Happy Monday, LemonWire readers. Today we’ll be looking at the song “Moving Stereo”, by The Cars, as featured in the third season of Stranger Things.
By now, you probably know that we like to group our songs of the day by the week, usually with some kind of unifying genre or theme. Well, the theme this week is the ’80s. More specifically, a handful of ’80s songs that were featured in the “Stranger Things” Season 3 soundtrack.
If your extended Fourth of July weekend was also spent binging the most recent season of Netflix’s most popular, nostalgic horror series, you’ll likely remember some of the songs we cover this week. And if not, then hurry up and finish it already, because it’s pretty solid.
Since we’ve got a “Stranger Things” theme going this week, we’ll briefly discuss each song’s placement in the show. We’ll try and keep it spoiler free, or at least give a heads up before any big spoilers.
That being said, our first song comes from the very first episode. So as far as spoilers go, you don’t need to be worried.
“Suzie, Do You Copy?”
In “Stranger Things”Season 3, Episode 1, “Suzie, Do You Copy?”, we hear “Moving In Stereo” at the community pool in Hawkins, Indiana, during a scene preceded by a group of swimsuit-clad moms adjusting their posture and waiting anxiously for…someone.
That someone, of course, is none other than the mullet man Billy, a lifeguard at the pool and bonafide hunk, with a pair of aviators to complete the look. The new-wave groove of”Moving In Stereo” kicks in as Billy walks across the pool to start his shift, drawing the eyes of all the ladies.
This scene is a direct reference to “Moving In Stereo”‘s use in “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. In that cult classic, it’s used to set the sexy tone of Judge Reinhold’s character’s fantasy of the bikini-clad Phoebe Cates. The scene has been parodied over the years, but “Stranger Things” puts a nice twist on its history, where the hunky jock is the one being objectified.
Moving In Stereo
The third season of “Stranger Things” is set in the summer of 1985. At that point, The Cars’ “Moving In Stereo” (which released in 1978) had already been out for seven years. While it wasn’t a single from their self-titled debut album, “Moving In Stereo” did get a lot of airtime on the radio. It’s still surprising that it wasn’t a single, given that it’s one of The Cars more popular and well-known songs.
“Moving In Stereo” is one of those songs that manages to perfectly capture a specific tone. In this case, that tone is “cool”. The new wave groove, fuzz-filled guitar, and bright synths all come together to make one track that just oozes cool. Not only is it supremely cool, but “Moving In Stereo” also makes for a perfect summer song. It’s one killer track, and a highlight moment from the first episode of “Stranger Things”, Season 3.
Despite its drilled-in association with adolescent fantasies, the lyrics to “Moving In Stereo” are more therapeutic than I was expecting. The song describes the difficulties of going through the day-to-day life and dealing with emotional problems, relating them to working in a studio. But don’t take my word for it. Let’s look at the first verse and see.
The first line, “Life’s the same, I’m moving in stereo”, sets up the connection between life and songwriting. The second, “Life’s the same except for my shoes”, could either refer to looking at life from another’s point of view, or recognizing how meaningless material objects are to personal, subjective states. The last two lines seem to underline this thought.
“Life’s the same, you’re shaking like tremolo
Life’s the same, it’s all inside you”
In the second verse, we’re given even more evidence that “Moving In Stereo” is about dealing with emotional turbulence. “It’s so easy to blow up your problems / It’s so easy to play up your breakdown”, makes this pretty clear.
The last two lines, however, give us two metaphors, “It’s so easy to fly through a window /
It’s so easy to fool with the sound”. The last one stays in line with songwriting, where if you play with the sound too much, you can end up losing yourself in the process of trying to make it perfect, and ruin it instead.
That about wraps up our discussion for today. I hope you enjoyed our look at The Cars’ “Moving In Stereo” from Season 3 Episode 1 of “Stranger Things”. We’ll be looking at more stellar ’80s songs from the Stranger Things soundtrack this week, so be sure to stick around.