by Kyle Bray
Warning: This review contains spoilers
The return of hit Netflix series Stranger Things was one of the most highly anticipated events of the past month. Stranger Things 2 was released on Netflix on Oct. 27 and was met with much praise.
The soundtrack for the show was available for streaming services and purchase on Oct. 20. The soundtrack was produced by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, who also produced the soundtrack for season one.
Dixon and Stein’s work for the second season followed in the footsteps of their previous work for the show. The heavy synthesizer-based themes mirror the soundtracks of classic 80s movies like Blade Runner, whose soundtrack was produced by Vangelis. In an interview with Variety, Stein detailed their influences for the new soundtrack.
“We incorporated some old and new techniques. We progressed the music to have more drive and action,” Stein says. “We incorporated more traditional horror instruments, like the waterphone, and blended them into electronic sounds.”
For fans of hardcore synthesizers, this soundtrack will not disappoint.
The track “Descent into the Rift” is violent and abrasive sonically, with a thunderhorn-like synth that almost attacks the listener’s ears when it comes in. The song is then followed by layers of ominous synths that fit the scene well. The song slowly begins to unwind as police chief Jim Hopper (David Harbour) and Dr. Sam Owens (Paul Reiser) descend down into the pit where the portal of the “upside down” is located.
Songs like “Soldiers,” “Escape,” and “Levitation” are also highlights of the new soundtrack, and are much more typical tracks for the show. They all have a vibe similar to that of Vangelis and Jon Carpenter, two 80s composers who were known for their love and utilization of synthesizers.
One of the most consumer-appealing aspects of Stranger Things is its 80s nostalgia, which is heightened by the many popular 80s songs that are featured in the show. The first season came jam-packed with classics such as “Africa” by Toto, “Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles, and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash, which was the unofficial theme song of the show.
Season two featured many different types of music based on the different characters and their respective storylines.
New character and high school bully Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) is found most often in muscle car with his mullet, blasting songs such as “Shout at the Devil” by Motley Crue and “The Four Horsemen” by Metallica.
Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown)’s rebellious phase of the season is complemented perfectly by the music chosen, as the scene of her traveling to Chicago is set to “Runaway” by Bon Jovi. The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go” even makes another appearance, as Jonathan Byers (Charlie Heaton) tries to communicate with his brother Will (Noah Schnapp) using the song, which has been a key point of their relationship.
When the kids dance with their dates at a school dance, the mood is set with a slow classic, “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper.
The show ends with a chilling cliffhanger. As Eleven and Mike (Finn Wolfhard) kiss, they are serenaded by “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, which has a suggestive double meaning. The song refers to a stalker, not to a lover, as the camera pans to reveal the main villain — a monstrous “shadow monster” — looming over the school, watching everything unfold.