The use of music in the Netflix original “Stranger Things” is genius.
The sci-fi series is set in the 1980s and features synthetic-heavy music you wish you heard in every TV show and movie from that decade. It’s the music you wish played in the background of your own life.
When I first watched the show, I was hooked in with the theme song alone. Once it had me in its grasp, “Stranger Things” reeled me in one strand of string lights at a time.
Photos by Nick Tomecek
The “Stranger Things” soundtrack is composed of Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein’s original music. Each note on this record slinks through the background of the horror-driven plot like a snake through a field of grass.
The music channels Daft Punk’s energetic “Tron” soundtrack and the “Drive” soundtrack. It perfectly complements the dramatic, suspenseful nature of the TV series.
I was hesitant to watch this show because of all the hype and my aversion to horror films. I was pleasantly surprised.
“Stranger Things” has the optimal proportion of excitement to scary stuff. It keeps me on the edge of my seat without falling off the couch while binge-watching.
The show’s music is more than icing on the cake; it’s the sprinkles and candles, too.
Sometimes it makes me feel as if I should put on a spacesuit and climb through a tree into the Upside Down, the alternate reality in “Stranger Things”. Other times, I feel as if I should sleuth around town with Jim Hopper, the chief of the Hawkins Police Department.
The “Stranger Things” soundtracks volumes 1 and 2 make excellent background music to listen to at work or while doing things at home. Both records are the perfect blend of 1980s music and what is popular today.
From the fashion choices to interior design, everything on the TV show is true to the 1980s decade.
The soundtrack helps me relive every important moment in the eight-episode first season. My heart aches thinking about the sounds that will inevitably propel season 2.
I play the fast-paced songs such as “Stranger Things” and “Kids” when I workout, and I listen to the slower numbers such as “This Isn’t You” as I put up Christmas decorations.
I can’t listen to some songs on this record when I’m home alone, because I genuinely think my Christmas lights might communicate with me. Hey, stranger things have happened.
“The Upside Down” and “Photos In the Woods” give me the creeps. Vol. 1 concludes with “Hawkins Lab,” the darkest song on the soundtrack.
I splurged on the clear smoke vinyl for Vol. 1, and it’s gorgeous. The hazy-colored vinyl looks wicked spinning on my record player.
I channeled Jonathan Byers with a vintage denim button-down shirt, wolf-print T-shirt, black jeans and Converse sneakers.
Denim shirt – Vintage
Jeans – Target
Shoes - Converse
I’m not an audiophile.
In my opinion, Vol. 2 differs only slightly from Vol. 1. If you don’t want to spring for both volumes, I wouldn’t feel as if you missed out.
Vol. 2 combines the same dark foundation of notes in Vol. 1 with lighter notes for contrast. It also includes some worthwhile tracks you won’t hear on the first segment.
The opening song, “Hopper Sneaks In,” sets a hauntingly upbeat tone. From there, I find the most compelling songs on the record are “Gearing Up,” “Something in the Wall” and, of course, the extended version of “Stranger Things.”
After hearing both volumes, it’s a relief to know “First Kiss” is the only song you might hear at a 1980s prom.
I channeled Nancy Wheeler with a maroon sweater layered over a button-down shirt with a bird print. For my own take, I added black knee socks and lace-up boots.
Sweater – Sanctuary
Button-down shirt – Target
Skirt- Brandy Melville
Socks – Target
Boots – Unknown