HBO’s fantastic ‘I May Destroy You’ has an equally great soundtrack (listen)
Michaela Coel's groundbreaking HBO series I May Destroy You just wrapped up its first -- only? -- season. Coel wrote all 12 episodes of the series and directed nine of them, and stars as Arabella, a young Londoner whose relatively carefree lifestyle and burgeoning literary career is turned inside out when she is slipped a date rape drug and sexually assaulted in a club. While the series deals frankly with the assault and its ramifications, I May Destroy You ignores easy categorization and expectations, and is at turns devastating, funny, heartbreaking, and frightening, while also giving time to Arabella's circle of friends. It's a unique, powerful show.
Also unique is the soundtrack, which is heavy on grime and British hip hop, as well as electronic dance music, R&B, jazz, and more. The soundtrack includes Tierra Whack, Little Simz, Blanco, Ghali, Janelle Monae/Grimes, The Comet is Coming, Burna Boy, Daft Punk, Rosalia, Arlo Parks, Abra, gospel group The Blackbyrds, and much much more. You can listen to the official I May Destroy You playlist below.
Vulture talked with I May Destroy You's music supervisors, Ciara Elwis and Matt Biffa, about helping Coel bring her vision to life, including discussion on a number of specific music cues, like Kojey Radical's "Eleven," which appears in the show's eighth episode during a tense, awkward scene involving Arabella's friend Kwame (Paapa Essiedu). “One of the things the show does very well is addressing really heavy topics in a context that makes it feel more accessible,” says Elwis. “That scene was actually the first thing that we worked on. When we had the first conversation, the first thing we did was work on finding a song that would be right for that moment, because they have a conversation about the N-word. I think Michaela has worked with Kojey [Radical] quite a few times before. I can’t actually remember which of us ended up suggesting that one, but that was the first track that we worked on for the series.”
Read the whole piece at Vulture, and you can watch the I May Destroy You trailer, below.