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Soundtrack Review

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Stranger Things
Music From The Upside Down


Composers: Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein
Performed by: London Music Works
Label: Silva Screen Records
RRP: £13.99
SILED1710 (download)
Release Date: 10 March 2023

Silva Screen Records releases Stranger Things: Music From The Upside Down, performed by the London Music Works. This is a digital presentation of highlights from the first four seasons of the Netflix supernatural science fiction horror series Stranger Things, which was created by Matt and Ross Duffer. Set in the 1980s, the community of a small Indiana town investigates the disappearance of a local boy by supernatural events. A hostile alternate dimension known as the Upside Down plays a large part in plaguing natural events. The original soundtrack was composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the band Survive, using legacy synthesisers also used by Jean Michel-Jarre, Tangerine Dream and Vangelis. They were also influenced by John Carpenter – particularly his score for Big Trouble in Little China. 'The Stranger Things Theme' won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music...

Track List:

'Stranger Things Theme'; 'Kids'; 'This Isn’t You'; 'Eleven'; 'Eulogy'; 'The First Lie'; 'Soldiers'; 'Choices'; 'Boys and Girls'; 'The First I Love You'; 'The Silver Cat Feeds'; 'Aftermath'; 'What’s The Internet'; 'You’re The Heart'; 'Teens'; 'Letter To Willy'; 'You Have Already Lost'; and 'Season Four End Scene'.

It’s not surprising that the relatively short 'Stranger Things Theme' has inspired a number of remixes from the likes of Wiz Khalifa featuring J.R. Donato, asabakaev vs. Childish Gambino, and 2 Below. It’s a blend of Vangelis and John Carpenter. Whereas the following track is a more measured similar sound with the melody of Jean Michel-Jarre thrown in. I love Electronica when it’s done well and, although I am primarily a Rock and Metal fan, I still love the early days of synthesisers from the Seventies up until about 1981, after which it began to get too ‘poppy’. It needs to be understood the majority of this material is incidental music written to enhance scenes in the show, rather than stand-alone pieces, and so can be at times similar and subdued.

'The First Lie' seems to act as a sign of thing to come, as it is the first music of substance after the opening track. 'Boys and Girls' is a nice little number, but suffers from a constrictive pattern – as if someone has programmed a machine and walked away. 'The Silver Cat Feeds' also falls into this category. 'What’s the Internet' is much more enjoyable, incorporating a proper melody which could easily be a B-side instrumental. 'Teens' is one of the outstanding tracks. It has a melodic central piece surrounded by electronic noises which give it more substance. 'You Have Already Lost' sounds really familiar, and 'Season 4 End Scene' is suitably dramatic whilst not being that varied in style.

I really wanted to like this, especially as I had enjoyed the Doom Patrol [seasons 1 and 2] electronica soundtracks so much. The music here obviously fits a successful series, but it just doesn’t work as stand-alone pieces. Perhaps a better idea would have been to edit these tracks into suites so that the music was more changeable. It is not without merit, however, and it’s nice to hear this style used in genre music and soundtracks again.


Ty Power

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