Perhaps you’re aware that the television program “Stranger Things” is set in the decade of the 1980s.
If the copious cans of New Coke and neon clothing aren’t enough of a clue, the show has also stuffed its runtime with plenty of era-appropriate tunes. The opening episodes are drenched in ’80s standbys, with the first handful of chapters backed by familiar hits and less-obvious tracks from the time. Bonus points to the show for picking a Corey Hart song that isn’t “Sunglasses at Night,” even if the pull of the Stray Cats is pretty much inevitable.
Not all these tunes come from the decade in which the show’s set. For every Huey Lewis track, there’s one from Jim Croce. For every Wham! classic, there’s a chorus of bygone well-wishers singing a song that a Kubrick classic already nabbed for its own. (And it takes this season all of about five minutes to toss in some choral backing that isn’t even in English!)
There are some curveballs in this season, too. Even if the show uses the most stereotypical “sophisticated classical music” cue of all time, there are some fun jazz, punk, and Muzak flavors mixed in for good measure. Listen closely as you’re watching and you might be able to pick out the scores from a couple beloved ’80s movies in some key scenes.
Beyond the source music used for the season, this may be the best season yet for Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein, the show’s go-to composers. A good portion of the season’s best, most emotional scenes aren’t backed by chart-toppers from the day, but the pair’s synth-infused score. It can be playful, heartfelt, and ominous whenever the story calls for it.
From the show’s iconic opening credits music to the fantastic cover that closes out the season, there’s plenty to pick out from “Stranger Things” Season 3, regardless of how the story on screen plays out.
See (and listen to) the full soundtrack below:
Got a favorite track from the season? Anything we didn’t catch? Let us know in the comments.
“Stranger Things” Season 3 is now available to stream on Netflix.
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