Chances are if you’ve been on the inter-webs lately you’ve heard about the latest Netflix Original Series Stranger Things, which became available July 15th. Chances are also pretty good that if you have started the show, it didn’t take long for you to finish the 8 episodes of the first season (perhaps even in just a day? No judgment here!). Much has been said about this fantastic show—just read Stephanie Cooke’s review of Stranger Things, in which she accurately summarizes the show by stating, “Imagine Super 8, Poltergeist, E.T., and the Stephen King-verse had a perfect love child.” The show is full of characters, content, and references that will please any geek (sci-fi, fantasy, horror, 1980s culture, what have you), but let’s talk about the music—and not just the terrific pop-synth soundtrack. Anytime science fiction is paired with a superb playlist (Ernest Cline’s 2015 novel Armada, for example), my excitement soars. While this is not a comprehensive list, as I have only made it through the season once (so far), and certain songs are more prominent than others, here are a few of my favorites:
Stranger Things Poster


Chapter 1: The Vanishing of Will Byers

Jefferson Airplane: “She Has Funny Cars”

Jefferson Airplane: “White Rabbit”

Toto: “Africa”

The Seeds: “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine”


Chapter 2: The Weirdo on Maple Street

The Clash: “Should I Stay or Should I Go”

Modern English: “I Melt With You”

The Bangles: “Hazy Shade of Winter”

Tony Orlando & Dawn: “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree”


Chapter 3: Holly, Jolly

Foreigner: “Waiting for a Girl Like You”

Peter Gabriel: “Heroes”


Chapter 4: The Body

Joy Division: “Atmosphere”

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


Chapter 5: The Flea and the Acrobat

New Order: “Elegia”

Echo & The Bunnyman: “Nocturnal Me”


Chapter 6: The Monster

Corey Hart: “Sunglasses at Night”

Dolly Parton: “The Bargain Store”


Chapter 7: The Bathtub

Vangelis: “Fields of Coral”


Chapter 8: The Upside Down

Moby: “When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die”


Without revealing any spoilers, the music selection in the show has me wondering:

  • Why do the familiar songs seem to decrease as the show progresses? Is it because we are gradually moving more and more out of our familiar world and more into the synth infused fantastic?
  • Why is “Should I Stay or Should I Go” repeated in multiple episodes? Is it because of the brotherly bond between Will and Jonathan? Whatever the case may be, I love it! Possibly I’m biased because Combat Rock is one of my very favorite records ever, but, even more than that, one of my favorite scenes in the series is when Will and Jonathan are tuning out their parents’ fighting with some good ole punk music.
  • Is there anything cooler than shopping for monster-hunting supplies while Dolly Parton’s “The Bargain Store” plays in the background?

If you (like myself) want to continue to live in the world of Stranger Things, but need a break from Netflix, check out the Spotify playlist of the show’s music. Happy watching/listening!

Anelise Farris
Anelise is an english professor with a love for old buildings, dusty tomes, black turtlenecks, and all things macabre and odd.

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