HBO/Sony Music Entertainment
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Those familiar with HBO’s Euphoria know it’s unlike any other teen drama of the past 30 years. The television show focuses on a group of high school students facing various issues, including the standard high school dating, but also coming out, domestic violence, and drug addiction through a quasi-psychedelic lens.
Singer-songwriter-producer Labrinth, who collaborated with show creator Sam Levinson on producing the soundtrack, recently told Rolling Stone, “When you look back to your teenage days…it feels semi-magical but semi-crazy and semi-psychotic. I wanted to make sure the music felt like those things.”
Emulating Labrinth’s desire to create something both magical and chaotic, Euphoria’s soundtrack fits a show that contains dark subject content, but with colorful and glittery visuals. Most of the soundtrack is R&B and hip-hop and includes a variety of artists from superstars like Beyoncé and Drake, to up-and-coming artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Billie Eilish.
Some standout tracks, which effectively capture the haunting undertone of the show, include “Deep End” by Kology, a slow jam with electronic production and distorted vocals. “Jealous” by Samantha Leah features breathy vocals and lyrics about pining for a crush that reflect the plot points that depict angsty teenage romance.
The soundtrack also includes a version of Labrinth’s own “All for Us” with guest vocals from Euphoria’s star Zendaya, who plays lead character Rue. The track juxtaposes a bouncy electronic beat with dark lyrics alluding from everything to Rue’s drug addiction to her father’s death before the events of season one. The repetition of the line “Doing it all for love” reflects Rue’s struggles throughout the first season to maintain relationships with her loved ones while battling drug addiction, while possibly revealing her character motivations.
Euphoria’s soundtrack ultimately highlights that show’s reflections on being a teenager in the digital age—being overstimulated by beauty and romance, as well as darker aspects of teenage life. By highlighting the teenage experience, the soundtrack effectively underscores the themes of Euphoria.