It’s been a long time since the glory song-soundtrack days of FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH and THE BREAKFAST CLUB, LP’s so full of instantly great, eternally listenable FM hits that you were guaranteed to wear their vinyl out. Set in 1987 DIRTY GIRL has that awesome pop-rock flashback power, with an accent on Grlll Power that makes its heroine anything but a hussy.

With Tanya Tucker’s “Delta Dawn” standing for the boring Oklahoma digs she flees from in search of her biological dad in Fresno, DIRTY GIRL brings on a fun road trip with the proto-punk likes of Bow Wow Wow’s “I Want Candy,” the hair guitar balladeering of The Outfield’s “Your Love,” Sheena Easton’s jazzy “Strut,” and the bubble gum bop of Teena Marie’s “Lover Girl.” All have sass, but when it comes to DIRTY GIRL’s heart and soul, no artist speaks for the misunderstood, and mislabeled teen like Melissa Manchester, whose self-affirming songs (especially for “Girl”’s gay friend and co-escapee) range from the uptempo hits “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” to the yearning “Midnight Blue” and “Still Myself.”

And of course, there’s Manchester’s most famed anthem “Don’t Cry Out Loud”,” where a circus coming to town. Of special Manchester interest is “Rainbird,” a particularly lovely song written by co-star Mary Steenburgen, who’s now making a name for herself as a lyricist- and with good, soulful reason. Full of classic hits with an emotional voice that speaks to today’s nutty kids, DIRTY GIRL has a great vinyl vibe to it.


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Article: Review of DIRTY GIRL soundtrack

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  1. This reviewer NAILED it when he said that Melissa Manchester’s songs are self-affirming. I was a clseted gay kid in Porterville, CA and her songs and voice were my lifeline. SO gald she is getting a tribute in this wonderful movie. And “Rainbird” is a hauntingly beautiful song. Lovely! I hope it wins the Oscar.

    Johnny Schaefer
    • Sorry, I am GLAD, not gald that she is getting a tribute. Didn’t catch that.

      Johnny Schaefer
  2. Yes! The “Dirty Girl” sountrack is amazing!!! Btw, “Rainbird” was co-written by Mary Steenburgen….with Melissa Manchester. In your review, you stated song wasn’t solely written by Steenburgen. Manchester’s music is the heart and soul of “Dirty Girl.” The marriage of both movie and music works beautifully. “Dirty Girl” is a must-see.

    James C
  3. And yes, Rainbird should’ve been nominated for an Oscar. I’m dumbfounded that it wasn’t.

    James C

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