Since the release of Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 on May 27th, the hit show has consistently been #1 on Netflix as fans await the next installment, airing on July 1st. In fact, season 4 has broken Netflix records, now holding the title of most hours streamed during the premiere weekend. While the show itself has been praised for its incredible acting and storyline, the temporal setting of the 80s has also generated buzz relating to the show’s inclusion of various music throwbacks.
Gen Z young adults, with parents typically within the millennial range and therefore teenagers of the 80s, maybe regularly familiar with top 80s artists such as Michael Jackson and Madonna. However, the release of Stranger Things Season 4 coupled with the popularity of TikTok among Gen Z led to an unlikely resurgence of two 80s songs: “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush and “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth.
Certain songs have risen in popularity strictly due to their circulation as popular TikTok “sounds,” and now almost 2 million TikTok videos have been created using the songs “Running Up That Hill” and “Pass the Dutchie.” The majority of Gen Z TikTok users only discovered these two songs because of Stranger Things, massively increasing their notoriety with current teens and young adults.
The use of these two songs and other 80s classics in Stranger Things has not only taken TikTok by storm but also has resulted in a surge of Spotify and Apple Music streams, specifically Kate Bush’s 1985 hit. Her song “Running Up That Hill” takes on an important role in the show for the character Max Mayfield and is heavily featured in the fourth episode, “Dear Billy.” Within the past couple of days, Bush’s hit has soared to #1 on the U.K. Singles Chart, breaking multiple records in the process. At age 63, she is now the oldest female to lead the chart, beating Cher’s record set in 1998 with the release of “Believe.” What is extra incredible about this achievement is that Kate Bush’s popularity is not coming from the release of a new song after many years, but simply from the revival of a song from 37 years ago.
Based on the increased popularity and streaming of “Running Up That Hill” and “Pass the Dutchie” thanks to Stranger Things S4 Part 1, viewers can hope that Part 2 will include more hits that are unknown to Gen Z viewers, introducing young adults to new music and giving older artists the recognition they deserve.