Does Netflix's Stranger Things make you feel like you're wrapped in a blanket of sweet memories of the 1980s suburban youth you never had?
You're not alone—Ingrid Michaelson feels the same way, and she's written a whole album about it.
Today, Michaelson released the first track off of her Stranger Things-inspired LP, Stranger Songs. "Missing You" borrows muffled synth-driven arpeggiations from the show's theme music, and layers her crystal-clear vocal tones high above them.
Lyrically, the song—which is a reference to the character Nancy and her fraught love triangle with moody dreamboat Jonathan and popular, pure-hearted Steve—offers the kind of complex portrayal of romantic tension that Michaelson has always been an expert at painting in her music. "When he's kissing me I'm missing you," she sings. "I'm in his bed feeling like a stranger."
Ingrid Michaelson - Missing You (Official Lyric Video) www.youtube.com
With its 80s-style beat and grainy bassline, "Missing You" is a euphoric and sugar-sweet song that could easily soundtrack a triumphant bike ride in a Stranger Things final scene, just after Eleven has returned to sweep Mike off his feet and save all of Hawkins.
Michaelson's music has received widespread critical success; two of her singles have gone platinum, and all seven of her albums were released on her own record label, Cabin 24. But after the release of her last album, she found herself seeking inspiration—and discovered it unexpectedly in Netflix's smash-hit show about parallel dimensions and glowing Christmas lights.
Ingrid Michaelson via the Wall Street Journal
All in all, her music is a natural match for Stranger Things' softly lit nostalgia. "I've already made seven records, I have a lot to say. But I've said it so much from the brain and mind and soul of Ingrid Michaelson—I wanted to create something through a different lens," the musician stated. "There's something about Stranger Things that's really comforting, it brings me back to my childhood. It's the best kind of escapism and I find myself seeking that now more than ever. I took inspiration from the show and the characters and all these ideas started to come to me. Every song on the record includes a reference from the show, some more specific than others, but all of the themes are universal—these are feelings everyone has."
Regarding her love of the show, she told Entertainment Weekly, "I've always longed to re-live childhood memories. There's no word in the English language to describe what it is that I'm feeling. But it goes deeper than nostalgia — this desire to quite literally be able to go back in time and re-live those moments again because the memories are so wonderful and wrap you up with a warm feeling."
Stranger Things isn't the only beloved work of escapism that Michaelson will be lending her ear and lyrical sensibilities to in the near future. She has also written the score for a musical adaption of The Notebook, and the first performances will debut in Poughkeepsie, New York this July at Vassar College (the same place Lin-Manuel Miranda debuted his Hamilton Mixtape way back in 2013).
Ingrid Michaelson Reveals She's Working On 'The Notebook' Musical | TODAY www.youtube.com
Both The Notebook and Stranger Things are portals into magical, dreamlike worlds of passion, nostalgia, and parallel dimensions. With her penchant for spinning reality into perfect rhymes and whimsical melodies, Michaelson seems like one of the best people around to turn both of them into song.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.
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