The fervor may finally be dying down, but for a hot month the internet was positively buzzing about Stranger Things, Netflix’s ’80s-soaked thriller series that expertly blended all of the audio/video cues that defined the decade.
But when I speak of cues that defined “The ’80s,” in this case I mean the ’80s that was still kinda ’70s, with lots of earth-toned interior decorating and an American citizenship that wasn’t quite yet swimming in newfound credit card debt and celebrating unrestrained excess. That ’80s era is fun too – but it’s well-explored territory at this point.
And out of this late ’70s, early-to-mid ’80s era came a sound… a warm, almost glowing noise gave every song an unearthly (yet comforting) aura. I don’t know music history at all, or when the synththesizer truly came into being, but I do know the type of music people created in this time period is among my favorite of all time – and synth band SURVIVE created a top-notch homage / representation of that ’80s sound with their Stranger Things soundtrack.
The official Stranger Things OST is sort of out now – part one is on iTunes with a physical release coming on September 16th. Part two will be online on August 19th, with another physical release after that. A bit complex… but for the time being let’s just enjoy that gat damn opening credits again…
Watching that opening eight times in a month reminded me that I actually have a reasonably good Spotify playlist loaded with similar synth sounds – it’s called “Steamy 80s Sunset” and can be found right underneath the words I’m typing at this very moment.
What is a “steamy 80s sunset?” Generally speaking, it has to be synth and robotic, but also needs an edge to it, something of a menacing nature or ominous tone. That doesn’t mean every single track is downtrodden and suggestive of a Terminator-like apocalypse… but it does need to invoke imagery of a Camero screaming past a bundle of silhouetted palm trees in a Miami sunset. Is the driver up to no good? Is he out for a legal night on the town… or is he perhaps an android who’s just stolen his maker’s car? Who knows! Let the songs guide you.
I feel obliged to end this SMALL sampling with a John Carpenter track. His sound fueled a lot of what we all consider the “80s sound,” especially when it comes to movie soundtracks, so if you’re at all into the modern bands listed above, check out his ’80s work as well as the “Lost Themes” album embedded above. The Vortex track is so good!
Again, I’m no expert in this field. I just know the kind of music I love, and wanted to share the Spotify playlist with y’all in case it leads you to new music. And if you have suggestions PLEASE comment below!