“I’m On Top of The World”: A Review of Labrinth’s Euphoria Soundtrack

Photo Credits: HBO

Euphoria; arguably one of the most watched shows in 2019. The HBO show, focusing on the various struggles teenagers experience in high school, quickly rose to glory, for its uniqueness and originality. While the makeup and costume design alone captivated audiences, the plot and characters were a breath of fresh air from the too often cliche, stereotype filled high school shows. Yes, some details were a bit over the top, in comparison to real high school. Regardless, the show truly makes the fictional characters appear human – they would fit in perfectly at present day high schools. 

Photo Credits: HBO

Since the show is incredibly successful and magnificent in its design and storylines, it is no surprise that the soundtrack is equally, if not more, amazing. Audiences can easily agree with this, as it has been one of the most anticipated albums of the Fall season. The album, released on October 4, 2019, was an instant hit, hitting 25 on the iTunes Album charts, in less than 24 hours. 

Photo Credits: Billboard

The album, that is best described as a dramatic whirlwind of sounds and sensations, features the work of Labrinth, a British singer, songwriter, rapper and record producer. Fresh out of supergroup “LSD” – a project he worked on with Sia and Diplo – Labrinth was brought on as the lead composer for the show, working closely with the show’s co-producer Drake and the series creator Sam Levinson. Within the album, Labrinth creates an intertwined bond within the realm of music and reality, tailoring each song to represent the scene at hand. His attention to cinematic and music detail is so pristine, you will find yourself remembering the exact moment each song was played in the show. 

Photo Credits: LSD

While most of the album’s success is credited to the electronic, pop-esque background tracks, many of the tracks include Labrinth’s own voice, singing to the heartbroken, exhausted characters of the show. “Still Don’t Know My Name” speaks to those who feel invisible in the eyes of loved ones – that despite being in love, they still feel unknown. While it is a fairly short song, with a runtime of only 2:33, it showcases the powerful abilities of Labrinth. Specifically, it demonstrates his ability to convey forceful, emotional moments in a small amount of lyrics. Labrinth also plays with the emotions of listeners within tracks, such as “McKay & Cassie”. This track, if just listening to the music, conveys an upbeat, old fashioned vibe – very different from the other tracks on the album. Yet, the lyrics, much like the track’s titular couple, underscore notions of a toxic devotion, and a willingness to hurt (the word hurt is sung 35 times at the end of the song). Again, this shows the powerful artistry of Labrinth’s talents, as he purposefully tailors the personality of the song to match that of the characters. Other notable tracks that display this are “When I R.I.P.”, “WTF Are We Talking For”, and “Forever”. 

Photo Credits: Euphoria

While the soundtrack contains many of the hit songs from the series, the two biggest hits are actually not included, since they were released as singles. “Mt. Everest”, which features the title of this article, is a darker track, regardless of Labrinth’s electronic interludes. Within the song, Labrinth compares himself to the world’s tallest things (e.g. Mt. Everest, Burj Dubai, etcetera), proving that they “ain’t got sh*t on me”. In other words, Labrinth is making the comparison saying that he’s bigger than the tallest building because he’s on top of the world. The song is meant to demonstrate one’s extension of power, and his horrific willingness to damage things, regardless of his connection to them. If you’ve seen the show, you probably can guess who this is connected to, but I won’t spoil that.

Photo Credits: Euphoria

The song, however, that takes the cake for this series is “All For Us”, a collaboration between Labrinth and Zendaya, the show’s lead actress. This song, unlike the other tracks, was featured at the end of the Season One Finale, where Rue (Zendaya) is seen singing and dancing among a gospel chorus. While it may seem a bit misplaced, as there had been no prior musical moments in the show, the lyrics perfectly close up the season. It takes a bit of listening, but Labrinth carefully wrote lyrics that underlined characteristics about each character, along Rue’s journey to recovery. For example, “dreamers are selfish” points to Jules (Hunter Schafer), “do it for my homegrowns” points to her sister Gia (Storm Reid) and her childhood best friend Lexi (Maude Apatow), etcetera. Regardless, the song is an emotional battle about love and the power it has within a person. Even without knowing Rue’s journey, it speaks to all audiences, emphasizing that we all will do anything for love, no matter the consequences or the pain.

We will do it all for love.

Photo Credits: Euphoria

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