The entrancing score of ‘Euphoria’ has arrived, and it sounds like teen angst and eye glitter

Bethonie Butler

THE WASHINGTON POST – There’s no word yet on when Euphoria will be back to solve the mystery behind its epic (and potentially infuriating) Season 1 cliffhanger, but the wait is finally over for the drama’s hypnotic score.

The 26-track album, released Friday by Milan Records and Sony Music Masterworks, captures the drug-fuelled adrenaline and ennui experienced by the show’s troubled teens. Helmed by Labrinth, the score includes several songs featuring the British singer-songwriter’s soaring vocals – including the previously unreleased When I RIP. That track is first heard in the pilot when the show’s protagonist, Rue (Zendaya), describes her descent into drug addiction and the feeling she gets when she is high.

“Feel the morning on my face. Ain’t a pill that I didn’t take,” Labrinth croons as Rue’s voice over resumes: “And then it happens. That moment when your breath starts to flow,” she said. “And every time you breathe, you breathe out all the air you have. And everything stops.” Rue’s friend and love interest, Jules, later sings along to the track in the show’s penultimate episode – as she rides through a gritty tunnel with an old friend.

Music is intrinsic to Euphoria and its raw, if horrifying, Gen Z universe. Labrinth’s permeating score elevated an eclectic soundtrack curated by music supervisor Jen Malone, who also oversees the similarly evocative soundtrack of FX’s Atlanta. Several episodes take their names from song titles: Lil Wayne’s Stuntin’ Like My Daddy, Mobb Deep’s Shook Ones Pt II and the Beyoncé-Jay-Z collab ‘03 Bonnie and Clyde. Euphoria also makes carefully placed use of music by Drake, one of its executive producers. Labrinth set the show’s musical tone with a mash-up of electronic, R&B, dance and hip-hop sounds. “When you look back to your teenage days, it feels semi-magical but semi-crazy and semi-psychotic,” he recently told Rolling Stone. “I wanted to make sure the music felt like those things.”

Some of the score’s melodies take on an ethereal quality. Forever, a breathy and brooding number bookended tension throughout the series; Arriving at the Formal features lush and playful Xylophone notes that blended into Detroit rapper Kash Doll’s Dancin as Rue and her classmates arrived at their winter formal.

Beyond the score, Euphoria featured songs became in-demand playlists on Spotify and Apple Music with several songs making it onto Billboard’s TV Songs chart. The top song was a remix of the Labrinth’s All for Us, which led to a jaw-dropping surprise in the show’s finale. In the finale, Rue sings the genre-bending track after relapsing in a pivotal scene that renders her fate uncertain. In the scene, a gospel choir and marching band take the song into another dimension. “Till then,” Labrinth says just before the credits.

Zendaya as Rue in Euphoria. PHOTO: HBO