There's no David Bowie on the soundtrack for Netflix's Space Force show, but there are plenty of other songs about space. That's par for the course with a show about the air up there. However, the comedy series doesn't rely just on tunes about the moon and stars to accompany its tale.
The show stars Steve Carell as General Mark Naird, commander of the Space Force branch of the military. It's a high-stress job, and Naird has an excellent de-stressing tactic. He sings. A good portion of the show's soundtrack is made up of songs that the character sings when things get a little too overwhelming. Other melodies included on the soundtrack are pretty on-the-nose entries that further describe the action in those moments. (Dead to Me is another Netflix show where the songs and their lyrics are really just extensions of plot and dialogue. It's one of the streaming site's vibes, apparently.)
Aside from the lyrical numbers, Space Force relies heavily on a composed score with sweeping, patriotic, marching band music filled with snare drums and horns. It helps cement in viewers' minds that the series is about a real branch of the American government's military.
These are the songs used throughout the show's 10 episodes.
Warning: Mild spoilers for Space Force are ahead.1 of 11
Episode 1: Harry Nilsson, "Spaceman"
This song opens and closes the show, and the lyrics perfectly describe Mark Naird's (Steve Carell) new life as the highly-mocked general of the Space Force: "I wanted to be a spaceman / That's what I wanted to be / But now that I am a spaceman / Nobody cares about me."
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Episode 1: The Beach Boys, "Kokomo"
Naird sings this to himself to try to calm down ahead of a big launch. It's a fitting relaxation method, since the whole tune is about chilling in paradise. The melody also plays as the ends credits song in this episode (and in the Space Force trailer
Episode 2: Creedence Clearwater Revival, "Fortunate Son"
This entire song is about not being a follower for the military or the government or the rich, so it's funny that it plays during a tactical scene where Naird's team tries to figure out how to save a satellite that was destroyed in space.4 of 11
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Episode 4: The Newbeats, "Bread And Butter"
This is another one of Naird's "calm down" songs, and a flashback reveals that he used to sing it with his whole family when his daughter Erin (Diana Silvers)
was young and his wife Maggie (Lisa Kudrow) wasn't yet in prison. The lyrics are all about domestic bliss: "I like bread and butter / I like toast and jam / That's what my baby feeds me / I'm her loving man."
Episode 5: Creedence Clearwater Revival, "The Midnight Special"
This working class struggle song plays on Dr. Mallory's (John Malkovich) radio when he heads to the mock battle between the Air Force and Space Force. Throughout the series, Dr. Mallory opposes using Space Force for war efforts, preferring to use it to further our scientific knowledge. He is the working man to Naird's military man.6 of 11
Episode 6: Louis Armstrong, "What a Wonderful World"
Dr. Mallory sings a parody of this tune where he (quite masterfully) changed the lyrics to be about the feelings he has for one of the inhabitants of the lunar habitat. 7 of 11
Episode 6: The Temptations, "My Girl"
Naird sings this classic tune to his wife over the phone, and it's clear that he misses her so much while she's incarcerated. The tune is all about how the woman the singer loves makes everything better, but Naird's wife can't do much to support her husband from behind bars. 8 of 11
Episode 8: Block B, "HER"
Dr. Chan (Jimmy O. Yang) reveals himself to be a K-Pop fan when he's driving to Denver with Captain Angela (Tawny Newsome). She is also a fan, and the two of them are soon jamming together to the tune. It helps them bond outside of work and light a spark between them. 9 of 11
Episode 8: AOA, "Elvis"
On the drive back from Denver, Dr. Chan and Angela listen to another K-Pop song by the girl group AOA.10 of 11
Episode 8: The Monkees, "Daydream Believer"
This song plays over the credits after Naird's conjugal visit with his wife. The lyrics pretty accurately sum up what his life is now that his time with his wife is reduced to a couple of visits a year:
"Now you know how happy I can be / Oh, our good time starts and ends / Without all I want to spend."11 of 11
Episode 9: Bobby Womack, "Fly Me To The Moon"
In this episode, Naird's rocket lands on the moon, making this song a pretty natural choice for the moment where the astronauts get to jump around on the surface. They are quite literally "play[ing] among the stars" as the lyrics go.