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Music of Stranger Things

The Stranger Things original soundtracks are composed by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon of the electronic band Survive.[1] They make extensive use of synthesizers in homage to 1980s artists and film composers including Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, Goblin, John Carpenter, Giorgio Moroder, and Fabio Frizzi.[2]

Contents

BackgroundEdit

The Duffer Brothers were first made aware of Dixon and Stein's music while watching the 2014 thriller film The Guest, which featured songs from their band Survive.[3] In creating a mock trailer that that was later used to sell the show to Netflix, the Duffers decided to use Dixon and Stein's song "Dirge" to serve as the clip's soundtrack.[1][4] Once the show was green-lit, the Duffers contacted Survive around July 2015 to ask if they were still doing music; the two provided the production team with dozens of songs from their band's past to gain their interest, helping to land them the role.[1] The Duffers were ecstatic after listening to the material provided, and they implored the duo to quit their day jobs to produce music for the show full-time.[5] They accepted the offer, and once aboard, the two worked with producers to select some of their older music to rework for the show while developing new music, principally with character motifs.[4] The tracks produced by the duo were sent during production to The Duffers, who later labelled the demos as "sketches" due to Dixon and Stein's odd title choices (“Jupiter 8 Spirit Winds,” “Soakers Forum 3,” and “Lighting Candles and Eggy Pizza" are among the most unique of the batch).[5] A "sketch" that was originally titled "Prophecy" was later developed into the show's now-iconic theme. In all, just under 14 hours of music was produced for the show over the course of the year.[5] Dixon and Stein had been hired before the casting process, so their motif demos were used and played over the actors' audition tapes, aiding in the casting selection.[4][6]

ThemeEdit

The show's theme is based on an unused piece Stein composed much earlier that ended up in a library of work that was available for potential commercial licensing.[1] The duo shared a "loose" version of the potential demo with the production staff, who thought that with some reworking it would be good for the opening credits.[7][8] Dixon and Stein proceeded to retool the demo, and on the staff's suggestion, made it "bigger, bolder and kind of build to a climax," a goal that was ultimately achieved with the inclusion of Prophet V, Roland SH-2, and Mellotron synthesizers, coupled with the usage of various filters.[9] They also produced additional versions that varied in length, so as to ease the integration of the theme into the as-of-then uncompleted, tentative opening sequence.[7]

After the release of the show's first season and its meteoric rise in popularity that followed, Dixon and Stein's composition quickly gained a large amount of popularity as well. Various musical entertainers such as the band Blink-182 have used the song in their live productions, and a number of amateur musicians have posted cover versions to YouTube.[10] The song also won the award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music at the 69th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.[11]

ReleasesEdit

Season 1Edit

Stranger Things' original soundtrack, consisting of 75 songs from Dixon and Stein split across two volumes, was released by Lakeshore Records. Digital release and streaming options were released on August 10 and 19, 2016 for the two volumes, respectively, while retail versions were available on September 16 and 23, 2016.[12][13] Limited editions of the soundtrack on vinyl, in both individual and a boxed set, were released in July 2017.[14] A cassette version of the soundtrack, sold exclusively by Urban Outfitters, was released on July 14, 2017. The cassette packaging features a cardboard cover that emulates an old VHS sleeves, while the cassette case is made to look like a VHS tape.[15]

Both volumes were nominated individually for the Best Score Soundtrack Category for the 2017 Grammy Awards, though neither won.[16]

Track listingsEdit

Stranger Things, Vol. 1
 
Standard cover
Soundtrack album by
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
ReleasedAugust 10, 2016 (2016-08-10)
GenreSoundtrack
Label
  • Lakeshore
  • Invada
Producer
  • Kyle Dixon
  • Michael Stein
Stranger Things music chronology
''Stranger Things, Vol. 1''
(2016)
Stranger Things, Vol. 2
(2016)
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
Metacritic83/100[17]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic     [18]
Consequence of SoundA-[19]
Pitchfork8/10[20]
The Wire     [21]
Stranger Things, Vol. 1
No.TitleLength
1."Stranger Things"1:07
2."Kids"2:38
3."Nancy and Barb"1:05
4."This Isn't You"2:23
5."Lay-Z-Boy"1:34
6."Friendship"1:12
7."Eleven"3:14
8."A Kiss"1:25
9."Castle Byers"2:47
10."Hawkins"5:00
11."The Upside Down"5:07
12."After Sarah"1:25
13."One Blink for Yes"1:46
14."Photos in the Woods"4:32
15."Fresh Blood"1:16
16."Lamps"1:15
17."Hallucinations"1:36
18."Hanging Lights"1:33
19."Biking to School"0:44
20."Are You Sure?"2:26
21."Agents"0:50
22."Papa"1:27
23."Cops Are Good at Finding"1:08
24."No Weapons"3:24
25."Walking Through the Upside Down"1:19
26."She'll Kill You"2:05
27."Run Away"1:47
28."No Autopsy"1:03
29."Dispatch"0:41
30."Joyce and Lonnie Fighting"1:02
31."Lights Out"1:04
32."Hazmat Suits"1:43
33."Theoretically"1:33
34."You Can Talk to Me"0:53
35."What Else Is There to Do?"1:59
36."Hawkins Lab"2:37
Stranger Things, Vol. 2
 
Deluxe cover
Soundtrack album by
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
ReleasedAugust 19, 2016 (2016-08-19)
GenreSoundtrack
Label
  • Lakeshore
  • Invada
Producer
  • Kyle Dixon
  • Michael Stein
Stranger Things music chronology
Stranger Things, Vol. 1
(2016)
''Stranger Things, Vol. 2''
(2016)
Stranger Things 2
(2017)
Stranger Things, Vol. 2
No.TitleLength
1."Hopper Sneaks In"1:38
2."I Know What I Saw"2:43
3."Rolling out the Pool"1:12
4."Over"1:38
5."Gearing Up"1:57
6."Flickering"0:46
7."First Kiss"1:46
8."Crying"1:16
9."Walking Down the Tracks"0:54
10."Where's Barb?"1:57
11."Speak of the Devil"2:49
12."Danger Danger"2:57
13."Tribulations"1:13
14."Flashback"1:37
15."Kids Two"2:56
16."Talking to Australia"1:00
17."Night of the Seventh"1:35
18."See Any Rain?"0:41
19."Coffee & Contemplation"1:12
20."Inside the Black Room"1:27
21."Starts to Rain"1:33
22."Eleven Is Gone"1:54
23."Time for a 187"0:57
24."Something in the House"2:08
25."Still Pretty"1:50
26."Abilities"1:32
27."Tendril"0:26
28."They Found Us"3:00
29."Bad Men"1:06
30."Spiked Bat"1:17
31."Making Contact"2:01
32."What Do You Know?"1:54
33."It's Not My Boy"2:07
34."Something in the Wall"1:35
35."Let's Go"0:38
36."Leap of Faith"3:30
37."In Pursuit"2:17
38."Breaking and Entering"4:52
39."Stranger Things" (Extended Version)5:25

ChartsEdit

Volume One garnered 14,000 "equivalent album units" in the United States in its first week of sale according to Nielsen Soundscan.[22]

Chart (2016) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[23] 40
Belgium Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[24] 18
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[25] 70
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[26] 61
French Albums (SNEP)[27] 174
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[28] 69
US Billboard 200[22] 24
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[29] 2
US Top Soundtracks (Billboard)[22] 2

Season 2Edit

Stranger Things 2
 
Soundtrack album by
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
ReleasedOctober 20, 2017 (2017-10-20)
GenreSoundtrack
Label
  • Lakeshore
  • Invada
Producer
  • Kyle Dixon
  • Michael Stein
Stranger Things music chronology
Stranger Things, Vol. 2
(2016)
''Stranger Things 2''
(2017)
Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original Series
(2017)
Alternative cover
 
Vinyl edition cover

The soundtrack album for the second season of Stranger Things, titled Stranger Things 2, was released digitally on October 20, 2017, via Lakeshore and Invada Records.[30][31] The soundtrack was composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the electronic band Survive. The soundtrack is intended to be released on physical formats, such as compact disc, vinyl, and cassette.[30] On the soundtrack's composition, Dixon and Stein together said that the score for the season introduces "new styles of composition, while still revisiting old themes when appropriate ... We've created new elements that are necessary to support the story, but still want to remain true to the sound of Season 1." The first track from the soundtrack, "Walkin' in Hawkins", was released on October 12.[31]

Track listingEdit

Stranger Things 2 – Standard version
No.TitleLength
1."Walkin' in Hawkins"2:36
2."Home"1:50
3."Eulogy"3:40
4."On the Bus"2:04
5."Presumptuous"1:34
6."Eight Fifteen"1:25
7."The First Lie"1:14
8."Scars"1:43
9."I Can Save Them"1:54
10."Descent into the Rift"1:26
11."Chicago"2:54
12."Looking for a Way Out"1:37
13."Birth / Rescue"3:21
14."In the Woods"0:54
15."Digging"1:06
16."Symptoms"3:39
17."Eggo in the Snow"1:01
18."Soldiers"2:10
19."Choises"2:01
20."Never Tell"1:53
21."She Wants Me to Find Her"2:27
22."Shouldn't Have Lied"2:56
23."It's a Trap"2:57
24."Crib"2:27
25."The Return"3:21
26."Escape"1:42
27."We Go Out Tonight"2:15
28."Connect the Dots"1:20
29."The Hub"3:55
30."On Edge"1:17
31."What Else Did You See?"1:23
32."Run"1:20
33."Levitation"2:08
34."To Be Continued"2:08

ChartsEdit

In the United States, the album sold 6,000 units in its first week of release.[32]

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[33] 184
US Billboard 200[32] 128

Other releasesEdit

In addition to original music, Stranger Things features period music from artists including The Clash, Joy Division, Toto, New Order, The Bangles, Foreigner, Echo and the Bunnymen, Peter Gabriel, and Corey Hart, as well as excerpts from Tangerine Dream, John Carpenter, and Vangelis.[34][13] In particular, The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" was specifically picked to play at pivotal moments of the story, such as when Will is trying to communicate with Joyce from the Upside Down.[13]

Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original SeriesEdit

Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original Series
 
Soundtrack album by
Various artists
ReleasedOctober 27, 2017 (2017-10-27)
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelLegacy Recordings
Stranger Things music chronology
Stranger Things 2
(2017)
''Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original Series''
(2017)
Stranger Things: Halloween Sounds from the Upside Down
(2018)

Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original Series is the non-original composition soundtrack companion to the second season of Stranger Things. The album, which interlaces popular eighties songs with sound bytes from the first and second seasons, was released on October 27, 2017 by Legacy Recordings to coincide with the release of the second season.[35] On December 7, 2018, it was announced that the album had been nominated in the Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media category at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.[36]

Track listingEdit

No.TitlePerformers(s)Length
1."Introduction: Will Singing The Clash" (Dialogue)Noah Schnapp0:27
2."Every Breath You Take"The Police4:11
3."Should I Stay or Should I Go"The Clash3:06
4."Coffee and contemplation" (Dialogue)David Harbour0:09
5."Hazy Shade of Winter"The Bangles2:45
6."Nocturnal Me"Echo and the Bunnymen4:55
7."Bring him home!" (Dialogue)Winona Ryder0:07
8."Sunglasses at Night"Corey Hart3:53
9."Girls on Film"Duran Duran3:28
10."Just because people tell you..." (Dialogue)Charlie Heaton0:04
11."Atmosphere"Joy Division4:07
12."Maybe I'm crazy..." (Dialogue)Winona Ryder0:11
13."Twist of Fate"Olivia Newton-John3:42
14."Says logic" (Dialogue)Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo0:06
15."The Ghost in You"The Psychedelic Furs4:15
16."Africa"Toto4:56
17."You Don't Mess Around with Jim"Jim Croce2:59
18."Accident or not" (Dialogue)Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin0:13
19."Whip It"Devo2:38
20."Runaway"Bon Jovi3:50
21."Time After Time"Cyndi Lauper3:57
22."Talking in Your Sleep"The Romantics3:55
23."Mouthbreather" (Dialogue)Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown0:22
24."Back to Nature"Fad Gadget5:48
25."She's our friend and she's crazy!" (Dialogue)Gaten Matarazzo0:04
26."Rock You Like a Hurricane"Scorpions4:14
27."Heroes" (David Bowie cover)Peter Gabriel4:03
28."Friends don't lie" (Dialogue)Millie Bobby Brown0:04
29."Elegia"New Order4:55
30."Outro: Will Singing The Clash" (Dialogue)Noah Schnapp0:15

ChartsEdit

Chart (2017) Peak
position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[37] 110
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[38] 121
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[39] 56
UK Soundtrack Albums (OCC)[40] 23
US Digital Albums (Billboard)[41] 24
US Top Soundtracks (Billboard)[42] 10

Stranger Things: Halloween Sounds from the Upside DownEdit

Stranger Things: Halloween Sounds from the Upside Down
 
Soundtrack album by
Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
ReleasedOctober 5, 2018 (2018-10-05)
GenreSoundtrack
Label
  • Lakeshore
  • Invada
Producer
  • Kyle Dixon
  • Michael Stein
Stranger Things music chronology
Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original Series
(2018)
''Stranger Things: Halloween Sounds from the Upside Down''
(2018)

An supplemental soundtrack album with unreleased cues from the second season, titled Stranger Things: Halloween Sounds from the Upside Down, had a digital release on October 5, 2018, via Lakeshore and Invada Records. The music on the album was produced by the series' longtime composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the electronic band Survive, and was previously available only as bonus tracks for the iTunes edition of Stranger Things 2.[43] The album was also released physically as a CD and as a vinyl record with several different pressings, with one of them being an exclusive limited run for Record Store Day's annual Black Friday event.[43][44]

Track listingEdit

No.TitleLength
1."Turn on the Lights"1:44
2."Sick of Cow"4:03
3."Power Maintenance"1:31
4."Roars from the Lab"2:33
5."Mercy"4:04
6."Shadow in the Tunnel"4:20
7."A Familiar Shape"6:50
8."Tree Slime"1:10
9."Do You Accept the Risk?"0:26
10."Entering the Cellar"2:05
11."The Spy"4:49
12."Controlled Contamination"1:45
13."Turn Right & Run"7:12
14."They Hurt Me"5:03
15."Possessed"3:11

AccoladesEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2016 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Best Main Title – TV Show/Digital Streaming Series Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein Nominated [45][46]
Best Original Score – TV Show/Miniseries Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein Nominated
Outstanding Music Supervision – Television Nora Felder Won
2017 Grammy Awards Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media Stranger Things, Vol. 1 Nominated [47]
Stranger Things, Vol. 2 Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon Won [48]
2018 Grammys Awards Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Stranger Things: Music from the Netflix Original Series Pending [36]

ReferencesEdit

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