Since 2016, stranger things went beyond recreating 1980s pop culture through its characters, storyline influences, and music. The show made a habit of incorporating era-appropriate needle drops in almost every episode, but as the series progressed the songs became more and more an integral part of the show. , reflecting the characters and pushing the story forward while highlighting some of the greatest bands from years past. From punk hits to fantasy ballads to metal gigs, these are the most important songs on stranger things.
“Should I stay or should I go?” Is Will’s favorite song
A flashback during season 1’s “The Weirdo on Maple Street” establishes the relationship between the Byers brothers. Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) introduces Will (Noah Schnapp) to “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, the third single from The Clash’s 1982 album battle rock. As they listen, Jonathan assures his brother that it’s okay for him to enjoy his nerdy hobbies more than “normal stuff” like sports. Will appreciates this, and they rock a bit of punk together. It’s a small scene, but it shows their bond and makes Will’s disappearance all the more devastating.
“Should I stay or should I go?” becomes Will de facto theme song and recurs throughout the series. It explodes into the Byers household during “The Body”, when Will has to convince his mother, Joyce (Winona Ryder), that he is still alive, and he finds out singing it later in the same episode. The Party reenacts him in Season 2’s “The Mind Flayer” when they try to communicate with Will while he is possessed by the titular monster.
“You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” shows a new side of Hopper
It is rare on stranger things to see Jim Hopper (David Harbour) really happy, but it happens once in a while and usually it’s marked by this song. In season 2’s “The Polliwog,” a flashback shows Hopper and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) fixing up his cabin, so they can live together in a safe place. Hopper also decides to share one of his favorite numbers with El – “You Don’t Mess Around with Jim”, the lead single from Jim Croce’s 1972 album of the same name. He performs it again a season later in “The Mallrats” as he celebrates threatening Mike (Finn Wolfhard) not to see El again.
“You better go now” confirms a Stranger Thing’s ship
Whereas Stranger Things’ The main love triangle is perhaps a tricky subject, providing the show with some of its strongest moments. In “The Spy”, Jonathan and Nancy (Natalia Dyer) visit Murray Bauman’s (Brett Gelman) home to seek his help in bringing down Hawkins Lab. They end up having to spend the night there, even after Murray points out the attraction between the two. Jonathan and Nancy do their best to ignore their shared tension as the score plays Billie Holiday’s 1945 single ‘You Better Go Now’ until it becomes too much, and they finally kiss and spend the night together .
‘Every Breath You Take’ Ends Stranger Things Season 2
At the end of Season 1, Mike asked Eleven to accompany him to Hawkins Middle School’s Winter Prom. She eventually accepts the offer for the season 2 finale, “The Gate”. The two, along with Lucas (Caleb McLoughlin) and Max (Sadie Sink), slow dance to “Every Breath You Take”, the lead single from The Police’s 1983 album Synchronicity. It’s a touching moment as the kids are finally allowed to celebrate after closing the door to the Upside-Down and shutting down the Hawkins Lab experiments. However, the “I’ll be watching you” line takes on a more ominous tone when viewers see the Mind Flayer in the Upside-Down, hidden above Hawkins Middle.
“We’ll meet again” teases The Mind Flayer and is darkly ironic
At the end of Season 3’s “The Sauna Test”, the Party knows that the Mind Flayer is once again active in Hawkins and that Billy is under its sway. They try to exorcise Billy, but he escapes and retreats to Brimborn Steel Mill to tend to his injuries. Another of the Flayed, Heather (Francesca Reale), promises Billy that their mission is not over and that even if one of them dies, replacements await. The camera then pans back to reveal several Hawkins residents under the Flayer’s control as the soundtrack plays “We’ll Meet Again” by Vera Lynn.
Originally recorded in 1939, “We’ll Meet Again” has become an iconic part of WWII Britain, as it resonated with soldiers setting out to fight the Axis. However, its use in stranger things has more in common with the 1964 dark comedy ending Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, which ends with the song playing over footage of a global nuclear holocaust. Either way, the song is used ironically to show how screwed up the heroes are without them realizing it.
‘The Neverending Story’ Saves Hawkins
Things are dire by the time of the Season 3 finale, “The Battle of Starcourt.” The Mind Flayer has built himself a huge avatar and hunts Eleven, who has lost her powers; meanwhile, half the party is trapped in the Starcourt Mall by Billy. Joyce, Hopper and Murray have also infiltrated the Soviet base under the mall but need a password to go any further, so Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) calls his girlfriend, Suzie (Gabriella Pizzolo), to get help. ‘assistance. She agrees, but on one condition.
So, in the midst of all this danger, the pair sing “The NeverEnding Story,” Limahl’s title track from the 1984 film of the same name. It’s an odd change in tone to say the least, but it works — partly because that Matarazzo and Pizzolo are both great singers, but also because the song and its interpretation offer a moment of lightness and hope in a dark and desperate time.
“Running Up That Hill” Saves Max’s Life
Billy’s death in Season 3 hit Max hard, and his anguish made him the perfect target for Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower), an Upside-Down psychic bogeyman. When Max was in Vecna’s thrall, the Party pulled her out by playing her favorite song, “Running Up That Hill”, the lead single from Kate Bush’s 1985 album. love dogs. Since its use in “Dear Billy”, interest in the song has skyrocketed, with streams increasing by 9,900% on Spotify in the US and it being re-entered into the Billboard Hot 100 at #8, becoming Bush’s highest charting single.
“Master of Puppets” rips upside down
stranger thingsThe Season 4 finale focused on the Party’s all-out assault on Vecna in Upside-Down. However, he was surrounded by a swarm of deadly bats. To lure them in, Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) plugged in his NJ Warlock guitar and gave an epic rendition of “Master of Puppets”, the title track from Metallica’s seminal 1986 album. to the others to attack Vecna, though he sacrificed himself to give them a better chance. Like “Running Up That Hill”, “Master of Puppets” came back into the public consciousness with a bang thanks to stranger things. The song not only became a streaming hit, but Metallica itself paid tribute to Eddie’s performance at Lollapalooza and even performed with Quinn backstage.
stranger things is available to stream on Netflix.