The Songs of ‘Stranger Things’: Kate Bush and More Great Needle Drops From Season Four’s First Episodes
By Jazz Tangcay
“Stranger Things” music supervisor Nora Felder could very well be hearing her name when nominations for the 74th annual Emmy Awards are announced on July 12.
The three-time nominee is the reason Kate Bush is currently trending on Twitter, but that’s the tip of the iceberg of Felder’s work on the show’s fourth season. This season Felder uses needle drops to root audiences deeper in the ’80s with needle-drop picks ranging from Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” to the Beach Boys’ cover of “California Dreamin’.”
Here’s a guide to five of the best music moments from the first few episodes.
Sadie Sink’s Max is still grieving the loss of her brother Billy. Audiences learn in the first episode of the new season that her favorite song is Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.” It’s a song Max plays on a loop, or seems to. Fast forward to episode 4, when Max faces a nightmare (avoiding spoilers) and Kate Bush’s music practically saves her life.
The Byers family has just relocated from Hawkins to California. It’s March 21, 1986, and Eleven (played by Millie Bobby Brown) is going by the name of Jane. As she reads aloud a letter to boyfriend Mike (Finn Wolfhard), “California Dreamin’” plays, setting the scene. Joyce (Winona Ryder) now works from home selling encyclopedias and Will (played by Noah Schnapp) is “acting weird” and painting a lot. What he’s painting, audiences aren’t clued into. What audiences also learn is that Eleven lies to Mike telling him she’s settled and fitting in and making a lot of friends, when in reality, she’s failing class and being bullied. It’s not quite the California dream.
It’s school break and Mike is in town. Eleven, Mike and Will go to a roller rink — this is the ’80s — and have a nice time. That is, until Angela, Eleven’s bully, shows up and ruins things. Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” is played for a brief sync, but that’s the 1985 Baltimora hit song “Tarzan Boy” being played before things get ugly.
Joe Quinn plays Hellfire Club dungeon master Eddie Munson on the show, leading the school’s D&D club. He’s a vital part of the episode. “Fever” can be heard as Eddie is introduced in the cafeteria.
Mike, Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) have joined the Hellfire Club at school and play Dungeons and Dragons. But Lucas has discovered his sporty side and joined the basketball team. When time comes for him to play an important match, he happily gives up D&D night. He begs Dustin and Mike to come to the game. Except Eddie won’t let them go, unless they find a replacement. As Mike and Dustin run around school frantically trying to recruit someone to fill in for them, the Extreme tune plays.
Here’s a complete list of songs:
Psycho Killer – Talking Heads Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) – Kate Bush You Spin Me Round (Like a Record) – Dead or Alive Chica Mejicanita – Mae Arnette Play With Me – Extreme Detroit Rock City – KISS I Was a Teenage Werewolf – The Cramps Pass the Dutchie – Musical Youth Wipeout – The Surfaris Object of My Desire – Starpoint Rock Me Amadeus (The Gold Mix) – Falco Travelin’ Man – Ricky Nelson Tarzan Boy – Baltimora Dream a Little Dream of Me – Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
Stream the soundtrack below: