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The night Euphoria season 2 premiered on HBO, music supervisor Jen Malone felt seen. Because as viewers were reacting to plot twists, conflicts, and outfits in episode 1, they were also tweeting about the song choices—nearly 40 of them—with the same enthusiasm.
“The memes were amazing. And so right-on,” she tells ELLE.com, laughing. Malone estimates that there were 37 songs—“or something crazy, I lost count”—in season 2 episode 1, far surpassing the season 1 record of 25 to 27 songs per episode. There’s much more sourced music this time around (in addition to new pieces of original score by Labrinth), and song choices span genres and decades, from jazz to ‘80s pop, from 2Pac to Judy Garland. Assembling such a track list was no small feat.
Working with hundreds of songs, the Euphoria team faced an intriguing challenge: Maintain “that Euphoria feel,” Malone explains, but without repeating the musical choices they'd made in the first season. As with all things Euphoria, the soundtrack starts with showrunner Sam Levinson. Often he’ll write song choices directly into the script “because when he's writing, he listens to music, and music is just so important to him anyway,” Malone says. His picks then become “a blueprint of what he was thinking for either the episode or the scene.” Malone also worked closely with the film editors, who have “such incredible taste,” to further build a repertoire.
“We do work really, really, really hard on the show—myself and my team of amazing women, and then our editors are just brilliant, and then obviously Sam, just having this vision that we get to be a part of,” Malone says.
As for whether the show will include any songs by Dominic Fike, the musician playing Elliot this season, Malone teases: “No spoilers.”
Below, we’re rounding up every single song from season 2, with added commentary from Malone. Check back as each episode drops for more tracks.
“My Lovin’ (You're Never Gonna Get It)” by En Vogue
“Stand by Me” by Ben E. King
“I'll Be There For You / You're All I Need To Get By” by Method Man feat. Mary J. Blige
“Quiet, the Winter Harbor” by Mazzy Star
“Peace Piece” by Bill Evans
“We All Knew” by Labrinth
“Understand Me” by Labrinth
“What’s Up” by Labrinth
“Fever” by Sharon Cash
“What a Fool Believes” by The Doobie Brothers
“It Never Rains in Southern California” by Albert Hammond
“I’ll Be Here in the Morning” by Townes Van Zandt
“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child” by Mahalia Jackson
“Devil Inside” by INXS
“I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar” by Jonathan Richman
“This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan
“trademark usa” by Baby Keem
“Heartbeat” by Red 7
“Vitamin C” by Can
“Bailala” by Chika Di
“Don’t Cha” by Pussycat Dolls
“New Sensation” by INXS
“Method of Modern Love’ by Daryl Hall & John Oates
“Drink Before the War” by Sinéad O’Connor
This song, which plays when Cal returns to in the bar from his youth and Cassie is breaking down at Maddy's party, was scripted in by Levinson. Luckily, Malone was such a big O’Connor fan that it was a “moment of synergy.”
“It's one of my favorite moments in the show by far,” she says. “It is so emotional. When Cal is dancing with the guy in the bar and the guy transforms into Derek and he says, ‘I thought I lost you,’ it’s like, oh my God, I can't believe I'm feeling for this monster.” She adds, “It was breathtaking, there was no other song that could possibly be put in this scene.”
“Love Like This” by Faith Evans
“True” by Spandau Ballet
“Life at the Outpost” by SKATT BROS
“Need You Tonight” by INXS
Labrinth’s Church Scene
When Rue gets high in one scene, she imagines walking into a church where Labrinth, the musician who’s been composing Euphoria’s original score, is singing powerfully at the altar. The song isn’t streaming yet, but it’s an original he wrote for this episode. Funnily enough, Labrinth wasn’t always supposed to appear on screen. “Originally, it was scripted in just as a gospel singer,” Malone explains. “And there was just a lot of discussions about what we were gonna do with this—that was one of the last scenes that we shot and [our shooting] schedule’s kind of all over the place.
“But obviously Lab was totally game and he just wrote this insane, beautiful song that’s just very Labrinth, which means, very much Euphoria. And we were all on set that day and it was very moving for everybody, not [only] for the crew, but also all of the extras in the church. It was one of those special moments.”
“Mystify” by INXS
Season 2, episode 3 “is by far one of my favorite episodes of television, especially with [its] music because the New Wave, late ’80s, early ’90s is my jam right now,” Malone says. If you're watching a scene with Cal, Nate's dad, you're likely to catch a hit from this era in the background—in particular, songs from INXS, which would be “such a prominent musical voice” for the young version of the character. Malone says she collaborated with Euphoria editors Laura Zempel and Julio C. Perez IV to create the retro feel of Young Cal's scenes.
“I would make bins of songs that I think would work in this whole thing, because there's a lot of it, and then Laura would just kind of play, putting them up to picture and just really finding the right one,” she says.
“The Look” by Roxette
“Chains of Love (Remix)” by Erasure
“Lips Like Sugar” by Echo & The Bunnymen
“She Sells Sanctuary” by The Cult
“It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over” by Lenny Kravitz
“I Can Dream About You” by Dan Hartman
“Never Tear Us Apart” by INXS
“Call Me Irresponsible” by Bobby Darin
“Effigy (I Am Not An)” by Ministry
Malone took particular pleasure in sourcing unexpected tracks from Roxette, Dan Hartman, and even early-era Ministry. “It's such a short spot, but it was like, I've always wanted to put in one of Ministry's earliest songs that now sounds nothing like it,” she says. She adds, “As a music supervisor, when the genre that the director wants to go in, or that the showrunner wants to go in, happens to be like your favorite music? It's a gift.”
“Como La Flor” by Selena
“Emotions” by Brenda Lee
“Gangsta Nation” by Westside Connection feat. Nate Dogg
“If” by Jo Stafford
“Watercolor Eyes” by Lana Del Rey
A brand new song from Lana Del Rey debuts in the episode 3 credits. “That happened through our label partner, Interscope Records, and them having songs that are unreleased that are potential soundtrack,” Malone explains. “We work very closely with them. So they brought this to us.”
“Live or Die” by Noah Cyrus & Lil Xan
“Come Rain or Come Shine” by Judy Garland
This song by Judy Garland plays in a fun montage where Maddy is trying on her babysitting client’s clothes. There were a number of musical options tossed around for that scene, Malone says, but the team ultimately went with a track chosen by Euphoria editor Aaron Butler. “Maddy can sometimes be a hard character to pin down [musically], because we don't want it to be just all aggressive and, like, anger-fueled,” she says. In this instance, the crew went with a tribute to Old Hollywood glamour instead.
“Do What You Want, Be What You Are” by Hall & Oates
“Outlast” by Mello Music Group, Dueling Experts, Joell Ortiz, Apollo Brown
“Haunted” by Laura Les
“Right Down the Line” by Gerry Rafferty
“She Brings the Rain” by Can
“Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison
“Blue Monk” by Thelonious Monk & Percy Heat & Art Blakey
The song Ali plays for Rue in the car when he drives her home was chosen by Levinson and written into the script. The jazz influence of Malcolm & Marie, which he directed and Malone also worked on, was evident here. “We did use a lot of that jazz in Malcolm & Marie, which I think was kind of cool,” Malone says. “But that was something that was scripted in from day one. That's Sam. And obviously...having that music is just so perfect for Ali and to have him kind of be introducing it to Rue.”
“Understand Me” by Labrinth
“Don't Be Cruel” by Billy Swan
The first episode of season 2 “will always hold a special place in my heart because it's very much a victory of keeping on, of clearing all that music,” Malone says. The breadth of songs is evident even in the first few minutes of the episode, where Fez’s grandmother’s backstory is introduced in what feels like its own short film. Those scenes posed a challenge, especially when it came to working with older music.
“We did use a lot of catalog music, so you're dealing with estates and their legacies,” Malone explains. “It was tough to get approvals for that first song.” When a Billy Swan song surfaced as an option, Malone had to work with Elvis Presley’s estate to get approval to use it. “We’re just really excited that that they were open because it's a very, very, very dicey scene,” she says, hinting to the nudity, sex, drugs, violence, and guns in the opening sequence.
“Look at Grandma” by Bo Diddley
“Jump into the Fire” by Harry Nilsson
“Think (Instrumental)” by Curtis Mayfield
“Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic” by Isaac Hayes
“I Want Action” by Poison
“I Walk on Gilded Splinters” by Johnny Jenkins
“Who Am I” by The O'Jays
“Hit ‘Em Up” by 2Pac feat. Outlawz
Rue raps this song word-for-word in the car with Fez and Ash, which was a treat for older viewers but raised questions about whether today’s high schoolers are really listening to gems from the ’90s.
When asked why the music team chose to highlight 2Pac as opposed to, say, Roddy Ricch, Malone says, “It's really all about Sam and his vision and what he wants the musical palette to be. And then my job as a music supervisor is to help realize that. So he definitely wanted the 2Pac [song], and then it was my job to work with the Tupac [Shakur] estate, who are really aware of how they want his music used, and the type of scene, and what that song is, what that song is doing in the scene.”
The estate was “absolutely lovely and supportive, and they love Zendaya, and [Euphoria] was something that he would've wanted his music to be a part of,” Malone adds. But from the start, “that's what song [Levinson] wanted Rue to be singing in that scene.”
“Right Down the Line” by Gerry Rafferty
“Dirty Work” by Steely Dan
“Hypnotize” by The Notorious B.I.G.
“Who's That” by Virus Syndicate feat. Broad Rush
“Nate Growing Up” by Labrinth
“Dead of Night” by Orville Peck
“Runway” by Blaq Tuxedo
“Back That Azz Up” by Juvenile
“Mr. Bangbadaboom” by Thrillah
“DIRT” by B.o.B.
“Party Up” by DMX
“Madonna” by Tarik
“Blow the Whistle” by TOO $HORT
The late ’90s, early-aughts hip-hop playlist at the New Year’s Eve party was also, of course, influenced by Levinson. “His vision was to have this, you know, more old-school sound in the show because…it’s a lot of his favorite music and our favorite music and the music that we grew up on,” Malone says.
“(I Just) Died in Your Arms” by Cutting Crew
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