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HomeMusicThe Most Memorable Music Moments From HBO’s ‘Euphoria’

The Most Memorable Music Moments From HBO’s ‘Euphoria’

TV shows and movies have been using songs to supplement stories for decades. On HBO’s Euphoria, tracks don’t just add emotion and intensity to certain scenes, the music has become as central to the story as the characters in the show themselves.

The songs featured span decades and genres — including a ‘60s era Andy Williams hit to “Nonstop” off Drake’s 2018 smash Scorpion. But how does the show’s music supervisor Jen Malone curate the perfect soundtrack? It’s actually not rocket science: “Through Spotify, Soundcloud, Instagram, and Twitter. I just find the artists and read all the blogs,” she told W Magazine shortly after the pilot came out in June 2019. “I have a good network of friends who know what’s poppin’ and use playlists. I go into the rabbit holes and see what’s good.”

Nearly two full seasons and two special episodes later, the show has featured dozens of artists and even more songs — from up and coming acts to seasoned veterans. Find seven of Euphoria’s most memorable music moments below, listed from newest to oldest.

SPOILER ALERT: This rest of this post contains spoilers for season 2 of Euphoria.

Season 2, Episode 7 — Bonnie Tyler, “Holding Out For A Hero”

It proves difficult to choose a favorite part from Lexi’s (Maude Apatow) play that the show’s second season has been leading up to, but Ethan’s (Austin Abrams) flashy portrayal of Nate (Jacob Elordi) really brings the unexpected to the episode. With a crowd full of teenagers on edge that their lives outside the classroom are being exposed, the stage at East Highland’s auditorium shifts to a locker room filled with a shirtless, oiled-down football team donning tight gold spandex (à la Rocky Horror). Ethan is front and center as he performs choreographed hip thrusts and suggestive workout poses while lip syncing Bonnie Tyler’s 1985 hit. Though Nate walked out in the middle of the number, fans of the show will agree: Ethan “put his whole ETHUSSY into that performance.”

Season 2, Episode 4 — Labrinth, “I’m Tired”

As Rue (Zendaya) creeps closer and closer to hitting rock bottom, she gives in to the suitcase full of drugs hiding in her bedroom and swallows a few too many pills from one of the many orange bottles inside. In a dream sequence that takes place in a church, the series brings the show’s composer Labrinth on screen for the first time to perform his track “I’m Tired.” Rue walks down the aisle towards Labrinth, who offers her the hug she’s been needing as she continues lying about her sobriety to the people closest to her. She later imagines it’s her father embracing her, whose passing a few years earlier contributed to her drug addiction. As Labrinth sings “Now the tide is rolling in/ I ain’t tryna win/ Let it take me, let it take me” the audience can feel Rue slowly giving up.

Season 2, Episode 1 — Orville Peck, “Dead of Night”

Nate offers to give Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) a ride to the New Year’s Eve party and turns up an Orville Peck tune which perfectly foreshadows what’s to come for the pair’s relationship. The two gulp down beers and look at each other with fiery eyes, establishing a growing sexual tension — despite the fact that Nate is Cassie’s best friend’s on-again-off-again lover. No words are said between the two so the audience can hone in on the sultry sound and mysterious lyrics: “You say ‘go fast’ I say ‘hold on tight’/ In the dead of night, dead of night.”

Special Episode Part 2 — Lorde, “Liability”

In a special episode co-written by Hunter Schafer herself, the viewers gets a deeper peek into Jules’ upbringing. The episode begins with Jules sitting in a therapist’s office as a voice from offscreen asks her, “So where do you want to start?” The scene shifts into a close-up shot of Jules’ bright blue eye literally reflecting flashbacks of the last year she’s had at East Highland — mainly, moments with Rue, as Lorde’s piano-driven ballad plays in full and drives home her feelings for her: “So I guess I’ll go home/ Into the arms of the girl that I love/ The only love I haven’t screwed up/ She’s so hard to please, but she’s a forest fire.”

Season 1, Episode 8 — Labrinth & Zendaya, “All For Us”

After building a strong bond with Rue, Jules decides to run away from the suburbs, leaving a sober Rue feeling helpless. After a good sobriety streak, she relapses in the season 1 closer with a line of cocaine — sending her to an unexpected musical hallucination. The choreographed number brings her out of her bedroom and into the streets, where she drunkenly performs alongside a clan of maroon-hooded figures.

Season 1, Episode 5 — Billie Eilish, “You Should See Me In A Crown”

“There’s nothing more powerful than a fat girl who doesn’t give a f—k,” Kat (Barbie Ferreira) says in a narration right before the beat drops in Billie Eilish’s “You Should See Me In A Crown.” Earning serious coin as a masked camgirl, the high schooler takes her new-found confidence and brand-new look to the mall — a place she used to dread. Passersby can’t help but do a double take as she struts in a sheer red shirt and leather harness. The look even gets the attention of one passing beanie boy with piercings who asks her out to dinner.

Season 1, Episode 1 — Andy Williams, “Can’t Help Losing You” + Beyoncé, “Hold Up”

The teen drama’s pilot opens with a brief history on the central character, Rue, who grew up to a middle class family in the suburbs and started taking medication young after being diagnosed with OCD, ADD, anxiety and “possibly bipolar disorder, but she’s too young to tell,” according to her therapist. Viewers soon see her sniff her first line of cocaine on-screen, sending her into a daze as Andy Williams’ “Can’t Help Losing You” transforms into Beyoncé’s “Hold Up” (which actually samples the Williams’ 1963 track). Though the transition is quick, it’s significant — representing juxtaposition between the —ahem— euphoria the character feels when she’s high versus the fast-paced life of a high schooler.

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