A critical, commercial, and cultural hit, Sex Education has been one of the biggest surprises of the last year. This Netflix Original follows the life of Otis (Asa Butterfield), son of esteemed sex therapist Dr. Jean F. Milburn (Gillian Anderson) as he tries to get through the tumultuous journey of high school…and who’s just so happened to have started a sex advice service with school wild child Maeve Wiley (Emma Mackey). Tackling everything you might expect from a coming-of-age story and more, the world of Sex Education is one that balances important topics with truthful comedy, bold characters, and an even bolder aesthetic.
However Sex Education’s aesthetic isn’t just found in its American-style school or exclusively retro cars, but it is heard through its music. And for the first time since the show’s debut in 2019, a compilation of 19 songs from seasons one and two of the Netflix show are to be released on vinyl, CD, and digital download as Sex Education Original Soundtrack. Written and performed by American indie musician Ezra Furman, the soundtrack features much-loved songs from Furman’s prior solo albums as well as new tracks written for the show.
Completely capturing the highs and lows of high-school life, this album has songs to dance to, cry to, maybe even do the deed to if you catch my meaning. The guitar-led tracks bristle with emotion and stand tall independently of the show. There is a warmth to the soundtrack, a sort of nostalgia that makes you want to re-live your 80s heydays even if, like me, you weren’t actually around back then.
Furman’s music is sunny. You need only listen to ‘My Zero’ or ‘Can I Sleep in Your Brain’ to feel it. Blending styles, Furman’s sound is reminiscent of Bob Dylan or New Order (albeit without the mass of electronics). Guitars meet strong drum beats and, on occasion, saxophones join the fray, likely contributed by Furman’s long-time collaborator Tim Sandusky, to create a real funky sound.
Put simply, the indistinct aesthetic of Sex Education, heavily inspired by John Hughes teen dramas from the 80s, is carried by Furman’s tracks. As bold and colourful as the shows visuals, with its assured style matching controlled palette of the costume and set designs, it’s enough to keep you coming back to the show alone.
“Your body is yours
at the end of the day.
And don't let the hateful
try and take it away.
We want to be free, yeah,
we go our own way.
And my body was made”.
Whether leaning towards pop, folk, or rock Furman’s songs are written with an understanding of alienation and awkwardness, drawing you in, comforting and cheering you. Furman’s lyrics fit with the themes of Sex Education without even trying, probably explain why this collaboration came about in the first place.
Sex Education OST will be released on April 24th