Super Soundtrack

Super Soundtrack: “Genera+ion” on HBO Max [Season 1: Part 2]

Season 1: Part 2 of the HBO Max original series “genera+ion” premiered Thursday, June 17, and this show features one of the most boundary-pushing and culturally relevant soundtracks of anything on TV right now.

“Super Soundtrack” is a series of features on doing a deep dive into all the songs featured in the top TV series and films breaking down how the songs add to the scene and give a little breakdown of the context of the music. Songwriters, producers, which album the song appears on, who originally recorded the song, which key lyrics were used in the project; it’s all fair game.

Season 1: Part 2 of the HBO Max original series Genera+ion premiered Thursday, June 17, and this show features one of the most boundary-pushing and culturally relevant soundtracks of anything on TV right now. Read on to hear a little about each of the songs…

Season 1 Episode 9″ “Deepfake”

“Cry” by Ashnikko featuring Grimes

The first song featured in the second half of this season, “Cry” plays as Riley is on her way into school and hanging up her latest project for photography. Ashnikko released this song on her 2020 mixtape Demidevil, and Grimes couldn’t be a more fitting feature. Combining pop, rock, rap, and metal into a discombobulating but simultaneously entertaining track. It started out as a joke with Ashnikko trying to write a song that resembled Evanescence, but she went with the sound and reached out to Grimes on Instagram about featuring on it.

“Tu Y Yo” by Raymix & Paulina Rubio

For lack of a better term, Riley needed to take a dip in the pool, and this song soundtracked the scene. This Mexican duet between Raymix and Paulina Rubio was released in 2020 as a single from the two artists. It was instantly met with positive reviews from Mexican press and critics before going on to be a hit on the charts in Mexico.

“Sun Bleached & Dried” by G-Eazy

G-Eazy’s 2020 project Everything’s Strange Here is criminally under appreciated, and this song is a prime example of that. He switched out his typical hip-hop style for a more stripped back, emotional side. If you played this to an unknowing fan, they probably wouldn’t recognize it was even G-Eazy. This song plays as Chester is driving home from a date.

“I Kissed A Boy” by Jupither

This song could not have played at a more fitting moment. We all know the Katy Perry song, “I Kissed A Girl,” but this is a gender-flipped version of the song recorded by Jupither. Compared to Katy Perry’s original version, this is much more experimental and alternative.

Season 1 Episode 10: “Built for Pleasure”

“Gimme Dat” by Lulu Be.

Fitting right into the rest of the show’s modern soundtrack, “Gimme Dat” uses its punchy bassline and shiny production from Lulu Be. combining to make an irresistible EDM banger. It is especially fitting in the context of this scene as Chester is scrolling through pictures of guys on a dating app.

“MODERATION” by Chloe Lilac

Adding to the teen angst that is consistent throughout the show, “MODERATION” by Chloe Lilac is a grungy song that deals with the struggles that come with being a teenager. The song plays as Chester, Nathan, and Riley are riding around together.

“Swag” by Peyton

While they’re riding around, they stop by to pick up Greta as “Swag” by Peyton soundtracks the scene. It’s a very modern and sleek R&B song that quite literally oozes with “Swag.”

“Story To Tell” by Ambar Lucid

They drop off Riley at her destination, and “Story To Tell” by Ambar Lucid is playing. The song was released on Lucid’s debut album, Garden of Lucid, last year. It’s one of those songs that sounds like three or four different songs mashed into one, which makes even more sense when you consider that she sings the lyrics in Spanglish, combining Spanish and English into a fluid alt-pop dreamscape.

“I Run This Club” by Cakes da Killa

I promise this entire episode isn’t just teens driving around, but this is another song featured during a scene set in the car. “I Run This Club” is exactly what I imagine Chester would have playing in his headphones while he’s walking down the hall. It’s this dark and grimy EDM song with endless synths and loops that Cakes da Killa released on his project, also titled I Run This Club, in 2013.

“Aquí Yo Mando” by Kali Uchis, Rico Nasty & Cazzu

Released in 2020 on Kali Chis’ album Sin Miedo (del Amor y Otros Demonios), “Aquí Yo Mando” was the project’s second single. The song has ties to another HBO series as it was first previewed during an episode of “Insecure” prior to its release in 2020. Its diversity is also representative of “genera+ion” with Colombian-American singer Kali Uchis, American rapper Rico Nasty, and Argentinian singer Cazzu joining forces.

“I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by Sleeping At Last

This song is actually a cover of a song originally recorded by The Proclaimers. It’s probably best known for being featured in Budweiser’s hit 2015 Super Bowl commercial with that adorable clydesdale and puppy. Not spoiling anything, but it still carries that sweet sentiment as it plays in “genera+ion” while a passage from a novel is being read in the final scene of this episode.

“Guadalupe (Edit)” by Angelica Garcia

As the credits roll, “Guadalupe (Edit)” by Angelica Garcia starts to play. The song appears on her 2020 project, Cha Cha Palace.

Season 1 Episode 11: “Absolute Zero”

“Follow You” by Pretty Hectic

This song plays as the title card appears in the episode. It has appeared on the soundtrack for other shows including “Pretty Little Liars” and “Walker” and is one of the band’s most popular songs.

“skyline, be mine” by Shura

During a steamy scene, this song serves as the soundtrack. Its lyrics might be relatively sparse considering that the song is over five minutes total on the album version, but the snippet featured in the show really fit the intimacy of the situation.

“Johnny” by Tei Shei

Tei Shei’s 2020 track “Johnny” plays during a scene taking place in Greta’s house while in the kitchen making coffee. It appeared on her 2020 EP Die 4 Ur Love.

“Pelo Suelto” by Gloria Trevi

Throwing it back to 1991, Gloria Trevi’s “Pelo Suelto” plays on the radio during a dinner scene at Greta’s house. The group promptly starts dancing around the living room, and it’s just a fun-hearted moment. The song might even stand out to people since it’s considerably older than most of the soundtrack for this show.

“Echo Emotions” by Ruben Dawnson

While Riley is on the way home, “Echo Emotions” by Ruben Dawnson plays. It has a very Frank Ocean vibe, which in other words says it’s perfect for Genera+ion. It was released on Dawnson’s 2020 EP also titled Echo Emotions.

“Nobody Know” by CHAII

The end credits roll on the first week’s batch of episodes, and “Nobody Know” by CHAI begins playing. It’s track 2 on her 2020 Lightswitch EP.

Season 1 Episode 12: “The High Priestess”

“Womxn” by Låpsley

The episode opens with this song playing. Låpsley released the song as a single in February 2020 before releasing the rest of the record Through Water in March 2020. She wrote the song hypothetically from a place in the future that was much more positive, and she said it’s about having trust in the passage of time.

“Braids tuh’da flo(w)” by Leikeli47

As the title card appears onscreen, this song plays. Leikeli47 released “Braids tuh’da flo(w)” as track 13 on their 2017 album Wash & Set. The trap track celebrates Black culture, and Black women specifically, through the expression and creativity reflected in their braids.

“might bang, might not” by Little Simz

While we watch a smoking session go down at the witch-themed slumber party, Little Simz’s 2020 song “might bang, might not” soundtracks the scene. Featured on her Drop 6 EP, the song and the rest of the independently-released project was entirely self-produced by Little Simz.

“Do U Miss Me” by Becky and the Birds

Becky and the Birds’ 2020 track “Do U Miss Me” plays in the background while Arianna talks to her dads in her bedroom. The Swedish singer-songwriter released her debut EP in 2018, but “Do U Miss Me” appears on her 2020 project titled Trasslig. The ballad offers a sweet tone that compliments the father-father-daughter scene really well.

“cat scratch” by Dua Saleh

The end credits start to roll, and Dua Saleh’s “cat scratch” begins to play. Sales released the song on her ROSETTA EP in June 2020. The EP’s title comes from Sister Rosetta Tharpe. The bass takes over the song, and coming in at less than two minutes, serves the credits well.

Season 1 Episode 13: “There’s Something About Hamburger Mary’s”

“Oh Happy Day” by The Edwin Hawkins Singers

The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ 1967 recording of “Oh Happy Day” plays as the title card appears for Episode 13. The gospel song was written by Edwin Hawkins and is based on an 18th-century hymn. The Edwin Hawkins Singers’ recording went on to be an international hit in 1969 and has become a staple in gospel music.

“I Am America” by Shea Diamond

In the dressing room at the fundraiser for LGBT youth suicide prevention, Greta’s aunt says she has a superstition that her playlist has to be played uninterrupted in a very particular order while preparing for the show. Shea Diamond’s “I Am America” is the specific song that she refuses to pause or turn down. The track was actually written by Justin Tranter, who is responsible for helping craft hit songs by Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Julia Michaels, Kesha, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, and many others. Shea Diamond’s message in “I Am America” packs an even tougher punch when you consider that the lyrics are being sung by a black trans woman. The song also served as the theme song for HBO’s “We’re Here” drag docuseries.

“Ripe” by FLAVIA

While Greta has a conversation and is talking to Riley, LA-based artist FLAVIA’s song “Ripe” soundtracks the scene. She released the single in January 2021.

“You Gotta Be” sung by Martha Plimpton

In a surprising turn of events, Martha Plimpton’s character Megan gets up on stage and sings a song while dedicating the performance to her son Nathan (played by Aly Schlesinger) at the LGBT youth suicide prevention event. It’s definitely a memorable scene. The song was originally recorded by Des’ree and released by the British R&B/soul singer in 1994 before becoming a hit in numerous countries around the world. Maybe Martha Plimpton’s rendition will go on to do the same.


Season 1 Episode 14: “Click Whirr”

“Crazy House” by Princess Nokia

Princess Nokia’s song “Crazy House” plays during an equally “crazy” scene where Riley takes over as an Uber driver and drives a stranger’s car (with him in it) to school. The song was released on Princess Nokia’s 2020 project, Everything Sucks, which was actually released simultaneously along with another album of hers titled Everything Is Beautiful. The two projects mirrored each other thematically, with one being soulful and rhythmic, another more bold and aggressive.

“Strong“ by London Grammar

While Chester and Riley are driving, this song plays into the end credits. London Grammar released “Strong” as a single in 2013 before it appeared on their subsequent album If You Wait. The track went on to become their highest charting single to date in the UK.

Season 1 Episode 15: “L’Amour”

“Can’t Fight This Feeling” by REO Speedwagon

The REO Speedwagon hit soundtracks Episode 15’s opening scene, in which Chester, Bo, and Nathan visit a smash room to destroy TVs, shattering glass, and throwing water balloons. The song was released on REO Speedwagon’s 1984 album, Wheels Are Turnin’, and was one of the groups biggest hit singles.

“More Like This” by Ric Wilson & Terrace Martin

After the title card appears, and while Chester and Bo share an intimate moment together in the car, Ric Wilson and Terrace Martin’s “More Like This” is playing. They released the song in 2020 on their joint project, They Call Me Disco. 

“One More” by SG Lewis & Nile Rodgers

SG Lewis and Nile Rodgers’ collaboration, “One More,” plays as Chester and Bo arrive to their dinner date. Very much fitting into the ‘70s/disco reminiscent vibe that has started regaining popularity in mainstream music for the last couple of years, “One More” appears on Lewis’ 2021 album times. 

“Cuanto Más Me Rindo” by Generación 12

While Nathan’s dad is taking pictures of all the teenagers at the party, this song plays. “Cuanto Más Me Rindo” by Generación 12 was released in 2018 on their album Todo Lo Haces Nuevo. 

“Toi Et Moi” by Pamela Clay

As the party at Nathan’s house continues, this song plays. Pamela Clay, in addition to being a singer, also acted in a handful of movies and TV series.

“Longstemps” by Constance Verluca

The end credits for season 1’s penultimate episode are soundtracked by Constance Verluca’s song “Longstemps.” Constance Verluca is a French pop singer, so her style perfectly suited the party’s theme. She released “Longstemps” as the title track of her 2019 album.

Season 1 Episode 16: “V-Day”

“What’s Your Pleasure (Tobtok Remix)” by Jessie Ware

The season finale opens during a scene on the party bus with everyone dancing on the way to the Valentine’s Day party. The Tobtok Remix of Jessie Ware’s latest album title track “What’s Your Pleasure” plays while the characters dance around the bus.

“Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)” by Rina Sawayama

This episode takes place at a party, so it’s packed full of music top to bottom. At the Valentine’s party, “Comme Des Garçons (Like The Boys)” by Rina Sawayama (off her widely acclaimed 2020 album SAWAYAMA) soundtracks the spectacle.

“Tina Turnup” by Billie Dean Thomas & Rilla Force

It’s a party, so it’s clearly time to “turnup.” Fitting to play “Tina Turnup” by Billie Dean Thomas and Rilla Force. After this episode, you’ll be adding it to your party playlist, too.

“Wicked” by lau.ra featuring Eliza Legzdina

Chester takes a dip in the pool while this song plays. This electronic song was released in 2020, and it’s a bop.

“Say It” by Choomba featuring LP Giobbi & LP Giobbi

After being in the pool, Chester takes a show with this song playing. Choomba, Blush’ko, snd LP Giobbi actually released “Say It” earlier this year in February.

“Breaking Apart” by Caroline Kingsbury

While Riley and Greta are talking, we hear Caroline Kingsbury’s song, “Breaking Apart.” Kingsbury released the song on her phenomenal new album, Heaven’s Just a Fligh, recently released in April.

“Crying at CVS” by Kilder & Alice Longyu Zhao

Delilah cuts the music at the poolside to make an announcement, and when she turns it back on, “Crying at CVS” plays.

“Too Lost To Be Found” by Frederico Albanese & Tara Nome Doyle

There’s a notable shift in the music when this Frederick Albanese and Tara Nome Doyle songs pops up on the soundtrack. It plays as some of the guests start to leave the party.

“Young” by Sam Smith

I feel like if you were to encapsulate this entire season into one song, “Young” by Sam Smith would be that song. So I thought it was genius to include the song here. (Especially during the end credits after we’ve just witnessed a scene leaving us staring at the screen hanging on for more.)

Season one of Genera+ion is now streaming on HBO Max.


3 replies on “Super Soundtrack: “Genera+ion” on HBO Max [Season 1: Part 2]”

[…] I had the chance to talk to the music supervisors for Genera+ion, Maggie Phillips and Andrew Brady, about their approach to curating the soundtrack for the HBO Max series. For the last few weeks, I have been keeping up with all of the songs featured in the show as part of… […]


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