It is rare that a debut soundtrack arrives with this much aplomb, but Labrinth’s soundtrack to Euphoria is fearless and exploratory, characterising the show with a wide sonic soundscape. The music of the show is integral to its success, and to its incredible portrayal of the trappings of growing up, and even isolated on its own, it holds up as a truly great record.
Labrinth’s voice is one of the keys to the album: it is used both to deliver lyrics, but also as a unique instrument of his own, giving Euphoria its own distinct sound. The album does not exist as instrumental-only: it is full of bold lyrics, the nuance of which we can appreciate now that it’s set apart from the show. In ‘Still Don’t Know My Name’, he makes various references to gods and sings “priests, popes, and preachers would tell me I did it wrong.” One doesn’t need to have seen the show to appreciate this bold hymn to unrequited love.
Standout tracks include the mood-setting ‘Forever’ (showing all the facets of Labrinth’s voice) and ‘When I R.I.P.’ (the anthem of the main character Rue and her drug addiction which she struggles with throughout the series). Perhaps, its grandest moment is the ten-minute long ‘Euphoria Funfair’, a circus-like piece that ramps up a sense of continual tension. Its bold drums set up a sense of striking unease, and though it sets apart in its sound from the other tracks of the album, it is no less wonderful. If there’s one thing to be picked at, though, it’s the classic flaw of all soundtrack albums – it’s accompaniment to another piece of media. There are a few tracks here that feel somewhat like filler, certainly due to the fact that they’re intended atmospherically for the show. At just over an hour’s runtime, there are a few of these here – but with most tracks boasting unique sounds, oftentimes even the filler is interesting. This album also lacks one of Euphoria’s standout tracks, ‘All For Us’, which was released separately and its absence makes me feel as if the album’s full power is withheld. That being said, however, Euphoria’s soundtrack is a brilliant debut and hopefully an exciting prelude to the music of the next season.