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Stranger Tones

Occasionally, this blog is relevant—really relevant. Like shilling for a new Netflix Original series relevant.


Stranger Things is a comfy creature feature throwback to the glorious ’80s with a strong Speilbergian vibe. The music also has a nice Carpenteresque feel to it.

John Carpenter often composed the music for his movies, with several iconic electronic soundtracks to his name such as Halloween and The Fog. In the ’80s, Carpenter was King of the Arpeggiator, as can be heard in The Thing and my personal fave, Big Trouble In Little China.

The Theme from Stranger Things opens with a synth heartbeat just like The Thing (actually written by Ennio Morricone to sound Carpenteresque), and there’s a nice smooth arpeggio of a C major 7th chord. I’ve often called this chord, the Chord of Love, but context is important. It takes on some of those qualities—mystery and longing, but the lack of progression, also gives it a stalking, foreboding quality like being pursued by a hungry CGI monster. The overtones of the 7th, the B, add some Lydian flavor to the theme with an implicit F#, even though there are no fourths provided. The Lydian mode is often used to evoke the far reaches of outer space and inner dimensions.

(Click on the score to play/stop. Sorry, I couldn’t make a perfect loop in Flash.)

Simple. Haunting. Effective. Very Carpenteresque. No melody. Just arpeggios. His soundtracks were sound-oriented rather than musical.

The ’80s now seem like how the ’50s seemed in the ’80s. Anyway, Stranger Things was a good watch. I definitely recommend it, if you’re going to Netflix and chill with that special someone. It captures that wonderful magic of youth and adventure from The Goonies and E.T., which kinda makes me think I missed out on something, like young hot teen love. Or maybe just D&D with the bros. Or Winona.