Simply euphoric: the best electronic and club tracks heard on HBO’s Euphoria
As the HBO show's second season comes to an end, here's some of the best music we've heard in the series so far
The gripping season two finale of HBO's teen smash Euphoria has left us all wanting a bit more. What is it about the show that has us in such a collective chokehold? is it the affectingly relatable storylines? the moody cinematography? the ever-so-stylish wardrobes? For us here at Mixmag it has to be the carefully curated buoyant, fizzy pop and melodramatic angst of the show's soundtrack.
The sonic identity of Euphoria has become synonymous with the Gen Z experience, with its soundtrack featuring on teen playlists everywhere. The music played throughout the show reflects the changing moods of the characters, the evolving storylines, the energy in that particular scene and trends of the late 2010s and early 2020s.
Everything seems carefully curated to reflect the reality of the teen experience: Biggie Smalls is played at a house party, an under-appreciated teen taking a bike ride home is soundtracked by angsty hyper-pop, and a scene that features intense times of pain and emptiness of one of the lead queer characters is narrated by the echos of Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown boy’. Music Supervisor Jen Malone told Vogue that “Euphoria is genreless,” instead, working to mix together tried-and-tested classics with more modern productions. "I don’t know if it’s fair to say that none of Gen Z is listening to Notorious B.I.G. If that’s the case, they’re missing out," she said. "Here you go from Euphoria — our gift to you to dig into these classics. Kids can definitely have more fun at parties if they start playing some."
To honour the wonderfully selected tracks from the show so far we’ve curated a list of some of the best electronic and club tracks played and featured in both season one and two.
JAMES BLAKE AND LABRINTH ‘EUPHORIA (PICK ME UP)’
This first track is from the Euphoria season two soundtrack itself. Here Euphoria composer Labrinth collaborates with music aficionado and former Mixmag cover star James Blake. This track takes listeners from high frequency, high octane vocals to downtempo and whispered lyrics - before swinging them back around. It reflects the ever-changing emotions that many of the characters in this recent season feel, highlighting both the euphoria (no pun intended) and sombreness of adolescence.
QUAY DASH ‘QUEEN OF THIS SHIT’
This SOPHIE-produced track was played during the finale of season one and played when the main characters Rue and Jules left the bathroom to go and dance. This feel-good, camp, high energy track is fused with influences from hyper pop and vogue-house champions self-confidence - a trait that most of the characters in the show are striving towards having.
BRONSKI BEAT ‘SMALLTOWN BOY’
This song is used as an undertoned narration of one of the show’s leading queer characters, Jules, processing hurt in season one. In 2019, Mixmag published an article detailing the significance of this track’s placement in the show and explained that there are parallels between Jules’ feelings of hurt and the hurt that is depicted in the original music video for ‘Smalltown Boy’.
MEDIKAL ‘DA FUNK’
This trumpet infused EDM track is a high energy moment of relief in the series. It has a funky rhythm, living up to its name, and a flow that is easy to move your body to. The bouncy beat of this track has a playful and childlike feeling to it, reminding you that at the end of the day this show is about kids just living their life.
JAMIE XX, YOUNG THUG, POPCAAN ‘I KNOW THERE’S GUNNA BE (GOOD TIMES)’
This feel-good track is used in the first-ever episode of the show and is played at a time where protagonist Rue has a key at a house party — with this tune starts chiming in to signify the start of her high. At this point, Rue just wants to have fun, and the show is displaying these teens as party animals who are always chasing a good time. This track plays in the background of one of the most cleverly shot scenes in the whole series, where the room rotates as Rue tries to keep herself upright.
LAURA LES ‘HAUNTED’
This hyper-pop track from 100 Gec's Laura Les was featured in episode two and has gone on to be an internet sensation. High-tempo and full of angst and edge, this track narrates Lexi’s bike ride home. Lexi is an introverted, intelligent, but notoriously overlooked character — and the soft vocals contrasting the fast tempo hyper-pop screams mirrors the contrast between Lexi’s timid exterior and enraged interior. With lines such as: “I’ve been up for three days, everything is haunted/ Everybody’s evil and there’s bugs inside the carpet,” it’s no wonder this track was used to show the complex feelings associated with being a teen.
WHAT SO NOT & SKRILLEX ‘GOH’
This track from season one was played in a scene where the school’s football team made a grand entrance and the cheerleaders were performing a dance. While at first glance this seems somewhat out of place for a What So Not and Skrillex tune, it captivated the full-on and fast-paced nature of what was going on in this scene. The beat drops matched the movements of the characters perfectly, whether that be gasps from the bystanders in the school cafeteria reacting to the footballers jump on tables, or whether it be the cheerleaders performing their dance to the bassline of the track - it was nice to see a Skrillex appearance in the show.
KYLIE MINOGUE ‘CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD’
This early 00s club classic played during the season two finale of Euphoria couldn’t be left off the list. 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head' features during a scene with Cal Jacobs, the father of jock Nate who has been coming to terms with his sexuality and past during this season. It was a fitting track and brought a smile to the faces of many viewers. Please HBO, include more snippets of cheeky club classics in future seasons.