The 10 Best Songs Used in the Show

The fifth season of Netflix’s record-breaking sci-fi series Stranger Things isn’t expected to arrive on the streaming service until at least 2024, giving fans a lot of time to rewatch the series, looking for hidden details and missed plot points.

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One thing every fan of the show is aware of, though, is just how excellent the music choices are. The show’s songs play a huge role in setting the mood for key scenes, prompting us to feel joy, nostalgia, and sometimes even misery.


“Stranger Things” — Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon

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We can’t talk about the music of Stranger Things without mentioning the iconic title track. The track is filled with suspense and mystery, perfectly introducing audiences to the world of Hawkins and giving them a clue as to the tone of what they’re about to watch.

The theme music was composed by Michael Stein and Kyle Dixon, known for being in the band Survive, who also composed the rest of the show’s score. The duo deserves a lot of credit for establishing the spooky, often menacing score that amplifies the show into greatness.

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?” — The Clash

Charlie Heaton and Noah Schnapp as Jonathan and Will in Stranger Things
Image via Netflix

“Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash is undoubtedly the most pivotal song of the first season. Not only is it an excellent song that’s still incredibly popular to this day, but it also featured in a critical scene highlighting how incredibly close Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) and Will (Noah Schnapp) are as brothers.

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The song also made a return later in the series. Will used the song to keep himself going while he was trapped in the Upside Down, which also helped confirm to his Mom and friends that he was still alive. Fans are hoping Will gets an equally strong arc in season five to the ones he enjoyed earlier in the show.

“Every Breath You Take” — The Police

Stranger Things Kids

Isn’t it interesting how a song can seem so cheerful one minute and then so sinister the next? That was certainly the case for “Every Breath You Take by The Police,” the song chosen for the final moments of the season two finale.

At first, the song signaled a return to normality and brighter days ahead for the gang of beloved characters. Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) shared their first kiss. Max (Sadie Sinkand LucasCaleb McLaughlin) dance together. Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) rocks his cool new hairdo. But things turn sinister as we’re transported to the Upside Down to see that the Mind Flayer is still at large. Talk about a song for every occasion.

“Rock You Like a Hurricane” — Scorpions

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Stranger Things has an incredible way of introducing new characters. They are almost always introduced alongside a song that links either to their character, the impact they will have on the plot, or, ideally, both. The latter is true for the introduction of Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery), which was accompanied by “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by The Scorpions.

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The song not only describes Billy, who seems to rock everybody he meets in one way or another, but it also hints that his introduction is not good for Hawkins. Something later confirmed by his villainous turn. Though it’s unlikely Montgomery will play Billy again, he will soon be seen in Went Up The Hill.

“You Don’t Miss Around With Jim” — Jim Croce


Jim Hopper (David Harbor) is not a well-tempered man. We’ve seen him fly off the handle at just about anything, and it certainly isn’t a pretty sight when he finds something to be mad about. This makes the scene in which he gleefully sings along to “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” by Jim Croce an absolute delight.

Having ensured that El and Mike won’t spend much time together anymore, Hopper allows himself a moment of sheer joy. It’s clear that Hopper is singing about himself. He’s won the round and won’t be pushed around by teenagers anymore. Be warned, Mike, you don’t mess around with Jim Hopper.

“The First I Love You” — Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein

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Image via Netflix

Mike and Eleven have not enjoyed the smoothest of relationships thus far. Whether they’re being chased by Demogorgons or struggling to express their feelings, there’s always a new problem right around the corner. This only made the scene where they finally exchange those three magic words all the more moving.

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“The First I Love You” by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein is a moving synth medley. The song plays as Mike and Eleven finally declare their feelings for one another, making the scene even more emotional and touching. It may not have been written in the eighties, but it feels like it was.

“Heroes” — Peter Gabriel

Caleb McLaughlin, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo as Lucas, Mike, El and Dustin in Stranger Things
Image via Netflix

“Heroes” by Peter Gabriel seems to be the Duffer Brother‘s go-to song for the saddest moments of the show. So far, Heroes has featured twice in the series, bringing tears to audiences’ eyes each time.

Firstly, the song was played when Mike, Lucas, Dustin, and El watched what they believed to be Will’s body was recovered from the quarry. Secondly, and perhaps most memorably, it was played in the wake of Hopper’s supposed death when El finally read the moving, honest letter that he had written to her earlier in the season. We’re hoping the song doesn’t reappear in season five; we don’t want to say goodbye to any of our favorite characters.

“Never Ending Story” — Gaten Matarazzo and Gabriella Pizzolo

Gabriella Pizzolo and Gaten Matarazzo as Suzie and Dustin in Stranger Things
Image via Netflix

Season three was an excellent season of Stranger Things, consisting of an excellent villain, terrific scares, and, most memorably, one of the most iconic moments of the entire series. Dustin’s girlfriend Suzie is not only confirmed to be real, but she also has the voice of an angel and loves “Never Ending Story.”

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With a time of the essence and the odds stacked against them, this unexpected and utterly hilarious scene delighted fans. Both actors are very talented singers and clearly love the scene. Then again, who wouldn’t love the chance to belt out an eighties classic?

Image via Netflix

Eddie Munson (Joseph Quinn) was far and away the stand-out new character introduced in season four. The rock-and-roll-loving drug dealer instantly became a favorite fan due to his close relationship with Dustin and his incredibly strong and emotional character arc.

Shortly before heroically sacrificing himself to save Dustin, Eddie performed the guitar solo to end all guitar solos. Armed only with his guitar, the metalhead flawlessly performed Metallica’s “Master of Puppets,” attracting all the Demobats and enabling Steve, Nancy, and Robin to launch their attack on Vecna. Performances just don’t get more metal than that.

“Running Up That Hill” — Kate Bush

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Image via Netflix

It speaks to the global popularity of Stranger Things that decades after “Running Up That Hill” by Kate Bush Was first released, it again topped the charts in 2022 after featuring heavily in the show’s penultimate season. In fact, the song has now become synonymous with Max and her battle to escape Vecna.

The scene in which Max uses “Running Up That Hill” to escape Vecna’s lair and return to her friends is among the show’s most touching moments. The iconic song makes the scene all the more powerful, becoming perhaps the most effective inclusion of music in a TV scene in quite some time. We could go on and on about the power of this song, but instead, we’re going to listen to it on repeat.

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