"Stranger Things," the wondrous 80s-tastic Netflix Original (1983, to be exact) has a positively tubular soundtrack. For this list, I am not including instrumental tracks (including the amazing Grammy Award nominate score), just those songs that you can sing along to! What songs are radder than the rest? Which songs are cool-retro, and which are just cringey? Read on to find out (the not-so-official) results! I even include its rating out of “11” because I love puns and have no shame.
15. “Africa” by Toto.
Episode 1: Steve and Nancy “study.”
Is this a make-out song? Really? Really? I know Steve Harrington is an idiot, but this is just silly.
Rating out of "Eleven": -17
14. “Body Language” by Alexander Baker & Clair Marlo.
Episode 2: Nancy and Barb (the best) talk on the phone.
Not super “80s” and isn’t present to leave much of an impression. Good song, though.
Rating out of “Eleven”: 3
13. “I’m Taking Off (Shield Your Eyes)” by Space Knife.
Episode 2: Jonathan searches for Lonnie (his deadbeat father).
Fun song! Loses points for being released in 2013. I see you, Duffer Brothers.
Rating out of "Eleven": 5
12. “When It’s Cold I’d Like to Die” by Moby.
Episode 8: There's a montage as the Hopper flashes back to the death of his daughter, and Joyce and Hopper try to save Will.
Least impactful song in any of the first season's montages. Still good, but the rest are just better.
Rating out of "Eleven": 7
11. “She Has Funny Cars” by Jefferson Airplane.
Episode 1: Eleven steals food from the diner as she manages to escape.
Honestly delightful. I want this playing everytime that I flee the scene of a crime. Not that I do that -- cough, cough. OK, next song!
Rating out of "Eleven": 8
10. “Tie a Yellow Ribbon” by Brotherhood of Man.
Episode 2: Nancy and Barb (justice for her!) talk about Steve’s party in the car outside his house.
When you're arguing with your best friend playfully, there should be a playful 1970s anthem playing in the background. The bittersweet song is perfect for foreshadowing (I LOVE YOU AND MISS YOU BARB!).
Rating out of "Eleven": 8.7
9. “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” by The Seeds.
Episode 1: Eleven makes a friend (who is promptly taken away).
The psychedelic hit probably would be more at home at Woodstock than in “Stranger Things," but this contrasted with conspiracy hitman murdering Eleven's new friend? It’s weird but it works.
Rating out of “Eleven”: 10
8. “I Melt with You” by Modern English.
Episode 2: Nancy chugs a beer while Barb (queen of my heart) looks on disapprovingly.
Great one-hit-wonder, and also, weirdly, the perfect song to chug a beer to. Good job, “Stranger Things” producers!
Rating out of “Eleven”: 10.5
7. “Raise a Little Hell” by Trooper.
Episode 2: Steve Harrington invites Nancy and Barb (BRING HER BACK) inside.
Perfect song and probably Steve Harrington’s theme song -- let's be real. Only loses points for having such a brief appearance.
Rating out of "Eleven": 10.75
6. “Hazy Shade of Winter” by The Bangles.
Episode 2: Nancy and Steve Harrington spend the night; something happens to Barb (NOT OVER IT).
The Bangles are life, no big deal. This is an amazing song, and only doesn’t get a perfect score because it mostly plays over the credits. This song deserves to play over a montage, dammit!
Rating out of "Eleven": 10.8
5. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner.
Episode 3: Nancy has sex with Steve; Barb (SOBBING) is trapped in the Upside Down.
Is this a great song? Maybe not! But I love it, and its weird/ironic pairing with this scene is genius. Plus, Steve Harrington and Nancy seem to be improving their taste in make-out music throughout the series. I want to reward that.
Rating out of "Eleven": 11
4. "The Bargain Store" by Dolly Parton.
Episode 6: Nancy and Jonathan shop for Monster Hunting supplies.
Dolly Parton is queen. That would already secure a perfect score, but the fact that this low-key song is playing while Nancy and Jonathan are buying weapons? Genius.
Rating out of “Eleven”: 11
3. "Atmosphere" by Joy Division.
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Episode 4: Hopper tells Joyce they found Will’s body. Jonathan grieves. Joyce makes a new window in her wall.
This is one of the best montages of the show, with a perfect song choice. Not only is this one of Jonathan's favorite bands, but the moody, heartbreaking tone perfectly fits the scene.
Rating out of "Eleven": 11.11
2. “Heroes” by Peter Gabriel.
Episode 3: Everyone finds out that there was a body found in the rock quarry -- Is it Will?
I MISS DAVID BOWIE! Now that we got that out of the way, Peter Gabriel’s great cover works on so many levels during one of the most impactful montages of the series. The great acting (especially the kids -- damn, they're talented) is complimented by this somber cover. Chills for days.
Rating out of "Eleven": 111.11
1. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash.
Episode 2: Jonathan and Will listen to the song while talking about their father.
So, I was re-watching the show for the 2nd (OK, 4th) time and I realized, WHILE SINGING, THAT "SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO" IS NOT JUST ABOUT WILL AND JONATHAN'S RELATIONSHIP BUT ALSO HIS FUTURE: WILL HE STAY IN THE UPSIDE DOWN OR WILL HE GO HOME?! So it’s perfect and I love everything.Rating out of “Eleven”: 1,111,111.11