The Soundtrack To the Future We Were Supposed To Get, Or: “Stranger Things” got me listening to synthwave

I can imagine the elevator pitch for Stranger Things going something like this:

“Okay, we’re going to mash together Escape From Witch Mountain, It, The Goonies, and E.T. into an eight-episode miniseries with a retro 80’s soundtrack…”

The series lives up to its promise (though unlike all but It, I’d give it a PG-13 or maybe even a soft R for occasional language, some teenage sexuality, and some alcohol use, and violence; watch with your kids). While there’s “kids in peril”, the kids still have agency like, say, in The Goonies, rather than being a MacGuffin that someone else has to save.

But the soundtrack. Oh myyyyy, the soundtrack. Aside from the pop and alternative hits of the time period, the title track (apparently by the Austin band S U R V I V E) is just a slice of synthwave awesome.

After watching, I found myself wanting more of that kind of music. And luckily, it exists. And unlike mere nostalgia, where the originals aren’t quite as great as you remember Check out these tracks from Droid Bishop (who has more recent work on Soundcloud), Lazerhawk, and Mega Drive to whet your appetite, then devour the full albums for the soundtrack for the future we were supposed to get.