By: Jacqui Pash
Photo Courtesy of: HBO
Singer-songwriter Labrinth has created a soundtrack for the HBO series “Euphoria” that is just as haunting as the show’s on-screen images. The 26-song album derives from the show’s authentic depiction of teen drug abuse, anxiety and relationships. Fusing together hip hop, R&B, gospel and smooth jazz, the newly released soundtrack is not your typical score. With a peculiar mix of sounds, each song correlates with a specific scene to further enhance the dramatic whirlwinds of the series.
“Euphoria,” written and created by Sam Levinson, follows a group of high school students dealing with the hardships of drugs, sex, trauma and social media. It predominantly focuses on 17-year-old Rue Bennett and her struggles with multiple psychological disorders. Starring Zendaya, Storm Reid, Jacob Elordi and Sydney Sweeney, the show’s acting, plot and visuals have received numerous positive responses from critics. The only thing getting more praise than the series is its soundtrack.
“Euphoria” marks Labrinth’s first project as lead composer and he is undoubtedly the perfect artist to accompany the action on the screen. His less conventional way of producing this show’s score offers something new and unique to listeners. The music is truly phenomenal at every turn and adds much emotion to every agonizing story told of Rue and her peers.
You barely get through the first few minutes of the first episode to hear the upbeat, brisk tune of “Formula” in the background of Rue and her younger sister Gia heading to school. Shortly after, the song “When I R.I.P” accompanies a montage of Rue at a party using different kinds of drugs. This adds a hallucinatory feel to the first of many intense scenes. Songs such as “New Girl,” “Grapefruit Diet” and “Slideshow” give off a sinister impression for those more mysterious scenes while “Nate Growing Up” incorporates a gospel feel. The classic tune of a circus is heard in “Euphoria Funfair,” which creates a frightening sense for the eerie parts of the show. Some of the biggest hits on the album are those featuring the voice of the composer. These deep vocals allow for a soulful melody in songs such as “WTF Are We Talking For” and “Still Don’t Know My Name.”
Songs such as “Preparing For Call” and “Planning Date,” however, were criticized for their briefness because of their one to two minute duration. Songs more raved about by fans ran for around three minutes. A personal favorite, “Forever,” begins with a subtle tune and progressively builds up to a stronger beat as it persists. Heard in the first and fourth episode of the series, this song helps to elevate the mood for serious scenes.
The fans who patiently waited for this powerful soundtrack to release since the show aired were not disappointed. Labrinth’s music is certainly at one with the visuals of Sam Levinson. Whether you’ve seen the show or not, this music tells an incredible story and speaks to all who listen.