"I think popular music right now is really in an interesting place," says Malone, who has also worked as a music supervisor on Atlanta and The Wilds. "I think it’s missing some of the angst. I don’t think it’s as hard as it was. Especially in hip-hop. So I think the younger audience is feeling that, maybe. So that’s why we have shows like Yellowjackets, like Euphoria. I think Cruel Summer did a great job as well with their music. I’m such a fan of that show. I think their supervisor, Kevin (Edelman), did a great job. So maybe it’s because our audiences now are feeling that void of angst and anger. That PJ Harvey kind of feel, and Jane’s Addiction, Tupac even. We’re missing that now. And perhaps a lot of the music that we’re using in the shows (is) filling that void."
Jen Malone explains how her team finds music for Euphoria and Yellowjackets: “It’s a common misconception that a music supervisor’s job is to just sit around and listen to music all day,” says Malone. The first thing is to see whether any song, whether it plays in the background or somebody sings it, can be cleared. “You can have the most perfect song for the scene, but if you can’t clear it or you can’t afford it, you cannot use it," says Malone, calling it the "unsexy" part of the job. “We tackle all music issues that come up. And when you have shows like I work on, that are super heavy with music, they will always come up.” They then feed potential songs into a giant Spotify playlists and, working with labels and publishers, send them to video editors to try. Everything from the colors of the scene to the location to the way actors recite lines can change the music. “For example, you’re gonna see a lot more of Lexi and her story in this Euphoria season, and the Laura Les song she played in (Episode 2, called 'Haunted') was a nod to her character’s evolution," says Malone.
Malone and fellow Yellowjackets music supervisor Whitney Pilzer already have plans for Season 2 -- topped by Tori Amos: They tried every track from Amos' Little Earthquakes in Season 1. They're also interested in using Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, Björk, Screaming Trees, Morcheeba, Veruca Salt and Dramarama and Massive Attack (“The darkness and grittiness of their sound is so in alignment with the show,” says Pilzer). Malone adds: "We’re just so excited that our younger fans are finding this music. ”On other shows we do that with brand new or underground artists, but on this show we could do it with our favorite ‘90s music."