Music review: Ingrid Michaelson - ‘Stranger Songs’

With her latest album, Ingrid Michaelson conveys her love for the series “Stranger Things.”

The popular Netflix show recently unveiled its third season to enthusiastic fans eagerly wanting to find out what supernatural happenings await the young group of friends in their rural Indiana town.

With “Stranger Songs,” Michaelson delivers 11 tracks that examine the show’s characters and reflect their current relationships while they navigate the innocence and awkwardness of teenage life as a variety of bizarre occurrences threaten their normal and boring community.

The new arrangements highlight universal themes of love and acceptance and possess a nostalgic feel of the 1980s through a delightful blending of sweet pop stylings and smooth electric synth, fronted by Michaelson’s dazzling voice.

“Freak Show” opens the album and sets the mood with a positive message for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or was treated differently from the others. The tune aptly describes how the show’s quirky friends look after one another and take pride in being unique from the rest of the pack.

“Young and in Love” explores the budding romances materializing within the group as well as expands on the topics of inclusion and security found in the track opener as Michaelson sings, “We’re never alone/If we got each other, we can save the world.”

Once love is discovered, you always run the risk of heartbreak. “Jealous” details the pain and ugly feelings that come to the surface when a relationship cracks. The loss of a first love is so dramatic. Michaelson spotlights the transition from joy to sorrow when she declares, “I used to be so sweet/Now I see a change coming over me/You’re breaking my heart/I knew from the start that you’d be the end of me.”

“Pretty” addresses finding inner beauty as opposed to spending so much time and effort trying to perfect an outward appearance based on what society attempts to dictate to us disguised as the cultural norm.

A mother’s struggle to stay connected with her son is outlined on “Christmas Lights.” The tender number describes the promise of a parent wanting to make it right when things go wrong and to always be there no matter what the situation.

“Take Me Home” is the lush closer that channels the warm feeling of recalling the wonderful memories of being young and the experiences that last a lifetime.

“Stranger Songs” is an enchanting companion piece to the series that inspired its creation.

Clint Rhodes is the Herald-Standard music reviewer. He can be reached at

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