How 'Euphoria' Is Bringing Back Popular Songs for Gen Z’s Entertainment

Lara Prakash

HBO’s hit TV show Euphoria is a fan favorite, especially within the Gen Z community. The show has gained traction due to its appealing visual aesthetics, trendy clothing and makeup, elite cast, and especially its music curation.

The show, created by Sam Levinson starring Zendaya, includes Labrinth’s original music in seasons one and two. Labrinth created popular anthems for all of the characters, which many people have used on TikTok when talking about the show or making trendy videos. Some of the most popular songs on Labrinth’s Spotify include “Still Don’t Know My Name” and “All For Us” – both created specifically for Euphoria’s season one. 

In season two, the show uses classic songs to mix with the new vibe of the show, which appeals to Gen Z both online and offline. Billy Swan’s “Don’t Be Cruel” plays while the show explains Fezco’s backstory in the season premiere. The first episode also includes 2pac’s “Hit ‘Em Up,” Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line,” and Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work.”

Throughout the new season thus far, fans on TikTok have made Rafferty’s “Right Down the Line” and Dan’s “Dirty Work” trending within the app. Gen Z has also used songs like Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me,” and Albert Hammond’s “It Never Rains In Southern California” throughout social media.

Claire Shepard, a Junior at Loyola Marymount University studying communications and women and gender studies says that watching this new season of Euphoria has introduced her to songs her parents and grandparents enjoy. One song, in particular, reminded her of her childhood memories with family.

“When Fezco and Lexi looked into each other’s eyes while ‘Stand By Me’ played in the background, I was reminded of memories of my sister and me and my dad all dancing around the living room or bouncing around in the car,” Shepard said to Sheesh. “I think the choice to go with older music this season is a great one!”

Asher Moskowitz, a Junior at New York University studying political science and history, watches Euphoria weekly and begins adding songs to his playlists after each episode. 

“What Euphoria is great at is including music I’ve never heard before and wanted to immediately Shazam, but also including more recognizable music and tailoring it to the situation,” Moscowitz said to Sheesh.

While watching the recent episode, Moscowitz enjoyed listening to “Holding Out For A Hero” by Bonnie Tyler. Tyler’s song was used to excite viewers about a particular plotline about Nate Jacobs.

“'Holding out for a Hero' playing during Lexi’s play has this fast-paced energy that builds suspense about Nate, but also after an episode let’s me view it in a whole new way because of the show’s plot,” Moscowitz said. “I even added it to my running playlist because it feels like discovering it for the first time.”

The music brings a sense of nostalgia for the Gen Z community, along with the cinematography. The mix of 70s and 80s blending of music makes each episode seem like Gen Z belongs in a different time. Yet, the duality between nostalgia and current music, created by Labyrinth, allows the show to appeal to everyone.

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