Release Date: Oct 28, 2016
Record label: Lakeshore Records
Genre(s): Electronic, Ambient, Soundtracks, Stage & Screen
[Note: This review discusses some critical plot points in Stranger Things] How do you soundtrack another dimension? This was the task put forth to Survive‘s Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, composers of the score to Netflix’s summer smash series Stranger Things. In the show, Department of Energy officials with nefarious intentions use a girl with special powers to create a gateway to the “Upside Down” — a world that exists simultaneously with our own but is cloaked in dark, and cold, and monsters. Figuring out how to musically represent this space, to convey its nature in an authentic but not overpowering way, is one of the duo’s greatest accomplishments in a score that’s filled with indelible moments.
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 ….