Release Date: Aug 12, 2016
Record label: Lakeshore Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Stage & Screen
It's no secret that Stranger Things has been receiving widespread acclaim. It also seems to have been a while since a series soundtrack has received such a grand if not equal amount of praise as its visual counterpart. Composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (known for being members of synth outfit S U R V I V E) landed the job after the show's producers used some of their tracks as temp pieces and the duo responded with a series of musical vignettes designed for the show itself.
Stranger Things isn’t so much a new series on Netflix about a lost boy and the supernatural circumstances surrounding his disappearance, but rather a full-blown cultural phenomenon. Like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad before it, Stranger Things is a show that people want to talk about, critique, and dissect. Part of the allure is assuredly the nostalgia: a small town in the 1980s, E.T., Goonies, Alien, The Thing.
If you have clicked onto this without having watched Netflix's hit tv series Stranger Things then what the hell are you doing here? Go watch it! It is a phenomenal piece of film-making which pays very heavy lip-service to some of the best films of the Eighties while presented from a postmodern 2016 lense. It manages to be distinctly familiar and original at the same time in its style and presentation, while the characters and child-actors especially are superbly crafted. One of the most notable aspects of the show, which many viewers have reflected upon, is its soundtrack.
You could occupy a whole afternoon arguing about whether the Netflix series “Stranger Things” marks the jump-the-shark moment for the ’80s fetishization that’s been building for the past half-decade, or whether it represents the trend’s creative peak. Does the show cleverly re-invent the ’80s film touchstones that directors Matt and Ross Duffer wear on their sleeve? Or is their riffing on Steven Spielberg, Stephen King, George Lucas, and John Carpenter just artistic cannibalism? Is it time to adjust the tracking-control in our minds and stop looking at the world through VCR-tinted glasses? Surprisingly, these question are pretty much moot when it comes to the first installment of the “Stranger Things” soundtrack. (The forthcoming Volume Two contains entirely different material and more or less accompanies a different set of episodes.
Stranger Things isn't just a show about plucky, inquisitive kids, small-town teen romance, sinister government projects, a telepathic orphan and a faceless monster from another dimension—it's also about our memories. The heartwarming paranormal adventure series, released by Netflix this summer to widespread acclaim, is set in the fictional Hawkins, Indiana, in autumn of 1983. And more so than any other aspect of the setting, Stranger Things wants you to remember when it takes place.The latest resurgence of '80s cultural tropes probably didn't start with the release of Drive (and its Johnny Jewel-assisted soundtrack), but that was the year it went mainstream.
As viewers summer-binged Netflix's Eighties-riffed series Stranger Things, the sci-fi thriller's soundtrack grew as prominent as its Goonies 2.0 cast. Episodes hooked fans beginning with the season 1 theme, iconic Stephen King typeface flooding the screen to ominous synthesizer forewarnings. To concoct a 1983-suited score to accompany their VHS-vibed show, directors Matt and Ross Duffer tapped one-half of local quartet Survive.
This review contains spoilers for Netflix’s Stranger Things. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it. It’s great. This review will still be here when you’re done. How much should we take context into account when reviewing soundtracks? After all, some scores don’t work nearly as well when ….
Stranger Things might only have only hit screens mid-July, but it’s undeniably the smash of the summer. Sure, the show might be full of monsters and mystery, but what really drives the series is the strength of its characters. Whether they’re learning the ever-expanding possibilities of the world around them, developing friendships, severing ties, fighting for their lives, or falling for someone anew, the world the show inhabits may be somewhat alien, but its nature is as human as can be.