*SPOILERS AHEAD FOR EUPHORIA SEASON 2, EPISODE 1*
After an agonizing two-and-a-half years, and one annoying HBO Max crash, fans of the hit show Euphoria finally saw an end to their wait with the premiere of the show's long-awaited season 2. The show, shot this season on film, is a juggernaut full of complex characters whose growth and destruction are all wrapped up in glitter and smoky neon lights.
In addition, this season’s soundtrack continues the trend of arriving as a carefully curated vehicle to move the story forward sonically.
Billy Swan - "Don't Be Cruel"
The episode opens with an unexpected flashback of Fez’s childhood. His gunslinging grandmother marches into the strip club and shoots Fez’s father in the pelvis. When she walks back to the car, the line, “Baby, it’s just you I’m thinkin’ of,” plays on the radio as she tells a bruised and battered Fez that he’s going to live with her now, away from his cruel and abusive father.
2pac - "Hit ‘Em Up"
After a look into Fez's past, we get to see a rare lighthearted moment in this episode when Rue raps Tupac’s “Hit Em Up” in the back of the car on the way to make a drug deal with Fez and Ashtray. Historically, this track is one of the most memorable diss tracks of the East Coast-West Coast rivalry, filled with direct threats of violence. In the scene, it’s almost like Rue is hyping herself up or pretending to be chill about a situation that should otherwise be treated with total seriousness.
Gerry Rafferty - "Right Down the Line"
The song, which was featured in the official trailer, plays when Rue and Fez are told to strip by the drug dealers. “Right Down The Line” is a mellow and vulnerable song that describes how Gerry feels about his lover. Gerry suffered from alcoholism for most of his life, and in the song, he praises his lover for helping him through the dark times in his life, saying she is the only one he can “lean on.”
Steely Dan - "Dirty Work"
Rue and Fez are finally allowed to put their clothes back on, and Fez talks business with his new boss Laurie, a former school teacher turned drug dealer. He assures her that his brother Ash, who is his business partner, and Rue are people that can be trusted.
Labrinth - "Nate Growing Up"
The song plays when Nate bumps into a distraught Cassie outside the convenience store. As they both talk about their respective breakups, there’s a subtle intensity in the scene that makes viewers pray that the sweet Cassie gets away from nefarious Nate.
Orville Peck - "Dead of Night"
Unfortunately, Nate drives Cassie to the party. He speeds up to 100mph, and as a result, she spills her drink all over herself. “Dead Of Night” is about a whirlwind romance that ultimately ends in tragedy, foreshadowing what's to come.
Blaq Tuxedo - "Runway"
Maddy aggressively knocks on the bathroom door, not knowing Nate and Cassie are inside having sex. Cassie is filled with a cocktail of regret, fear, and anxiety as the realization of what she's done and the chaotic beats fill the room.
Tarik - "Madonna"
This song plays out while Nate interrogates McKay about his conversation with Cassie. The scene is… a lot.
Big Mali - "4,5,6"
This song scores a cute and wholesome moment between Fez and Lexi, as he asks for her phone number after an evening of low-key flirting on the couch.
Labrinth - "The Lake"
This instrumental track, which made many cameos throughout the episode, intertwines with the New Year’s Eve countdown. Eerie, shinty synths wail as a spotlight shines on the show’s main characters, each creating a striking, isolating portrait that juxtaposes the chaotic and exuberant energy of the party playing out in the background.
Cutting Crew - "(I Just) Died In Your Arms"
The song plays as the end credits roll, and viewers are left to process the final scene where Fez breaks a beer bottle over Nate’s head and then beats him bloody. The last line of the episode, said by Rue, encapsulates exactly what we were all thinking, "damn."