5 awesomely 80s tributes to the stranger things soundtrack

From Wiz Khalifa's synth-rap hat-tip to DJ Yoda's eclectic 52-minute mixtape tribute.

by Hannah Ongley
20 September 2016, 9:10am

There are many things that Stranger Things has reaffirmed our faith in, including shameless Spielberg nostalgia and a woman's career prospects in Hollywood after the age of 40. The hit Netflix sci-fi series is also responsible for some pretty game-changing fan art. And while there's plenty to be said for retro 8-bit pixel art and #JusticeForBarb paintings, some of the most impressive tributes have been to Stranger Things' otherworldly 80s soundtrack by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of four-piece Austin synth outfit S U R V I V E. From remixes and samples of the theme song to entire mixtapes inspired by the era, here are the five best takes on the 80s epic we've heard so far.

Wiz Khalifa, Stranger Things
While Dr. Chorizo's R.I.P. Barb birthed the lyrical earworm "I'm sorry that monster rolled up on you so hard," Wiz Khalifa's homage to the Stranger Things opening theme is surely the synth-rap banger of the moment. The E. Dan, Big Jerm, and Sayez-produced track's lyrics won't sound totally random to fans unfamiliar with the Upside Down: "It's like I'm talking to a stranger / Now everybody getting stranger / They're stranger / I think I'm in danger." But what it lacks in overt references to Barb or Millie Bobby Brown, it makes up for in very thematic cover art starring Wiz and his guest J.R. Donato on BMX bikes.

DJ Yoda, The Stranger Things Mixtape
DJ Yoda likes Stranger Things so much that he made a 52-minute mixtape inspired by the series. Opening with a requisite sample of the haunting theme before segueing into tracks both featured in and inspired by the show, it's an eclectic and upbeat way to indulge your 80s nostalgia. Toto's Africa, Dolly Parton's The Bargain Store, The Clash's Should I Stay Or Should I Go, and Tangerine Dream's Beach Scene all get airtime, as does John Carpenter's seminal 1981 soundtrack from Escape from New York. "I made you a new mixtape," Jonathan Byers tells Will at the start of the mix. "There's some stuff on there I think you really might like." He's not wrong.

Tangerine Dream, Stranger Things Theme
S U R V I V E's Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein have been as open about their inspirations as the show's creators have been with their cinematic references. One of their biggest influences has been legendary German synth/prog act Tangerine Dream — hence their inclusion on the DJ Yoda mixtape — and they've now returned the love by covering the Stranger Things score.

Luke Million, Stranger Things Theme (Extended)
Synth-obsessed Australian producer Luke Million first tested the waters with a short viral video of his Stranger Things score rework, before diving deep into the Upside Down with an extended version last month. The electro-funk cover is strangely perfect for soundtracking both horror movies and outer space pool parties, though the most impressive part is probably — somehow — the addition of even more synths than the original. As demonstrated in the producer's short video, Luke Million has quite an impressive library of them.

Deadmau5, Main Theme remix
Progressive house producer Deadmau5 took to live streaming platform Twitch last month to perform a three-hour(!) tribute to the Stranger Things score. Considering the sonic odyssey was created from scratch using only (the very best) analog equipment, it's really quite spectacular. 


Text Hannah Ongley

stranger things