By Syd Smith
Album: Euphoria (Original Score from the HBO Series)
Release Date: October 4, 2019
Welcome to the mind of Labrinth, a man of many genres who left me lost asking if this soundtrack is another one off new genre experiment. Born Timothy Lee McKenzie, the artist continues his emergence from the shadows, producing alongside pop heavyweights like Rihanna, Ed Sheeran and The Weeknd to Sia, Diplo and Beyonce this year, yet his name for most listeners is unrecognizable to this date.
He has yet to follow up his solo debut 2012 album Electronic Earth with a future album that could take him to the next level of fame. Maybe creating the soundtrack for the A24 series “Euphoria” is the stepping stone he is looking for among the commercial roles he has done to finally stand alone as a respected artist. Is he drawing in a certain type of audience for his next project, in this case the artsy-fartsy young type who enjoy going to see A24 indie, art-house production movies like “Good Time?”
I honestly thought I was going to get something along the lines of the “Good Time” soundtrack after watching the “Euphoria” trailer, but you should never judge a movie by its trailer. Lab’s style is too young and poppy in comparison to Oneohtrix Point Never’s work on “Good Time.” The music he creates comes closer to the A24 Climax soundtrack, still ambient and experimental like Oneohtrix’s but leans more on the EDM side. Each track is like a new piece of candy, the sweetness and sugar rush only lasts for a handful of seconds and you will ask yourself why do I keep on eating this? Why can’t I stop?
The answer can be found in the central theme in the A24 Degrassi-like series: chasing feelings of euphoria in order to escape one’s life can be addicting, especially for today’s generation as these escapes become more acceptable and more available to them. But the end result is an itch for more because like eating a pillowcase of Halloween candy there is no substance to these common escapes which are portrayed in “Euphoria.”
There are a lot of great tracks used throughout the series but I’d recommend checking out Labrinth’s hour-long curation first. The tracks are a mix of highs and lows. Some moments the track being chaotic in composition like a collage of confetti to a sudden smash cut to a minimal and lighter than newsprint atmosphere to reflect the feelings of euphoria. The ones that stand out the most to me not including the trailer’s “All For Us” are “Nate Growing Up,” “When I R.I.P.,” “WTF Are We Talking For,” “Still Don’t Know My Name,” “Formula,” “Demanding Excellence,” “Maddy’s Story” and “Forever.”
Featured image via A24.