If you marathon Gilmore Girls episodes, there are two songs you won’t be able to get out of your head. One is the theme song, which is surprisingly hard to skip on Netflix. The other, of course, is the la-las. Literally, a woman singing the word “la.” Sad las when things get rough, lighthearted las when things are peppy, a romantic la or two during a confession of love. In our imagination, this post was comprised of all of the different types of la’s. But since those aren’t on Youtube, actual songs will have to do. From that early Bangles concert to Lane’s band, music was actually a big part of life in Stars Hollow.
Eternal Flame by the Bangles
When Sookie offers tickets to the Bangles concert for Rory AND Lane, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, that’s a really tight knit group of gals’. Seems stupid, but I didn’t grow up with a mom who was a teen in the 80s when she gave birth to me, nor did she have a cool best friend, nor did I have a best friend who hung around enough for my mom’s best friend to get her a concert ticket. All of it just seemed so cool and it was one of the first scenes that made me really fall in love with the show.
Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
In one of the rare moments of the series, Lorelai and Emily are surprisingly getting along without even saying a word. They’re both signed up to walk in a fashion show benefit for Rory’s school and Lor is stunned to find out she’s wearing a match outfit to her mother. But what was her worst nightmare turns into something she wants deep inside – to just have fun with her mom. The scene shows a playfulness in both of them, especially Emily, and it doesn’t hurt that Luke’s watching on admiring Lorelai from the side.
Reflecting Light by Sam Phillips
SPEAKING OF LUKE – let’s be real, I’m a Luke and Lorelai shipper til the day I die. I had to stop myself from putting every L+L related song on the playlist. But let’s start with the first real romantic moment between them. Luke saw her face. He invited her to be his date to his sister’s wedding. He does the unexpected and takes her out on the dance floor. Proves he can waltz. Luke can waltz. Luke can waltz? Luke. Can. Waltz.
Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension
I have a love/hate relationship with this episode. On the one hand it’s perfect and hints at Luke and Lor heading down the aisle, and they take the dance floor yet again, but then Christopher comes into the picture, and if you’ve seen the episode, you know what happens. But during the ‘love’ portion of the episode, Richard (</3) dedicates the first/second dance to his new/second wife Emily with a song that was engrained in his memory from when their only child Lorelai was a baby, and the sentiment is too sweet. I became obsessed with this song after this episode and retroactively became a stan for The 5th Dimension. Is that weird?
Magic to Do from Pippin
Another reason why I love this show – the amount of musical theatre references. From Into the Woods to a kid production of Fiddler to Tony winner Kelly freaking Bishop just being in the show, Amy Sherman-Palladino clearly has a love for the Broad Way. I recently saw the revival of Pippin and TBH, I only knew two songs, Corner of the Sky and Magic To Do – solely because of this episode. Whenever Miss Patty has some kind of show, it’s always a treat, and it was no different when Lorelai and Sookie had to sit through kids doing a fairly creepy version of this song and blowing glitter in their faces. Their reaction gets me every time.
Walkin’ My Baby Back Home by Nat King Cole
One of my favorite things about Gilmore Girls is all of the crazy Stars Hollow events. The dance marathon of season 3 really brought it – both as a plot device in the Rory and Dean relationship, and as a way to gather some of our favorite town personalities in one place. You have to love the visual of Kirk running his victory lap around a crying Rory and Lorelai.
99 Luftballoons by Nena
I’m always a sucker for any reference to Young Lorelai. Like Traci said, we don’t have parents who were teenagers in the ’80s, so when we were in high school it seemed so cool to have a mom who was just like all those kids from John Hughes movies. In this episode, we were treated to flashbacks of young pregnant Lorelai – a reminder that while she’s a hip, successful mom throughout the series, during Rory’s early years she was just a kid listening to ’80s German pop on her Walkman.
Fell In Love With A Girl by The White Stripes
Pull up a chair, children, while Granny Molly tells you about the good old days. See, back in the early 2000s, hipsters weren’t like they are now. Especially in the high school set, the same people were more likely to be called “alternative” or “scene kids” or “emo.” Any self-respecting early 2000s teen knows that the White Stripes were in no way emo, but they were part of a lot of indie kids’ playlist for a while there. When Lane’s band plays this, it’s a nice cultural window into the demographic she (covertly) fell into. Plus, remember Lane and Zach’s wedding cake?
Science Vs. Romance by Rilo Kiley
This one is another cultural touchstone. Since we were basically Rory’s age (a year younger), a lot of the soundtrack lines up with what I was listening to when the show is on. Nothing can put you in the mindset of your 18-year-old self quite like listening to the same songs you did then. When I was rewatching the show and Lane played this, I had a big rush of “oh yeah, remember that song?”
Kool Thing by Sonic Youth
Gilmore Girls has fans from all walks of life – even people like then-Sonic Youth members Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. You may have seen their cameo playing at a Stars Hollow festival along with their young daughter. When I was reading Kim Gordon’s memoir, she mentioned how her family’s thing was watching whole tv series together, and immediately knew that this was one of them. So anyway, I’m including a Sonic Youth song because that’s what’s so awesome about Gilmore Girls for me – everyone from one of the coolest rock stars ever, to her tween kid, can find something to love about it.