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Labrinth, ‘Elliot’s Song,’ and the Sound of Euphoria

The track performed by Dominic Fike’s Elliot in Euphoria’s Season 2 finale solidified the show’s immersive music as a central character.

SPOILER ALERT: This article mentions several plot elements from the second season of Euphoria.

Euphoria has nearly doubled its Season 1 per-episode viewership and now officially holds the title of HBO’s second-most-watched show since 2004, second only to Game of Thrones. But beyond all the record-breaking numbers, the show has received pointed praise for the ambitious, expansive soundtrack that powered Season 2.

The finale, which aired Feb. 27, saw Fezco’s (Angus Cloud) house raided and Lexi’s (Maude Apatow) play sabotaged by her, sister Cassie (Sydney Sweeney). Of course, it wouldn’t be a Euphoria episode without another heart-tugging Rue (Zendaya) monologue.

But all of these moments would take a back seat to Dominic Fike’s Elliot and his MTV Unplugged moment.

In his first acting role, the Florida-born musician joined the star-studded cast of Sam Levinson’s smash HBO series for its second season. Elliot’s story arc found him starting off as Rue’s partner-in-crime before exposing her drug use to Jules (Hunter Schafer), her mom Leslie (Nika King), and sister Gia (Storm Reid).

As Rue’s redemptive arc culminates in Sunday’s finale, she stops by Elliot’s place in hopes of forgiving him. Here marks the debut of “Elliot’s Song” — popularly known as “Little Star” before its official title was confirmed — interpolated between scenes as Elliot issues an acoustic apology to Rue in his bedroom. It’s a pure distillation of Fike’s portrayal of Elliot as an endearing sort of antagonist.

Now, as we wait for Season 3’s rumored 2024 arrival, let’s examine Elliot’s shining moment a bit more closely — both how it came together and music’s ubiquitous role in elevating Euphoria more broadly — ahead of the song’s official release this Friday.

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Dominic Fike Performs “Elliot’s Song,” Gets Mixed Social Media Reactions

Known mainly as a singer-songwriter with hits including 2018’s “3 Nights,” Fike was given the chance to channel his musical roots through the season. Even before serenading Rue with “Elliot’s Song,” the character was almost always strumming his guitar whenever they hung out.

The rendition was meant to be touching, but it received some occasionally hilarious Twitter backlash from fans who found the track to be ill-placed, as the scene came smack-dab in the middle of one of the most highly anticipated showdowns of Euphoria‘s entire run: Maddy (Alexa Demie) and Cassie’s big fight.

With so many plot holes left unfilled, a cross-section of social media critics wished that the time it took Elliot to play Rue his long-yet-“unfinished” song had been used to answer some of these nagging questions.

Fike even cracked a joke about it himself:

We timed it. The song took up three minutes and 28 seconds of the Season 2 finale.

Admittedly a little long-winded. It’s just facts.

Zendaya & Labrinth: The Masterminds Behind “Elliot’s Song”

“Elliot’s Song” may have been delivered by Fike, but it was an original song crafted by Zendaya and Labrinth, the series’ composer.

This isn’t the first time Zendaya and Labrinth have made magic, either. The two collaborated on “I’m Tired” earlier this season, as well as “All for Us,” which was set to a full-scale dance number representing Rue’s relapse to close out Season 1.

“I’ll go over and I’ll shoot some stuff, and then when I have a break, I’ll go over and hang out with Lab, because he has a studio now on the lot,” Zendaya said of working with the composer on the show’s soundtrack in the latest installment of HBO’s “Enter Euphoria” video series. “He’s finding new sounds to complement every emotion that we go through in the show.”

The “Mount Everest” singer was also featured in the episode himself, and he continued praising cast members Zendaya and Fike — singling out how much more is possible because of the latter’s ability to play guitar.

“Me and Zendaya, we’re actually sitting in each other’s spiritual energy and space, and we’re getting to inspire each other to make something fresh,” he explained. “The cast are not just acting now; they’re part of the music now. And I think that makes it even more special.”

Will the “Euphoria Effect” Hit “Elliot’s Song” When it Drops March 4?

The core of what makes Euphoria‘s soundtrack so special is the way it organically arose in-house with Labrinth and Zendaya. That has been made clear by scenes like Elliot’s, which have naturally become a driving force behind the show’s presentation of visceral emotions using a visually surreal style. Music, moody color palettes, and award-winning cinematography come together to form the aura of the show.

Though supported by a talented ensemble cast, Zendaya is ultimately the face of Euphoria’s provocative take on teenage life. But not to be underrated in this area is the influence of executive producer Drake.

Together, it has been the perfect recipe to pique the interest of artists and labels alike, as Euphoria is seen as the quintessential show that struck multimedia gold. A-listers have jumped at the opportunity to end up on the soundtrack, which has contributed to a boost in cross-platform engagement.

According to Spotify, streams of Sinead O’Connor’s 1987 single “Drink Before the War” increased by an incredible 26,900% after it was featured in Episode 5. And beyond that specific song, the service is home to more than 600,000 Euphoria-related playlists and counting.

And now, “Elliot’s Song” enters the fray.

Although only three years have passed since Euphoria‘s June 2019 premiere, history suggests that streaming numbers will surge once the shorter version of “Elliot’s Song” drops Friday, March 4.

But regardless of what the hard numbers turn out to be, the bar — both dramatically and musically — has officially been set astronomically high for Euphoria Season 3.

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