Stranger Things has quickly become one of the most-watched series on Netflix, beat only by the popular television series titled Squid Game.
From the nostalgic 80s setting to the fantastic costuming to the believable chemistry among the cast to the deliberate character development and artistic direction, Stanger Things has gained a huge following in the wake of their recent release of season 4, volumes 1 and 2.
One of the best parts about Stanger Things is the music, perfectly curated to each scene. The score is undoubtedly the best part of Stranger Things, setting the mood and tone for each episode while adding to the sci-fi horror feel that encapsulates the story.
With each season of Stranger Things, there are nostalgic, catchy, and amazing songs that add to the series, almost as if the music is its own character.
The show’s longtime music supervisor Nora Felder spoke to Billboard about the importance of the music throughout the show. She said, “One of the wonders of Stranger Things is that it has a way of connecting each of the songs to its multigenerational audience around the world in very unique ways that reflects the power of a meaningful, timeless song — and how its significance can be revived and reconceived when it is married to a remarkable story such as Stranger Things.”
Here are some of the best songs featured on Stanger Things:
- The Clash, “Should I Stay or Should I Go”
This popular song was heavily featured throughout the first season of Stranger Things, taking the place of Will Byers after his mysterious disappearance in the first episode. Will often sang this song while he was in the Upside Down and uses this song to communicate through dimensions.
- Ray Parker Jr., “Ghostbusters”
For the Stranger Things Halloween episode in season 2, fans adored the Ghostbusters tribute as they watched the monster-hunting group of four (Mike, Will, Dustin, and Lucas) dress in costume for school—only to be the only ones wearing costumes. This music adds a level of light-heartedness as viewers are anxiously wondering what is going on with Will Byers after his return from the Upside Down.
- The Police, “Every Breath You Take”
At the end of season two, Mike and Eleven get to finally dance together at the Snow Ball Dance with their friends. This song is played during their solo dance. It was later revealed by the show’s creators that the song’s creepy lyrics were an intentional indication that the Upside Down monsters were not done tormenting the kids or Hawkins.
- Madonna, “Material Girl”
This song plays in season 3, episode 2 while Max and Eleven go on a shopping spree at the new commodity in Hawkins, the Starcourt Mall. This nostalgic scene is fun and witty, reminding many of their own teenage years. This is when both female characters bond with a sense of girl power! Madonna’s “Material Girl” was the perfect track for this scene.
- Kate Bush, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)”
In Stranger Things’ newest season, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” is featured a lot after Max discovers that she can use her favorite song to open up a portal back to reality when haunted by the main villain, Vecna. Since the release of season 4, this iconic song has gained popularity across multiple social media platforms, marking itself as a trending sound on TikTok and Instagram. After nearly 37 years since its release, this song has quickly climbed the charts, peaking at No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
- Metallica, “Master of Puppets”
In the final episode of season four, the beloved character Eddie Munson had his last hurrah, claiming to be the most metal rock guitarist of all time. This D&D-loving character meets his end after playing this epic song in order to distract a horde of evil creatures from going after his friends in the Upside Down. Eddie Munson’s heroic act was accompanied by this amazing guitar solo. It wasn’t just Stanger Things fans who were geeking out over this tense and heroic scene. After volume 2’s release, Metallica commented on the scene saying, “The way The Duffer Brothers have incorporated music into Stranger Things has always been next level, so we were beyond psyched for them to not only include ‘Master of Puppets’ in the show but to have such a pivotal scene built around it.”