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Euphoria, a show that is mostly terrible, received an implausible number of Emmy nominations this morning: 16 for what was an uneven, even controversial season. Season 2 was such a mess, in fact, that I swore after its fart noise of a finale that I’d never watch the show again.
To be clear, I would never deny my beloved Zendaya—truly the HBO show’s biggest, most undeserved asset—a nod for her fantastic performance as the addiction-riddled Rue. I’ve been singing Martha Kelly’s praises since she was on Baskets. I would do anything for Colman Domingo. And I teared up alongside Sydney Sweeney and her mom when she found out she was nominated twice, for both intimidating the heck out of everyone in The White Lotus and being a chaos agent as Euphoria’s messiest girl, Cassie.
But for all the good performances that made this past season of Euphoria at least somewhat watchable, and apparently 16 Emmy nominations-worthy, the part that stuck with me most went criminally unrecognized.
“Yeh I Fuckin’ Did It” hasn’t left my head since the first time I heard it, at the end of the season’s second episode.
The song, which kicks in over a slow zoom into the face of Euphoria’s Indisputable Second-Worst Character Nate Jacobs (Jacob Elordi), immediately asserts itself as the theme song for self-interested badasses everywhere. Nate Jacobs’ dad, Euphoria’s Indisputable Worst Character Cal Jacobs (Eric Dane), has just asked Nate if he has a copy of the law-breaking sex tape featuring Cal and Nate’s underage classmate Jules (Hunter Schafer). Of course Nate does—but he’s not about to reveal that to Pop. Cue: the ferocious “Yeh I Fuckin’ Did It,” teasing out the life-ruining deeds Nate can’t wait to commit.
It’s one of Labrinth’s multiple contributions to the show’s soundtrack, dating back to Season 1, two of which received Emmy nominations for original song this year. (Labrinth and Zendaya won that same award in 2020 for “All For Us,” from the season finale.) But this earworm, Labrinth’s greatest work, somehow did not make the cut.
The propulsive trap-hop song burrowed itself into my mind because of its repetitive lyrics and trance-inducing beat. It’s simple stuff: Yeh, he fuckin’ did it! Yeh, he fuckin’ said it! Understand him! But Labrinth didn’t fuckin’ do it or fuckin’ say it just that one time. “Yeh I Fuckin’ Did It” goes on to pop up as a piece of score throughout the rest of the season, most memorably soundtracking one of the season’s most unforgettable scenes.
In Episode 5, the one that will surely nab Zendaya her second Emmy win for the show, Rue goes on a tear across town to avoid her mom, who just flushed all her drugs down the drain. (These were the same drugs that Rue got for free on a false promise to Martha Kelly’s drug dealer character, who threatened to traffic Rue as a sex slave if she didn’t eventually fork up the cash for them. Whoopsie!) As Rue runs and rolls and tumbles across yards and fences and pavement, Labrinth’s horror movie-like synth blares and pops behind her.
Rue’s runaway is a feat of adrenaline-pumping choreography, compounded by Zendaya’s 1,000-yard stare and intense commitment to Rue’s withdrawal-fearing freakout. And Labrinth’s lyrics, written from the perspective of a hardcore BAMF, make her obsessive and unearned confidence so stark. Rue-Rue wishes she could “tell that bitch to ride it like a Stally,” if she weren’t so wigged out as to barely be able to piss properly from all those drugs she’s been doing.
So killer is this scene that part of it was chosen as the clip to show during the Emmy nomination announcement ceremony. This means that when Euphoria was revealed to be among the Outstanding Drama Series nominees, the song that feted it was “Yeh I Fuckin’ Did It.” Of course it was—no song captures the show’s single-minded, chaotic nature better than this one.
I’ll concede that at least one of the songs that Labrinth did get nominated for, the gospel-tinged Zendaya duet “I’m Tired” (also the soundtrack to one of her drugged stupors), is well-deserving. It’s a pretty little thing that got prominent placement in Episode 4, with Labrinth himself appearing inside a church within Rue’s own imagination, holding her as he laments all that darkness she’s pent up inside of her.
But “Elliot’s Song?” The half-finished guitar slop that Elliot (Dominic Fike) plays for 15 minutes in the season finale, much to Twitter’s chagrin? That’s a custom-made-for-Spotify’s-Lorem-playlist, indie-pop-EP-B-side-sounding track if I ever heard one, and not in a good way—it’s straight garbage. And for that song to receive a nomination over any number of more deserving songs, let alone the show’s most iconic track this season? Indefensible.
Yeh, I fuckin’ said it! Understand me!