“Wholesome to the point of retro,” claimed the Guardian, “like a hug in TV form.” Based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novels of the same name, and adapted by Oseman herself, Heartstopper follows openly gay high-schooler Charlie (Joe Locke) and his relationship with classmate Nick (Kit Connor), the popular rugby player on whom Charlie develops a crush. Despite its title, it’s more of a heart warmer than anything else.
While the blossoming romance between teens Nick and Charlie may have sparked global phenomenon, the soundtrack to the series – consisting largely of alt-pop and featuring a number of queer artists – has captured worldwide attention almost as much. A subtle embodiment of so many young adults’ current Spotify playlists, its buoyant gentleness serves to be as animating and whimsical as the onscreen graphics laced throughout while stopping short of a caricature of modern youth.
Several of the tracks featured in the Netflix hit have received a remarkable boost following the series’ release in late April. The Official Charts Company announced last week that track ‘Want Me’ by London-based singer Baby Queen, aka Bella Latham, experienced a 553% change in chart sales in comparison with the previous week, while other featured artists including Shura, Caroline Polachek and Orla Gartland experienced their biggest weeks to date.
Artists included in the show’s soundtrack have embraced the sudden spotlight on their music. Gartland – whose 2019 single ‘Why Am I Like This?’ featured in the final scene of episode 2 – has taken to Instagram to share a host videos of herself singing her own nakedly reflective lyrics along with the scene, and held a livestreamed guitar lesson for fans of the show to play along themselves. Meanwhile, Latham was joined onstage at London’s Electric Ballroom by the Heartstopper cast to sing the newly penned single ‘Colours of You’.
With the show being viewed over 23.9 million hours (as per the Netflix system of data collection), it is no surprise so many of the artists featured in it have been catapulted into prominence. Heartstopper provides a much-needed mainstream platform for LGBTQ+ and modern independent artists like little else we’ve seen on our screens in recent years.