Long live the '80s! Netflix's Stranger Things is back, baby, and our beloved gaggle of nerds is entering freshman year in 1986. As we follow the Season 4 supernatural adventures of Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Will (Noah Schnapp), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), Max (Sadie Sink), and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) — as well as their older counterparts Nancy (Natalia Dyer), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), and Steve (Joe Keery) — we're welcomed with a soundtrack jam-packed with 1980s hits.
Iconic '80s songs like Michael Jackson's "Thriller," DEVO's "Whip It," Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time," and "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash have all crept their way into the Duffer Brothers' Netflix hit in past seasons. Season 4 — which premiered on May 27, 2022 — is no different. Here are some of the best bops heard throughout Season 4.
Episode 1: "California Dreamin'" by The Beach Boys
Considering Eleven and Will are living that Cali life in Season 4, The Beach Boys are a must. And while The Beach Boys' "California Dreamin'" is a classic, it's actually a song by The Mamas & the Papas circa 1965.
The Beach Boys dropped the single for their “California Dreamin'” cover in 1986, later including it in their 1986 greatest hits album, Made in U.S.A.
Episode 2: "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads
While many people believe "Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads was written about serial killer David Berkowitz — aka the Son of Sam — as it was released a few months after he was arrested in 1977, David Byrne started writing the song years prior. Actually, the song was inspired by the wild stage persona of rockstar Alice Cooper.
“When I started writing this (I got help later), I imagined Alice Cooper doing a Randy Newman-type ballad,” David Byrne said in notes for the band's 1992 compilation album, Once in a Lifetime: The Best of Talking Heads.
Episode 3: "Guardian Angel" by Galt MacDermot
While "Guardian Angel" by late Canadian composer Galt MacDermot — whose alias is Fergus MacRoy — wasn't born in the 1980s, it's one of the few songs in Season 4, Episode 3. The song was on his jazz record Fergus MacRoy at the Homestead Upright, which is believed to have been released in 1964.
The Grammy winner was also the composer of the equally famed and controversial 1960s Broadway rock musical Hair.
Episode 4: "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush
Oh how we adore this U.K. pop queen. Amazingly, Kate Bush's memorable 1985 single "Running Up That Hill" shot to the top of the charts almost four decades after its release due to its influence in Stranger Things Season 4. The highly anticipated fourth installment premiered on May 27, 2022, and by May 30 the Kate Bush smash hit "was No. 1 on the iTunes song chart and No. 13 on Spotify's top 200," per People.
Episode 5: “Travelin’ Man” by Ricky Nelson
Singer-composer-producer Jerry Fuller wrote the Ricky Nelson pop-rock tune, which was put out in 1961. The (slightly problematic) song made it to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 during the week of May 29, 1961.
Something about lyrics like “I’ve a pretty señorita waiting for me down in old Mexico" and "If you’re ever in Alaska, stop and see my cute little Eskimo" don't really sit right with us today. But it sure is catchy!
Episode 6: “Pass the Dutchie” by Musical Youth
British-Jamaican reggae band Musical Youth's 1982 song “Pass the Dutchie” was based on The Mighty Diamonds' "Pass the Kouchie." At the time of the song's release, the five group members were between the ages of 11 and 15.
In 2012, four of the five members attempted to sue their former law firm over “Pass the Dutchie,” claiming that "lawyers failed to protect the copyright of song," and that they "gave them bad advice about the royalty money they might make," according to The Guardian. Unfortunately, they lost the legal battle.
Episode 7: “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Songstress Ella Fitzgerald — aka the "First Lady of Song" — and trumpeter Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong are known as two of the greatest jazz musicians in history. Together, the duo made three albums: 1956's Ella and Louis, 1957's Ella and Louis Again (what a great title), and 1959's Porgy and Bess (1959).
In 1950, the two recorded their cover of the 1931 hit “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Singers like Michael Bublé, Bing Crosby, and Doris Day have, too, released covers of the ethereal tune.
Season 4, Volume One also includes bangers like KISS's "Detroit Rock City," Starpoint's "Object of My Desire," and The Cramps' "Fever" and "I Was a Teenage Werewolf." Check out the eclectic Season 4 soundtrack on Spotify.
Stranger Things Season 4, Volume One is currently streaming on Netflix.