Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein – “Stranger Things Volume 1 & Volume 2”

Album Reviews | By on Sep 3rd, 2016

Stranger Things

Record Label: Lakeshore Records
Genre: Film Score
Buy Volume 1 on Amazon.com
Buy Volume 2 on Amazon.com

Stranger Things is the hit and most-talked about show this Summer and it’s a fun show that makes you feel nostalgic for the 80s. That is, if you grew up during that decade. The show is like a cross between The Goonies, E.T. and Poltergeist. Besides the show, people have been loving the music & the score.

The score was composed by members (Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein) of an Austin synth band called SURVIVE. The pulsating, synth-y theme is memorable and the rest of the score is dark, sometimes catchy and is perfect for a show that takes place in the 80s.

Volume 1 starts off with the Stranger Things theme, which most people will recognize since the show’s titles is very prominent of the show. After that, The “Kids” is another standout track. A lot of the music blends together but works wondrously on the show. Sometimes the music has a few stand out tracks and other times it’s atmospheric and background music. It works really well in the series. The music for the Upside Down world is really creepy sounding and I guess it should be. Not sure what they are doing but seems like the notes are slightly distorted to give them offsetting to them.

I like the style and motifs Dixon and Stein have come up with Hawkins lab people (“Agents,” “Hazmat Suits,” “Hawkins Lab”). It’s got that deep synth sound that the theme has. I particularly love the track “Hopper Sneaks In,” which starts off the Volume 2. It’s got a really cool beat to it and good way to start Volume 2. The Hawkins lab stuff reminds me of the Brad Fidel score of the Terminator movies in a way. “Hanging Lights” is a neat-sounding track and “Walking in the Upside Down” sounds like it could be in a video game. There’s so many quality tracks on both volumes, it’s hard to go into everything.

While it’s great we get 2 volumes of music, I almost think they should have given us just one volume of the best bits from both volumes right now. Still, if you can’t get enough of the score, you have plenty of music! I never even knew this series was happening and word of mouth made me watch the week after it premiered; after that, I was hooked. It was so awesome, I ended up watching it twice in a matter of 2 weeks.

What makes the series so special is the music, which is simply awesome. The synth craze is really upon us right now and I’m digging a lot of music from that genre again. I just hope every TV show and movie doesn’t go this route just for the sake of it. With the show taking place in the 80s, it just works. The creators of Stranger Things could have went the traditional classical approach but don’t think it would have the same effect. This score could have been overly cheesy but Dixon and Stein have composed something that works in the series and works in album form as well. Not to mention the music is really noticeable in the series, and in a good way. Both volumes are available now! I believe Volume 1 takes place between Episodes 1-4 and then Episodes 5-8 is Volume 2. Or just get both volumes and you have all the music from Season 1.

Bottom Line: Two fantastic volumes of music for a fantastic series!
Notable Tracks: Stranger Things, Kids, One Blink For Yes, Hanging Lights, She’ll Kill You, Theoretically, Run Away, Hopper Sneaks In, Over, Kids Two, Spiked Bat, Stranger Things Extended
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