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The Stranger Things original score is composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, who make up part of Austin-based synth band S U R V I V E. The score makes extensive use of synthesizers in homage to 1980s artists and film composers such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and John Carpenter. Furthermore, the show utilises a variety of preexisting tracks and songs, most of which originating from the 70's and 80's.

Score

About

The Duffer Brothers always wanted the music to play a major role in the show, deciding very early on that they wanted an entirely electronic score. They were charmed by existing electronic soundtracks, as they were very modern and cutting-edge, while also inevitably evoking the sounds of ’80s music (most notably Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and John Carpenter). The Duffers felt that having a synth soundtrack would do exactly what they wanted to achieve with the show: It would feel both modern and nostalgic at the same time. Some of the show’s biggest inspirations, such as E.T. or Jaws, feature a soaring, orchestral "John Williams" style score, so the Duffers thought that a synth soundtrack would play nicely against expectations.

The Duffers first discovered the synth band S U R V I V E when they heard one of their tracks in Adam Wingard’s film, The Guest. The brothers became fans, incorporating their song "Dirge" in a mock trailer they made for their pitch to Netflix. The Duffers reached out to the band and asked if they were interested. Two band members, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, agreed to score the project. Kyle and Michael first started composing music in summer 2015, sending “sketch” tracks inspired by the characters, tone, and story which eventually became the basis for the Stranger Things soundtrack. These sketches were played over the actors' audition tapes. According to the Duffers, these sketches all had very strange titles, such as “Jupiter 8 Spirit Winds,” “Soakers Forum 3,” and “Lighting Candles and Eggy Pizza”. One sketch called “Prophecy” caught the Duffers' interest for its mysterious yet upbeat feel, evolving into the title theme.

Over the course of the year, over 13 and a half hours of music was accumulated from Kyle and Michael. Though not all of this music made it into the eight-hour first season, it gave the Duffers a huge library to pull from as they edited.[1]

On August 10, 2016, Stranger Things' social media profiles announced that the original soundtrack would be available for digital download and streaming that month. It was made available to stream in two parts: Stranger Things, Volume One on August 10, and Stranger Things, Volume Two on August 19. Volume One was made available September 16 for the digital CD, while Volume Two was released the following week. Both volumes were nominated for the Best Score Soundtrack Category of the 2017 Grammy Awards.

On June 8, 2017, it was announced that the original soundtrack would be re-released as cassette tapes with cardboard covers to emulate old VHS sleeves. They will be available on July 14, the one-year anniversary of the show's premiere and will only be available at Urban Outfitters.[2]

Dixon and Stein are currently working on the score for the upcoming second season.[3]

Tracklisting

Stranger Things, Vol. 1

  1. Stranger Things
  2. Kids
  3. Nancy and Barb
  4. This Isn’t You
  5. Lay-Z-Boy
  6. Friendship
  7. Eleven
  8. A Kiss
  9. Castle Byers
  10. Hawkins
  11. The Upside Down
  12. After Sarah
  13. One Blink For Yes
  14. Photos in the Woods
  15. Fresh Blood
  16. Lamps
  17. Hallucinations
  18. Hanging Lights
  19. Biking to School
  20. Are You Sure?
  21. Agents
  22. Papa
  23. Cops Are Good at Finding
  24. No Weapons
  25. Walking Through the Upside Down
  26. She’ll Kill You
  27. Run Away
  28. No Autopsy
  29. Dispatch
  30. Joyce and Lonnie Fighting
  31. Lights Out
  32. Hazmat Suits
  33. Theoretically
  34. You Can Talk to Me
  35. What Else Is There to Do?
  36. Hawkins Lab

Stranger Things, Vol. 2

  1. Hopper Sneaks In
  2.  I Know What I Saw
  3.  Rolling Out the Pool
  4.  Over
  5.  Gearing Up
  6.  Flickering
  7.  First Kiss
  8.  Crying
  9.  Walking Down the Tracks
  10.  Where's Barb?
  11.  Speak of The Devil
  12.  Danger Danger
  13.  Tribulations
  14.  Flashback
  15.  Kids Two
  16.  Talking to Australia
  17.  Night of The Seventh
  18.  See Any Rain?
  19.  Coffee & Contemplation
  20.  Inside The Black Room
  21.  Starts to Rain
  22.  Eleven Is Gone
  23.  Time for a 187
  24.  Something in The House
  25.  Still Pretty
  26.  Abilities
  27.  Tendril
  28.  They Found Us
  29.  Bad Men
  30.  Spiked Bat
  31.  Making Contact
  32.  What Do You Know
  33.  It's Not My Boy
  34.  Something in the Wall
  35.  Let's Go
  36.  Leap of Faith
  37.  In Pursuit
  38.  Breaking and Entering
  39.  Stranger Things (Extended)

Stranger Things 2

  1. Walkin' in Hawkins
  2. Home
  3. Eulogy
  4. On the Bus
  5. Presumptuous
  6. Eight Fifteen
  7. The First Lie
  8. Scars
  9. I Can Save Them
  10. Descent into the Rift
  11. Chicago
  12. Looking for a Way Out
  13. Birth / Rescue
  14. In the Woods
  15. Digging
  16. Symptoms
  17. Eggo in the Snow
  18. Soldiers
  19. Choices
  20. Never Tell
  21. She Wants Me to Find Her
  22. Shouldn't Have Lied
  23. It's a Trap
  24. Crib
  25. The Return
  26. Escape
  27. We Go Out Tonight
  28. Connect the Dots
  29. The Hub
  30. On Edge
  31. What Else Did You See?
  32. Run
  33. Levitation
  34. To Be Continued

Soundtrack

Season One

Chapter One: The Vanishing of Will Byers

  • "Can't Seem to Make You Mine" by The Seeds: Hopper arrives at the police station and talks with the staff.
  • "She Has Funny Cars" by Jefferson Airplane: Eleven is caught stealing fries in Benny's Burgers.
  • "I Shall Not Care" by Pearls Before Swine: Benny makes burgers and sits down to talk with Eleven.
  • "Jenny May" by Trader Horne: Eleven makes the fan stop at the diner.
  • "Every Little Bit" by Jackie James and Jackie Curnow: Nancy is studying in her bedroom.
  • "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane: Heard on the radio when agents come to Benny's Burgers to capture Eleven.
  • "Africa" by Toto: Steve helps Nancy with her homework and things get heated.

Chapter Two: The Weirdo on Maple Street

  • "Go Nowhere" by Reagan Youth - Jonathan listens to music while starting his drive to Lonnie's place.
  • "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash - Jonathan hears this song as he drives, remembering when he and Will listened to the song together. The song later plays on the stereo in Will's room.
  • "Deck The Halls" by Chicks With Hits - Joyce drives into town to buy a new telephone.
  • "Jingle Bells" by The Canterbury Choir - Joyce asks her boss, Donald, for an advance on her paycheck.
  • "Dark Stars" by Mark Glass - Jonathan parks outside Lonnie's place.
  • "I'm Taking Off (Shield Your Eyes)" by Space Knife - Jonathan shoves past Cynthia and searches through Lonnie's house.
  • "Body Language" by Alexander Baker & Clair Mario - Nancy and Barb talk over phone.
  • "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" by Brotherhood of Man - Nancy has Barb pulling her car over.
  • "Raise A Little Hell" by Trooper - Steve opens the front door, letting the girls in.
  • "I Melt With You" by Modern English - Music playing at Steve's pool party.
  • "Hazy Shade Of Winter" by The Bangles - Nancy makes out with Steve while Barbara is taken by the Monster. Plays into end credits. 

Chapter Three: Holly, Jolly

  • "Waiting for a Girl Like You" by Foreigner - First song as Nancy loses her virginity with Steve.
  • "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" by Joel Evans & Friends - Joyce goes to town to buy more Christmas lights.
  • "Brahm's Lullaby" by Johannes Brahms - Eleven opens up a music box while exploring Nancy's room 
  • "Heroes" by Peter Gabriel (originally by David Bowie) – Hopper and the kids find out what has been discovered at the quarry.

Chapter Four: The Body

  • "Atmosphere" by Joy Division - First song after Chief Hopper informs Joyce of the discovery at the quarry.
  • "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash - Eleven taps into Mike’s radio, and he can hear Will singing. Joyce later plays the song while trying to summon Will.
  • "Color Dreams" by The Deep - Hopper buys O'Bannon a beer, before questioning about the discovery at the quarry.

Chapter Five: The Flea and the Acrobat

  • "Elegia" by New Order - Instrumental music on the morning of Will's funeral.
  • "Green Desert" by Tangerine Dream - Hopper tears apart his trailer looking for listening devices.
  • "Nocturnal Me" by Echo & The Bunnymen – Jonathan tries to find Nancy. Play into end credits.

Chapter Six: The Monster

  • "Sunglasses at Night" by Corey Hart - Steve tries to sneak into Nancy's room.
  • "Concerto for Violin - Strings and Basso Continuo in E Major BWV 1042: I. Allegro" by English Chamber Orchestra & Dmitry Sitkovetsky – A lady visits Scott Clarke at his home, telling him about a new AV club. 
  • "I See the Future" by Andrew Pinching - Karen opens Nancy's bedroom door to find music blaring and the room empty. 
  • "Happy José" by Kookie Freeman - Eleven steals Eggos from a grocery store. 
  • "Brahm's Lullaby" by Johannes Brahms - Terry's sister tells Joyce and Hopper about Terry's involvement in the MKUltra experiments and her subsequent miscarriage. 
  • "The Bargain Store" by Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers - Nancy and Jonathan go to the store to buy monster hunting supplies.
  • "Exit" by Tangerine Dream - Steve and Jonathan fight in the alley.

Chapter Seven: The Bathtub

  • "Fields of Coral" by Vangelis - The group share and discuss their collective knowledge of the supernatural events.
  • "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash - Will sings to himself as the Monster nears.

Chapter Eight: The Upside Down

  • "Horizon (Warsaw Gate Mix)" by Tangerine Dream - Flashback to Hopper talking his daughter through calming her breathing.
  • "When It's Cold I'd Like to Die" by Moby - Will is brought back to life in the Upside Down.
  • "Carol of the Bells" by Mormon Tabernacle Choir- Chief Hopper takes food from the police station party and leaves them in a box at Mirkwood.
  • "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby - The Byers family sits down for Christmas Eve dinner.

Season Two

Chapter One: MADMAX

  • "Whip It" by Devo - The boys arrive at the arcade.
  • "Just Another Day" by Oingo Boingo - Chief Hopper arrives arrives at the police station.
  • "Talking in Your Sleep" by The Romantics - Steve and Nancy talk in the car.
  • "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by Scorpions - Billy's grand entrance.
  • "Spooky Movies" by Gary Paxton - Song playing at Melvald's General Store as Bob arrives; Hopper drives out to Merrill's farm.
  • "Every Other Girl" by Prehistoric Wolves - Playing through the headphones of the tech lab assistant.

Chapter Two: Trick or Treat, Freak

  • "Ghostbusters (Instrumental Version)" by Ray Parker Jr. - The boys are getting dressed up for Halloween as their parents take photos.
  • "Wango Tango" by Ted Nugent - Billy complains about having to move to Hawkins as he drives Max home.
  • "Blackout" by Swing Set - Jonathan drives Will to meet his friends.
  • "Shout at the Devil" by Mötley Crüe - Steve, Nancy and Billy at the Halloween party.
  • "Islands in the Stream" by Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton - Bob and Joyce dance around her living room.
  • "Monster Mash" by Bobby Boris Pickett - Max and the guys continue trick-or-treating; Mike tells Will that Max's presence is ruining his night.
  • "Girls On Film" by Duran Duran - Jonathan arrives at the Halloween Party.
  • "Outside the Realm" by Big Giant Circles - Mike tells Will it feels like Eleven is still around; Jonathan drives Nancy home, helps her to her room and tucks her into bed.
  • "Ghostbusters" by Ray Parker Jr. - Dustin flips off the garbage can lid and peers inside; end credits.

Chapter Three: The Pollywog

  • "Whistle On the River" by The Mercy Brothers - Dustin grab his pile of library books and makes a run for it; as Bob drives Will to school, he tells him about a nightmare he had as a kid.
  • "You Don't Mess Around with Jim" by Jim Croce - Flashback to Hopper playing a record for Eleven; montage of Eleven and Hopper cleaning up the cabin and him teaching to use the radio for Morse code messages.
  • "Go!" by Tones On Tail - Eleven leaves the cabin; Steve and Billy wrestle on the basketball court; Nancy shows up at the court to confront Steve.
  • "The Ghost in You" by The Psychedelic Furs - Jonathan tells Nancy how he ended up taking her home from the party, then they talk about how things have changed since Will disappeared.
  • "Clean Cut American Kid" by III Repute - While Nancy and Jonathan talk, a classmate starts listening to music on his walkman.
  • "Cookin'" by Al Casey Combo - Joyce phones Bob at Radioshack for help with playing his video camera.
  • "How I Feel About You" by Jumpstreet - As Nancy and Jonathan head to her room, Karen Wheeler stops them to say hi.

Chapter Four: Will the Wise

  • "This Is Radio Clash" by The Clash - After telling her mom she's staying at Stacey's overnight, Nancy heads outside to join Jonathan.
  • "Scarface (Push It To the Limit)" by Paul Engemann - Hopper starts his truck after getting a message about Joyce's many calls; Billy gives Steve advice on holding his ground on the court.
  • "The Growing" by The Haxan Cloak - Billy advises Max to stay away from Lucas; Hopper heads out into the pumpkin field and starts digging.

Chapter Five: Dig Dug

  • "Try My Love" by Carroll Lloyd - Nancy and Jonathan check into a motel.
  • "You Ought To Be With Me" by Carl Weathers - The Sinclair family sits down for breakfast; Lucas asks his father what he does when his mom is mad at him.
  • "Green, Green Grass of Home" by Bobby Bare - Eleven catches a ride on a semi to visit her mother.
  • "Can I Do What I Want" by Shock Therapy - Nancy and Jonathan stop by Murray's place.
  • "Metal Sport" by Hittman - Billy drops Max at the arcade and tells her to be out in an hour.
  • "Darling Don't Leave Me" by Robert Görl - Max is shown into the backroom of the arcade, where Lucas is waiting for her.
  • "When the Sun Goes Down" by The Jetzons - Lucas follows Max through the arcade trying to convince her that his story is true.
  • "Strenght in Numbers" by Channel 3 - Billy picks up Max from the arcade and questions her about hanging out with Lucas.
  • "Open the Kingdom (Liquid Days, Part II)" by Philip Glass Ensemble, Douglas Perry, Michael Riesman & Michael Reisman - Rapid flashback montage of what happened to Terry Ives.
  • "No More" by Billie Holiday - Murray puts on a record to help him contemplate Nancy and Jonathan's revelations.

Chapter Six: The Spy

  • "Hammer to Fall" by Queen - Steve questions Dustin about Dart as he drives him home, then takes out his nail-bat.
  • "Where Django's At" by Cameron Brooks - Jonathan, Nancy and Murray create an assembly line to copy her recording and send it to various media outlets.
  • "There Is Frost On the Moon" by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra - Murray, Nancy and Jonathan have a drink to celebrate finishing their mailing campaign, then Murray questions Nancy and Jonathan's claim that they are not a couple.
  • "You Better Go Now" by Billie Holiday - Nancy and Jonathan contemplate Murray's words then end up meeting in the living room to express their how they don't believe what Murray said.
  • "Blue Bayou" by Roy Orbinson - Murray cooks breakfast for Nancy and Jonathan, then asks an awkward question on how Jonathan slept.
  • "Round and Round" by Ratt - As Billy pumps iron, he orders Max to answer the door; Max lies to Billy about who was at the door.

Chapter Seven: The Lost Sister

  • "Runaway" by Bon Jovi - Eleven gets off a bus in Chicago, to look for her other girl from Hawkins Lab.
  • "Outside the Realm" by Big Giant Circles - Kali demonstrates her powers for Eleven, then later tell her that being together makes her feel whole.
  • "Back To Nature" by Fad Gadget - Kali introduces Eleven to her crew.
  • "The Bank Robbery" by John Carpenter - Kali shows Eleven their information board; Eleven recognizes Ray and uses her powers to track his location.
  • "Dead End Justice" by The Runaways - Kali's crew agrees to go after Ray; montage of the group preparing for their mission, then stopping at a supermarket to stock up.
  • "Whisper to a Scream (Birds Fly)" by The Icicle Works - Eleven tells her bus companion that she's going to see her friends; end credits.

Chapter Eight: The Mind Flayer

  • "The Love You Save (May Be Your Own)" by Jack Cook - Max's mom and step-father arrive home and find Max's room empty with the window open.
  • "The Four Horseman" by Metallica - Billy listens to some music while smoking and getting ready for his date. His father and step-mum enter his room concerned for Max's whereabouts.
  • "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash - Jonathan plays a song that he and Will first listened to together: They then distract him while Chief Hopper figures out the Morse Code with Dustin, Lucas and Max.

Chapter Nine: The Gate

  • "The Way We Were" by Barbra Streisand - Karen is taking a bath when the doorbell rings. Ted is asleep and doesn't wake up after Karen calls for him to go to the door.
  • "I Do Believe (I Fell in Love) by Donna Summer - Karen dries off and goes downstairs to find Billy at the door. Billy flirts with Karen.
  • "I See Charcoal (You See Scarlet)" by Cameron Brooks - Billy beats up Steve at the Byers house when he finds out Max has been with the boys.
  • "Rare Bird" by Tangerine Dream - Murray watches the military leave Hawkins Lab and Bob finally has a funeral. Hoppe walks into a restaurant and meets Sam Owens.
  • "Jingle Bell Rock" by Bobby Helms - the boys get ready for the Snow Ball.
  • "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar - Steve drops Dustin off at the Snow Ball.
  • "Twist of Fate" by Olivia Newton-John - Dustin enters the Snow Ball and looks around the room.
  • "Time After Time" by Cyndi Lauper - Lucas asks Max to dance with him and a girl asks Will to dance with her. Dustin tries to ask several girls to dance with him and fails. Dustin ends up dancing with Nancy.
  • "Every Breath You Take" by The Police - While Joyce and Hopper are sharing a cigarette in the middle shcool parking lot, the song changes. Eleven walks into the Snow Ball and starts dancing with Mike.

References

  1. ""Stranger Things episode 5: The Duffer Brothers explain the show's soundtrack"" Entertainment Weekly. July 16, 2016.
  2. "“Stranger Things” Soundtracks Get Cassette Release"Pitchfork. June 8, 2017.
  3. "S U R V I V E on Stranger Things 2 and sculpting analogue worlds"The Vinyl Factory. March 15, 2017.

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