10 recent songs we’d like to see performed on Glee today

Joy may have ended in 2015, but it left a lasting impression on television – especially, in the music television genre. Few musical television series have a life as long as Joy, and certainly not those that cover pop songs even more modern than the original music.

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With Joy spanning many genres, styles and artists, it made sure to include music that everyone could enjoy. While most of the songs could be found in the Top 40 at one point, the series liked to cover the classics as well. If it had only lasted a few more years, there are plenty of contemporary songs that would have been a perfect fit for the show.


Traitor by Olivia Rodrigo

Olivia Rodrigo puts her hands on her head in Traitor clip

Following the success of Lycée Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney +, Olivia Rodrigo released her debut album SOUR and returned to radio in 2021. Given the incredible popularity of her music, it’s impossible to think that Joy would not have covered at least one of his songs. Instead of “Drivers License”, however, which easily got the most circulation, something like “Traitor” would have made a great, fantastic streak on the series.

After all, Joy was known for its love geometry rather than just love triangles. Everyone in the club had a relationship which was evident throughout the race. While Joy had successful major relationships, they didn’t always work out. At least one of the beloved characters could have sang about being cheated on for a powerful performance on the show.

Butter By BTS

BTS lined up for passport photos for Butter video

K-Pop has seen a surge in popularity over the past three years, so if Joy were still airing today, it would take at least a cover of one of the biggest K-Pop groups around. BTS’s “Butter” would have been fun.

It’s easy to see this one as a big performance number for a competition instead of a fantastic streak. The show tended to stick with the powerful ballads of the 1980s for many of its major competitions, but “Butter” certainly would have earned points with the audience.

Hamilton Satisfied

Hamilton Angelica Satisfied

With the popularity of Hamilton, there’s no way Joy wouldn’t have tried to cover at least one song, if not to do an entire episode devoted to the Broadway show. There are probably a lot of Hamilton fans who wouldn’t want Glee to tackle music, and while “My Shot” might be more popular on Spotify, Angelica Schuyler’s “Satisfied” would allow Joy present a voice on the show instead of making a lot of them in an attempt to reproduce Hamiltonstage directions from.

“Satisfied” is a musical highlight that lets audiences really get to know Angelica and gives a different perspective on who Alexander Hamilton is. It’s also a great showcase for a singer who needs to have the range and ability to spit out quick lyrics to be successful, as well as a mix of genres that Joy could not resist.

Kings and Queens by Ava Max

Ava Max holds bird sitting on throne in Kings And Queens music video

Earworms are a good indicator of what songs would appear on Joy. Despite its love for Journey and other 1980s classics, the series had a knack for choosing modern music that everyone knew and could sing along to, such as Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” or Lady’s Many Songs. Gaga she was presenting. Ava Max’s “Kings & Queens” would fall into this category. Not everyone who listens to music knows the name of Ava Max, but they’ve probably heard this anthem hit because it’s a must-read on all streaming platforms and live radio stations.

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This is exactly the kind of song that fits the Joy episodes choosing to elevate the underdogs and show audiences that everyone deserves to be heard. It has also become a staple at virtual pride parties while people were in quarantine in 2020, although the show certainly doesn’t need to remind its audiences of that fact.

Ice Cream by BLACKPINK (with Selena Gomez)

Selena Gomez winks on screen above BLACKPINK members sitting on kids' cars in their Ice Cream clip

Although Joy was about a bunch of high school kids following their dreams, the show pushed the boundaries with just what it could get in terms of musical sequences and dialogue. BLACKPINK’s “Ice Cream” would definitely give the show a chance to do so as most of the lyrics are thinly veiled innuendos.

The song is also a bop and one of K-pop’s biggest hits to achieve international success. It also features Selena Gomez, an artist who has only seen her music once in the series for the prom episode. It would definitely be a track that the girls in the show could run with.

Old Town Road by Lil Nas X (with Billy Ray Cyrus)

Billy Ray Cyrys and Lil Nas X disguised as cowboys in the clip for Old Town Road

Joy was known for his innovative music mashups, but he was also famous for crossing genres. Although Joy is mainly a comedy (and begins largely as a satire), it has its fair share of dramatic stories. Mixing tropes from different genres maybe at times made the tone uneven, but that’s also part of what draws people to the show, just as Lil Nas X gets to combine his style with country musician Billy Ray Cyrus.

It’s not a mix that everyone would expect, but “Old Town Road” has become ridiculously popular, and Joy would certainly have had fun integrating it into the show.

How far will I go from Moana

Moana standing on a boat looking at the ocean in Moana (2016)

Over the course of its course, Joy contains only two songs that are part of the Disney animation catalog, one of The Lady and the Tramp and another from Frozen. With Joy Originally airing on FOX, the Disney songs could have been a bit pricey to get the rights. Now, however, FOX is part of the umbrella of the Disney corporations, which might have made it easier to access Disney music.

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Modern Disney music, that would open the door to Moana’s song about chasing her dreams. Every Disney Princess has a song detailing exactly what she wants in her movies, and Moana is no exception with “How Far I’ll Go” showcasing the character’s ambitions. Although Joy is set in a landlocked state, there’s no reason someone couldn’t sing a ballad inspired by a trip on water.

Free at last from Julie and the ghosts

Julie and the Ghosts TV Series Trailer

At the end of 2020, Netflix released its own musical series aimed at teens and tweens in Julie and the ghosts. The series, however, did not feature glee clubs, but a rock band made up mostly of ghosts. The series is as much an exploration of grief as it is a fun musical, and this song in particular, about being true to yourself and holding your head up, would fit right in with it. joy messages of hope and resilience.

Although the song begins at a slower pace, it becomes a high energy anthem. Finally Free also has an excellent set of calls and responses, lending itself well to a character duet instead of another solo.

Too Good (10 minute version) by Taylor Swift

In many cases, Joy features big, breathtaking, high-energy acts. There are a handful of times the show doesn’t actually perform full songs, only tackling the first minute instead. Which is why it would have been impressive to see the show adopt its own take on something like Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well”. His new version of the song – which includes all of his original lyrics before it was edited – lasts 10 minutes.

Taylor Swift’s music presented in film and television, with covers on Joy before, but it would make an interesting choice. The series could have created its own version of its short for the story of a couple’s breakup, or featured its own epic competitive performance using just that song instead of three different ones. It would have made a unique choice for the show.

Good as hell by Lizzo

Uplifting hymns are a big part of joy directory. Lizzo’s “Good As Hell” is such a heartwarming hymn that it still airs on the radio more than five years after its original release.

Joy is no stranger to songs about self-recovery or about self-confidence. This song features both, with a good rhythm, and serious belts to show the pipes of the soloist who sings it. It would definitely be an issue where the series could give it all, although it might have to censor a few lyrics.

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