5 Majestic Soundtracks To Celebrate the Music Of 'Stranger Things'
By now, the show Stranger Things is inescapable. Open any social media platform or pretty much any website and you will likely be hit with a hurricane of accolades for the Netflix original series. From the praise Winona Ryder is receiving for her incredible “comeback” role, to the swarm of love Barb has gotten from the gay community, there are many things to obsess over about the show—not least of all being its breakout soundtrack. Composed by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the Texas band S U R V I V E, the ambient, synth-heavy tracks bring to mind the likes of Italian musicians Giorgio Moroder and Goblin. Masterminded as a two-part album, the first half of the soundtrack was just digitally released and is nothing short of splendid. While we wait for the second volume to drop on August 19th, we’ve compiled a list of five other TV soundtracks that are equally delicious. Just remember to turn the volume up.
The Sopranos – David Chase
The Sopranos broke the mold of what a TV show could be in every possible way, including its brilliant use of music. Do you remember, for example, the scene where they transition from Steely Dan’s “Dirty Work” to a mash-up of Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme song and The Police’s “Every Breath You Take”? Because we do. We actually think about that scene more often than we’d like to admit. And who can forget the show’s glorious finale, a rollercoaster of anxiety to the beat of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing”? From the now iconic title sequence of Tony Soprano driving home (r.i.p James Gandolfini) to the show’s last possible second, every scene was majestically conceived and aided with carefully selected music choices by none other than creator/writer David Chase.
The O.C.– Alexandra Patsavas
It’s safe to say the majority of millennials not only blasted the six volumes of Music From The O.C., but also—if they’re anything like us—probably tried to dramatize their teenage years with this very soundtrack. The show became an immediate sensation and is still one of the most popular shows to come out of the 2000s—not only was the soap opera vibe enough to get you hooked, but the show was made infinitesimally better due to its music, courtesy of the brilliant Alexandra Patsavas. Aside from giving us some of the most intelligent, albeit dramatic, music-scene pairings (the examples are endless) and a theme song that was practically written for karaoke, she also helped launch the careers of some of the best indie bands in the scene, including The Killers, Rooney, and, of course, the Seth Cohen favorite, Death Cab For Cutie. Here we cooooooooooome!
Twin Peaks – Angelo Badalamenti
Of course a cult show as iconic as the David Lynch and Mark Frost opus, Twin Peaks had to have an equally fantastic soundtrack, and American composer Angelo Badalamenti delivered. From the first few notes of the soundtrack, welcoming you to the eerie, anything-but-dull, small town of Twin Peaks, Washington, to love ballads featuring Julee Cruise’s beautiful crystalline voice, and the spookier, darker songs, Badalamenti’s song choices encapsulated what the series is all about. With confirmation that Badalamenti is on board to score the 18-episode revival of the series, we have even more reason to be excited about a Twin Peaks return. For now, we’ll be content with playing the already existing tracks on loop as we sip on a delicious cup of David Lynch Organic Coffee—after all, you have to give yourself a present every day.
The Knick – Cliff Martinez
Cliff Martinez is one of the most talented composers of all time. The Bronx native first started doing film scores in 1989, when he collaborated with Steven Soderbergh for Sex, Lies, and Videotape, but is perhaps most popularly known for his lauded work as the composer for the Drive soundtrack—which is widely regarded as one of the best in cinematic history. With a quintessential sound that has revolutionized modern music (seriously, when you hear a Cliff song you immediately know), Martinez’s soundtrack for The Knick is a delectable continuation of all his work—not to mention another brilliant collab between the musician and Soderbergh, who is a director on the show. The Knick is a seriously under-appreciated show and definitely worth checking out if you have the stomach for graphic content or just a lot of love for Clive Owen. Swoon.
Mad Men – Alexandra Patsavas
Alexandra Patsavas is so talented that we had to feature her twice. Mad Men, like the rest of the shows on this list, belongs to an important pocket of cult-content, and is widely regarded as one of the best series of all time. Featuring incredible performances by the likes of the ridiculously hot Jon Hamm and a creative team that’s largely responsible for retro’s comeback in fashion, the show is also celebrated for its impeccable music selection. Sure, it has a leg up in that the Mad Men universe took place during one of the best moments in music history, but Patsavas took what could have been cliché or obvious choices and instead delivered some moments worthy of being rewound and watched over and over again.
BONUS: Breaking Bad – Thomas Golubić
Breaking Bad is another show that is included in every roundup for best TV series, and just like the majority of the shows on this list, it’s for the same reasons: storyline, writing, acting, and, not least important, music. Thomas Golubić, the show’s music supervisor, continuously proved how much more clever he is than the majority of the world, with a selection of music that elevated every scene and was oftentimes powerfully subtle. Many (many!) scenes stand out for their song choice, but instead of going on and on about them, we might just binge watch the whole series again. Why not.
Images via Stranger Things.
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