Indie-pop, singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson has just released an exquisite new album called Stranger Songs on which every song is inspired by the Netflix series Stranger Things. The album came out just before the new season of Stranger Things started so a lot of the references were lost on me until I started watching the new season and was thus reintroduced to the series.
One of my favorite songs is “Freak Show,” a throbbing, infectious pop song that welcomes you to the whole Stranger Things experience. Some of its parts remind me of the score to the series. Especially the first season. Or maybe that’s just because that was the first time I heard the series’ unique ’80s-inspired score by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein.
My second favorite song on the album is “Hate You,” a very subtle song where even at a normal volume you can barely hear Ingrid sing the verses. But when you turn it up and do, it’s a syrupy sweet, young love song. The chorus goes, “I don’t hate you / I don’t hate you / I just hate how much I don’t hate you.” I don’t know if it’s from Michael or Elle’s point of view, but it’s surely about them. A first love type of song for sure.
Another gem is the ballad “Christmas Lights.” It feels a little weird listening to it in July, but if there wasn’t a song about the Christmas lights, which play a key factor in the first season of the show, then something would be missing.
The final song I have to mention is another Michael and Elle song, “Young And In Love.” It’s the catchy single that’s out right now and one of Ingrid’s career-best singles. On a career-best album. Who knew it would take a quirky series like Stranger Things to bring about her magnum opus.