Review: Back in 2016. Stranger Things surprised with its homage to 80’s film and television tropes. In order to get that 80’s feel and do so in such a way that it wasn’t too hokey. The Duffer brothers turned to Texas-based composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein who are both members of the experimental synth band S U R V I V E.
The challenge they faced was to somehow come up ways to progress the great work they did for Stranger Things season one, which was informed by synth music of the 80’s by the likes of Tangerine Dream and others.
We think they have managed to do this pretty well. But much like the season one soundtrack. It doesn’t work as well when listened to in isolation from the TV series. But when it is matched up with the images and visuals from the television series it adds an extra layer of spookiness to the atmosphere.
I’d be remiss in not mentioning that I am actually very hit and miss when it comes to synth music. I absolutely hated most of the synth-pop stuff that was around in the 1980’s, but always kind of liked synth soundtracks for shows that were out back in the day. The soundtracks to Airwolf and Street Hawk being two that stick in my mind. The work that Dixon and Stein have done with Stranger Things when it comes to the shows main title theme is every bit as memorable as those two shows. It has a very strong 80’s sound to it but manages to be its own thing and have the uniqueness and feel of a soundtrack that you might have expected to have been produced in the 1980’s.
Some of the highlights in this collection include ‘Walkin’ In Hawkins’, which got released prior to season two coming out on Netflix. I also found ‘Eulogy’ to be both haunting and suitably scary. ‘Descent Into The Rift’ provides a jarring sense of drama.
The collection comes to a close with the fantastic ‘Levitation’ with other highlights being ‘Eight Fifteen’ and ‘I Can Save Them’.
Overall. This soundtrack is a real labor of love from the two composers. While some may nitpick about elements not being quite 1980’s. It does get very close and provides a unique soundscape for the show.
My one issue is as someone that is more into orchestral soundtracks. I often find it difficult to appreciate synth soundtracks when they are in isolation from their TV properties. Stranger Things 2 suffered a little with this and I felt that some of the tunes on the soundtrack might have benefitted from being a tad longer.
The Stranger Things 2 Soundtrack is available to Pre Order now at Amazon and all good media stores. However, if you get the soundtrack through Apple’s iTunes service there are a few bonus tracks available, which are iTunes exclusives.
- Packaging & Artwork8.5
- Audio Syncing9.8