and Chris (Blaine Alden Krauss) at one of the balls.

19. Cherrelle & Alexander O’Neal, "Saturday Love"

Many younger fans may recognize this R&B tune from numerous memes around the internet, but Cherrelle’s 1985 duet with Alexander O’Neal quickly became the duo’s calling card as it embodied the spirit of mid-'80s R&B.

18. Grace Jones, "I’ve Seen That Face Before"

Grace Jones’ interpolation of the Argentine tango standard “Libertango” has become one of the singer’s most popular songs since its release in 1981. It found more chart success in Europe, no doubt due to its trademark spoken bits of French. The song resonated with international fans so much that Jones later went on to release a Spanish version of the song, as well as an English version that swaps out the French verses for Portuguese.

17. Teena Marie, "Lovergirl"

R&B darling Teena Marie was by no means a one-hit wonder, but her 1984 single “Lovergirl” was undoubtedly her biggest smash. The single earned her her second Grammy nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance, and peaked at No. 4 on the Hot 100 -- and was accompanied by a music video directed by actress Cicely Tyson, to boot.

16. Sade, "The Sweetest Taboo"

Sade’s 1985 album Promise remains one of the band’s best-remembered sets, and lead single “The Sweetest Taboo” peaked at No. 5 on the Hot 100 a few months after its release -- sharing the record for the group’s highest-charting single with the previous year's “Smooth Operator.”

15. Paula Abdul, "Straight Up"

The impact of Paula Abdul's “Straight Up” is undeniable: after two failed singles from her debut album, the song rocketed Abdul straight up to the top of the Hot 100, and put her on the map as one of the biggest breakout pop stars of the late '80s. “Straight Up” would go on to inspire artists like J. Cole and serve as the backdrop for one of RuPaul’s Drag Race’s steamiest lip syncs.

14. Janet Jackson, "Black Cat"

Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 is often regarded as the R&B icon’s magnum opus, and with good reason: the concept album holds a number of records to this day, including being the only album in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 to chart seven singles within the top five spots. “Black Cat” topped the chart in October of 1990, and earned Jackson praise for her effortless foray into hard rock.

13. Soul II Soul, "Back to Life"

This R&B classic from 1989 was used in a number of promos for Pose’s second season as well as in the show itself. It’s a fitting choice for the preseason theme of returning to “life” and “reality,” but on a deeper level, the song’s focus on romantic partnership alludes to Angel (Indya Moore) and Papi (Angel Bismark Curiel)’s budding romance this season.

12. The Weather Girls, "It’s Raining Men"

Nearly three decades after its release, “It’s Raining Men” continues to capture the hearts of listeners all around the world. The song received widespread acclaim including a Grammy nomination for best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals, and maintains its iconic status to this day for its high energy and campy lyrics (and even campier music video).

11. Chaka Khan, "Ain’t Nobody"

Undeniably one of Chaka Khan’s greatest hits, “Ain’t Nobody” has remained since it perfectly married funk and R&B in 1983. In the decades to follow, the song has been covered and sampled countless times, earning ts status as one of the biggest highlights of Khan’s illustrious career.

10. Diana Ross, "I’m Coming Out"

While "I'm Coming Out" was originally written about being freed from her previous record label, the song has come to symbolize her longtime allyship with the LGBTQ+ community. The chameleonic Miss Ross' work with disco kingpins Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic in the late '70s and early '80s resulted in several iconic hits, and "I'm Coming Out" has arguably endured best of all, with an irresistible pop-funk groove also sampled for a No. 1 hit in 1997 with The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Mo Money Mo Problems," also featuring Puff Daddy and Mase.

9. Whitney Houston, "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"

When mother Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) forces Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) to audition for a spot in the New School's dance program at the beginning of Pose’s first season, he's forced to perform an unprepared routine to this beloved Whitney Houston classic. The song shot to the top spot of the Hot 100 chart in June of 1987, becoming her first of four No. 1 hits off sophomore LP Whitney and the first Platinum-certified single of the young singer’s career.

8. Donna Summer, "On the Radio"

Another one of Damon’s favorite songs to dance to in the series’ pilot, this disco jam from 1979 remains one of Donna Summer’s most recognizable hits. Originally written for the soundtrack of the 1980 film Foxes, “On the Radio” went on to become Summer’s eighth consecutive American single to chart in the top five of the Hot 100, and has been covered by fans like Selena and Jennifer Lopez.

7. Stevie Wonder, "Love’s in Need of Love Today"

Stevie Wonder’s legacy is one filled with heartfelt music that speaks to his way of touching each of our souls like no other artist can. “Love’s in Need of Love Today” is an uplifting and inspiring tune that urges everyone to spread as much love as possible as more and more negativity fills the world that we live in. The sixth episode of season two (which takes its name from the song) features a moving performance of the song by Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) and Pray Tell (Billy Porter), with backup help from Lulu (Hailie Sahar), Ricky (Dyllón Burnside), and Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain).

6. Stephanie Mills, "Never Knew Love Like This Before"

In an emotional send-off for Candy (Angelica Ross) earlier this season, the mother of the House of Ferocity finally gets her wish to perform a lip sync at one of Pray Tell’s balls. Stephanie Mills’ 1980 hit “Never Knew Love Like This Before” is a song that’s as danceworthy as it is tear-jerking -- something Ross acknowledged herself, saying “As soon as I heard the first chord for the song, I was in tears.” “Never Knew Love Like This Before” is Mills’ most successful single on the Hot 100, peaking at No. 6 in November of 1980.

5. Stephanie Mills / Diana Ross, "Home"

Stephanie Mills rose to stardom in the 1975 original Broadway production of The Wiz, where she first popularized “Home,” the musical’s triumphant finale number. Diana Ross covered the song in the film version three years later, and on the first season of Pose, Blanca and Pray Tell deliver a showstopping performance of the beloved number at their first annual AIDS cabaret. The song’s theme of finding home among your chosen family speaks to the heart of Pose—and more broadly, the heart of ballroom and the House system as a whole.

4. Tina Turner, "Private Dancer"

Tina Turner’s sultry ode to ladies of the night remains one of the singer’s best-known hits, peaking at No. 7 on the Hot 100 in March of 1985. Turner rarely licenses her music for use on television, making Pose’s inclusion of the song in a scene that features Elektra (Dominique Jackson) dancing for a private client that much more impactful.

3. Kate Bush, "Running Up That Hill"

One of the musical standouts from Pose’s first season, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” is a melodramatic anthem that makes a perfect fit for a melodramatic love story. In the series’ pilot, Angel (Indya Moore) tells Stan (Evan Peters) -- a new john who spends a night with her -- that the Kate Bush classic was “their song” as they kissed. The song became one of Bush’s biggest hits, peaking at No. 3 on the singles chart in her native U.K. while simultaneously becoming her only Hot 100 top 40 hit to date.

2. Diana Ross, "Love Hangover"

Much of Pose’s first season highlights the strained relationships between Elektra (Dominique Jackson) and her former children who left the House of Abundance to form their own houses. This comes to a head in the first season finale, when Blanca’s House of Evangelista faces off against Candy and Lulu’s House of Ferocity in an epic ballroom battle set to Diana Ross’s groovy “Love Hangover.” The scene features the uptempo second half of the song, which Ross herself found more comfortable to record than the slow-and-low intro. “Love Hangover” climbed to the top of the Hot 100 in May of 1976, and never fails to get fans moving to this day.

1. Madonna, "Vogue"

Madonna’s chart-topping love letter to ballroom has essentially been a background character throughout this season of Pose. The season opened in 1990 as the song dominated the cultural zeitgeist, causing Blanca to dream of mainstream fame for her community. Madonna came into contact with ballroom after seeing José and Luis Xtravaganza voguing at a club in New York, which led her to recruit them as backup dancers for her Blond Ambition tour -- another real-life ballroom story that Pose alludes to when Ricky and Damon find themselves in final auditions for a spot on Madge’s now-legendary tour.

This season has chronicled the rise and fall of “Vogue,” with the latest recent episode taking place after the country’s obsession with the dance style came and went, prompting Pray Tell to deliver the hard truth that “white folks like to visit, but don’t move in.” To this day, “Vogue” represents the creativity and authenticity of those who Madonna first fell in love with in the late ‘80s, and stands as ballroom’s greatest mainstream moment." -

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