The second season of The Boys features a carefully-curated soundtrack, and every episode uses songs to great effect — either to acknowledge a character's emotional state, to establish the tone of the scene, or to make a sly metafictional wink to the audience regrading what just occurred. The dark satirical superhero series set the bar high for itself in this regard since The Boys season 1 had a soundtrack full of songs that added thematic and emotional depth to show's events.
The Boys is an Amazon Prime original series set in a world where superheroes exist — and are immoral, not to mention incredibly powerful, celebrities. The first season followed reluctant hero Hughie as he became embroiled in a plot to take down the Seven, the most powerful superhero team in existence. Soft-spoken Hughie is a lover, not a fighter, and speaks openly (and enthusiastically!) about his love of Billy Joel's music. Appropriately, season 1 featured the Bill Joel song "Big Shot."
Season 2 of The Boys continues this trend by including Billy Joel songs in significant character moments or Hughie. The first season also featured iconic English rock bands like The Clash and The Damned — likely as a nod to the source material, the comic series of the same name penned by Irish-born Garth Ennis. Season 2 (thus far) does the same, while using a broad range of songs to enhance the viewing experience.
Episode 1: "The Big Ride"
The Rolling Stones, "Sympathy for the Devil": plays in the scene in which Black Noir murders the new super terrorist Naqib — as well as some bystanders. The scene is loaded with religious symbolism, and the song choice is loaded with implication.
Erin Moriarty, "Never Truly Vanish": the Seven hero Starlight sings this message-laden original song at Translucent's funeral, capitalizing on her religious image (and using her powers for added visual effects). While it would be typical for Vought to have their hero lip sync, the recording is actually sung by Starlight's actress.
Billy Joel, "Pressure": plays in the background as Hughie and Starlight are getting ready for their secret meeting. The song nods to both parties being under incredible "pressure."
Episode 2: "Proper Preparation And Planning"
Don McLean, "American Pie" (marching band cover): when Butcher enters the Cicero's restaurant, a cover of "American Pie" is the ambient music in the background. By a fun coincidence, this is the same chain of the restaurant The Boys kept Translucent captive under in season 1.
Guizmo, "Indé-structible": the french hiphop track being listened to in the Haitian Kings' safehouse, where The Boys are hiding out. Guizmo was used in season 1 as well.
Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris": During The Deep's mushroom trip, he's listening to this song — perhaps it takes him back to his teen years?
Hatin Toney, "Day One": after A-Train's surprise appearance during the "Girls Get It Done" press tour, he and Starlight talk at a small party, presumably thrown to celebrate him waking up. The rap tune is playing at the get-together.
Billy Joel, "You're Only Human (Second Wind)": Hughie is watching the music video for the song and singing to himself while in his depressing, cramped, dark, and dingy sleeping area at the hideout.
Chace Crawford, Patton Oswalt, "You Are So Beautiful": The Deep and his gills sing the classic Joe Cocker song during the disgraced hero's drug trip.
Talking Heads, "Psycho Killer": after an episode of beta-male Hughie undermining the group's alpha, Butcher, the loss-cannon leader finally snaps, punching Hughie in the face; the song "Psycho Killer" plays as Hughie decides to follow Butcher into the van, symbolizing his acknowledgement that Butcher is in charge (and is a "psycho killer").
Episode 3: "Over The Hill With The Swords Of 1000 Men"
Billy Joel, "You're Only Human (Second Wind)": the episode opens with the music video again. This time, Hughie is listening to it while on a boat. The song plays briefly towards the end of the episode as Hughie is facing death. According to Amazon Prime's "behind-the-scenes" trivia for the episode, this is Hughie's favorite song.
Episode 4: "Nothing Like It In The World"
Kaaris, "Le Temps": another french hiphop song, this plays as Frenchie's prepping and snorting drugs.
Erin Moriarty, "Never Truly Vanish": the initial song heard on the car radio as Starlight, Hughie and Mother's Milk drive to Raleigh, North Carolina. Starlight is annoyed to hear her own insincere ballad on the radio, which is seemingly playing on every station. The moment serves as a reminder that she has been acting as a double agent for some time — a role that is starting to wear on her.
Billy Joel, "We Didn't Start The Fire": the song Starlight settles on when searching the car radio for music. She shares a moment singing along with Hughie. The song has infamously difficult lyrics to memorize.
Episode 5: "We Gotta Go Now"
Dead Tired, "Punks at the Gym": Butcher goes to a punk show to get wasted — and violent. The hardcore band playing at the bar is Dead Tired, performing as a cameo.
Ashot Philipp, Galina N. Ajvazjan, "Show Star": this song plays in the background as Kimiko attacks — and viciously kills — the unknown gangsters. Later, it's revealed she was hired to get rid of them.
"Hallelujah": Black Noir's ring tone is "Hallelujah," George Frideric Handel's most recognizable work. "Hallelujah" is the chorus of his oratorio Messiah.
Aerosmith, "Dream On": beginning during the final scene between Butcher, Hughie, and Judy, the song continues on — and climaxes — during Homelander and Stormfront's super-powered sexual encounter at the end of the episode.
Episode 6: "The Bloody Doors Off"
Sexion d'Assaut, "Casquette a L'envers": Another Frenchie scene features a french hiphop song playing in the background. This time, the scene is a flashback to eight years ago, and fills in the troubled man's history.
Idan Raichel, "Galgal Mistovev (Spinning Wheel)": This song is barely audible during the scene in which Frenchie removes Starlight's tracking device.
The Turtles, "Happy Together": After Homefront and Stormfront stop the petty criminal in an alley, this song plays together as the two fornicate next to the thief's corpse.
Christopher Lennertz, Untitled A-Train Anthem: Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie) shows A-Train a "lit" A-Train rap anthem, which the soon-to-be ex-Seven member responds to with markedly less enthusiasm. The man rapping in the video is actually The Boys music composer Christopher Lennertz. The full version of the song plays during the credits.
Enya, "Orinoco Flow": The soothing — yet mildly unsettling — Enya song plays during the meeting lunch between The Church of the Collective head Alastair Adana (Goran Visnjic) and the disgraced superheroes A-Train and The Deep.
Cynthia Fee, "Thank You For Being A Friend": Best remembered as The Golden Girls theme, this song plays during the episode's final moments, as unstable telekinetic Supe Cindy walks down the road, away from the Sage Grove compound.
Episodes of The Boys season 2 air weekly on Amazon Prime.