How “Stranger Things” brought back 80s music


Alyssa Pascual

Over the years of cinematic history, countless TV shows have become incredibly famous, impacting pop culture and television. One recent show that has taken the world by storm is Stranger Things. First released in 2016, the show quickly became wildly popular, making its mark on fashion, culture, music and more. This past summer, the show released its highly anticipated fourth season, and is now on Netflix.

The new season is divided into two volumes: Volume One, which was released on May 27, and Volume Two, which was released on July 1. Shortly after the new season was released, the popular series gained an overwhelming amount of attention, blowing up on social media for its unique and accurate representation of the 80s.

Featuring a variety of famous 80s hits, the soundtrack of the show quickly became a cultural phenomenon — even being honored with the “Outstanding Music Supervision” award at the 2022 Emmys earlier this year.

In season four, one of the most popular songs, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush, was featured prominently in episode four of Volume One: “Chapter 4: Dear Billy.” Needless to say, due to the emotional intensity of the scene featuring the song, “Running Up That Hill” flew to the top of the UK’s Official Singles Chart at number one, 36 years after its initial release in 1985. The song currently sits comfortably at 15th place on Spotify’s “Today’s Top Hits” 16 weeks after the season’s release.

Along with its rise in popularity, it is without a doubt that Stranger Things has given financial success to these 80s sensations. For instance, according to, Kate Bush earned a total of $2.3 million dollars from the inclusion of her song in the recent season.

West Ranch choir teacher Mrs. Peters explained that “the music is great. Besides Kate Bush, all of the 80s classics are super nostalgic for me— I love the use of ‘The Neverending Story’ in season 3!”

Immediately after the fourth installment of the series, the season became a trendsetter. Popular apps such as TikTok helped revive many songs featured throughout the four seasons. Songs including “Material Girl ” by Madonna and “Running up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush earned a high amount of praise from fans as both songs were used in some of the show’s most popular scenes. When asked what the most memorable song of the newest season was, freshman and Stranger Things fan Sophie Wright agreed that it was “Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ song, [because] it was in a pretty big scene with Max, [one of the main protagonists of the show].”

Furthermore, fans of the show also appreciate the diverse genres of music presented. West Ranch junior Abigail Hodge explained, “I believe the music choices accurately represent the time period well because it adheres to different genres of music that many people listened to back then. Hit songs of the 80s are all featured in Stranger Things episodes, such as ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ by Wham! and ‘Whip it’ by DEVO.”

The enormous cultural influence of the songs in Stranger Things has been undeniable. The show has introduced a new generation of fans to the smash hits of previous decades, and has allowed watchers to appreciate the various styles and talents of the 80s in a new way.

Cats, if you have not seen Stranger Things yet, check it out! It’s a fun and thrilling experience intertwined with 80s nostalgia you do not want to miss.