Throwback Review: “Euphoria” by Labrinth

The sountrack to the hit HBO series “Euphoria” adds to the atmosphere and popularity of the show


Though the popularity of HBO’s “Euphoria” is due to its dramatic portrayal of teenage addiction, much of its mood is created by its equally dramatic soundrack.

HBO’s “Euphoria” has been one of the most popular TV shows for the past year. It offers a dramatic interpretation of high school life — but what really sets it apart is the imagery. Gorgeous cinematography keeps the atmosphere of the show interesting and hallucinatory, allowing for a “show don’t tell” approach to the emotional side. 

A strong part of this atmosphere is the soundtrack. With its official release on October 4th, 2019, “Euphoria (Original Score)” by Labrinth had the heavy responsibility of creating the sound of the first season. I do believe that without the soundtrack, the show would lose a lot of its appeal, however- does it stand on its own? 

Being a mostly instrumental album, lyrics are not the focus. However, on the few songs that do contain lyrics, such as “Formula,” sleeper hit “Still Don’t Know My Name”, and “McKay and Cassie,” the writing is used as a support for the ambience rather than to be the main takeaway. The lyrics tend to be repetitive or few and far between, but that doesn’t weaken the album. Going into a soundtrack, lyrical substance is not what is expected, but I believe that Labrinth uses them to enhance the songs very well. 

Additionally, with instrumentation being the priority, vocals would be expected to remain out of the spotlight. However, vocal samples, and the occasional use of lyrics stand out far more than would be expected. Labrinth’s style of production uses vocal samples perfectly to increase the feeling of the tracks. By far, this is most evident on “Nate Growing Up” where chorus samples and distorted lead vocals are used to create a mood that I find stressful, claustrophobic, and almost chaotic, which is definitely the objective. This album is a class act in vocal sampling. 

Finally, in terms of production, this album aims for feelings of nostalgia, fear, stress, growing up, chaos, and each of these feelings are achieved through expert instrumentation. From soft and airy acoustics on “New Girl” to loud and brash experimental concepts on “Virgin Pina Coladas” and even jazz and blues influences on “McKay and Cassie,” the album flows together and conveys the emotions it aims for with perfect proficiency. The soundscapes are breathtaking to say the least. 

When Labrinth was asked about his approach, he said, “It was a dream come true to give wings and add magic to the different storylines. It was a collaborative effort among Sam Levinson, the crew and the cast – I only added texture to an already phenomenal show. I hope that anyone who listens to the music embraces feeling something.” I think, true to that statement, the music and the show are inseparable and in their partnership make each other better. This score is the perfect choice for people who are a fan of soundtrack albums or “Euphoria” in general.