TV

Soundtrack review: Stranger things (volume 2) (Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein – 2016)

stranger-things-volume-two

“Stranger things” will undoubtedly be the most talked about and appreciated TV show of 2016. Netflix really managed to deliver a fantastic throw back to 1983 which awoke feelings of joy, nostalgia and love for millions of people. I of course was not impervious to its charm as I am a kid of the 80s. Apart from taking everything I loved about 80s movies an Stephen King stories and putting them in 8 hours of bliss, the creators of the show also managed to infuse it with the perfect music for that period. Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein took their synths and went back in time to bring us the sound of the 80s and Lakeshore Records released not one, but two volumes of the music. This is volume 2.

The general sound is the same as the one from the first volume. I like the simplicity and discipline in the music, I like how the composers echo the 80s perfectly without trying to alter the sound or makes it overly complex. This is about as high as musical nostalgia can go for me: this dark and dreamy electronic poetry and goes straight to my heart. I feel relaxed when I listen to this; it sets a reflective and lonely mood that I yearn for.

At times, more so then the music from volume 1, I feel the cues from this album set a general soundscape rather than play emotions or characters. I like the tension and suspense it builds and I enjoy the touch of this musical fabric. “Danger danger” is scarier than anything else on this score and makes me think of “The terminator” with its constant menacing pulses. On the other side of the emotional spectrum likes the sequel to “Kids” which is as charming as the first one.

There are moments that stand out in volume 2. I was looking forward to hearing a cue that would remind me of the way the little boy communicated with his mom through the lights; “Flickering” gives that to me with its carefully paced rhythm. My heart skips a bit when I hear the quiet and trembling “Crying”.   “I know what I saw” sends shivers down my spine and makes me think of both “The X-Files” and “Twin Peaks” with its ethereal and almost sandy mood. “Tribulations” might be my favorite piece from the album. It slowly opens like a magnificent flower going from small to large. These alone justify listening to the second volume as well.

The cherry on top of this release is the extended version of the main titles. There was a fan made version on YouTube of about 10 minutes but this official 5 minutes long one will do because it brings both scores nicely to a full circle. There’s no going wrong with this one.

Cue rating: 93 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 53 / 73

Album excellence: 73%

Highlights:

Hopper Sneaks In

I Know What I Saw

Rolling Out The Pool

Gearing Up

Flickering

First Kiss

Crying

Danger Danger

Tribulations

Flashback

Kids Too

See Any Rain

Coffee & Contemplation

Starts To Rain

Eleven Is Gone

Time For A 187

Still Pretty

Abilities

Spiked Bat

Making Contact

It’s Not My Boy

Something In The Wall

Let’s Go

Leap Of Faith

In Pursuit

Breaking And Entering

Stranger Things (Extended)

About the author

Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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