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(Credit: Netflix)

Music

The song that would save every 'Stranger Things' character from Vecna's curse

@TylerGolsen

There’s a cycle that characters go through if they’ve been cursed by big baddie Vecna in season four of Stranger Things: see a Grandfather clock, begin hallucinating, and 48 hours later, your bones are being twisted in a gruesome death. Season four decided to lean hard into the horror movie roots of the show, and what better way than a Nightmare on Elm Street type of curse?

But there’s a way out: just play your favourite song and you’ll have a window to the real world open back up. Haunted main character Max Mayfield is able to escape thanks to the dulcet tones of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’, but it got us thinking: what would get the other characters out of a similar curse?

When possible, we’ve tried to find songs that characters have listened to at a particularly upbeat moment during the show. This was how we determined songs for characters like Hopper, but it became a little more difficult for the likes of Eleven and Steve Harrington. So some additional research of bedroom posters and record collections had to be perused.

Some characters had no obvious connection to any specific songs, so we had to make some inferences. Since the end of the first part of season four concludes with Nancy Wheeler in her own cursed state, this might be a wild called shot. For everyone else, these are the songs that would most likely save their lives.

The song to save every Stranger Things character:

Eleven: ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’ – Dead or Alive

‘California Dreamin’ might be playing when we first see Eleven this season, but The Beach Boys cover definitely doesn’t represent her mentality.

She has a hell of a time partying with Max to Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’, but we’re in a brand new season, and the one time that Eleven really looks happy is when she and Mike first enter the roller rink to the sounds of Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)’.

Will Byers: ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ – The Cure

This one was pretty simple: the first thing we see in Will’s new California bedroom is a poster for The Cure, specifically for the song ‘Boys Don’t Cry’. Will might not be going full goth this season, but he’s pretty withdrawn and unhappy, which is the target demographic for The Cure.

Mike Wheeler: ‘Subdivisions’ – Rush

Mike doesn’t seem to have any particular interest in music in season four, or really in any season before that. His room has a Conan the Barbarian poster, which is inconveniently one of the only 1980s movies without a pop song theme. Bummer.

So what does a nerdy teenager from the ’80s with a penchant for fantastical stories listen to? Why not Rush? ‘Subdivisions’ seems like a good fit for a misfit like Mike.

Dustin Henderson: ‘The Neverending Story’ Theme

The turning point of season three for Dustin was when it turned out that his camp girlfriend Susie is actually real. Not only is she real, but the two have a very cute duet song that promptly gets made fun of by his friends: the theme to the 1984 film The Neverending Story.

Dustin still seems very much attached to Susie throughout season four, so if the crew needed a cassette to play for him, let’s hope the soundtrack tape is close by.

Lucas Sinclair: ‘Basketball’ – Kurtis Blow

The fact that Lucas has grown out a sweet fade two years before Kid ‘n Play released their first album means that he’s ahead of the curve, but it throws a major wrench in our choices here.

Lucas also dedicates himself to Kate Bush, but that’s not going to fly here. Let’s go with Kurtis Blow’s ‘Basketball’, considering that’s what Lucas seems to be obsessed with at the start of season four.

Nancy Wheeler: ‘Danger Zone’ – Kenny Loggins

We get a frustratingly-close glimpse of Nancy’s cassettes when Robin rummages through her room in the episode ‘Dear Billy’. Unfortunately, nothing is in focus enough to make out, so some guesses are in order.

She’s got a Tom Cruise poster, so maybe ‘Werewolves of London’ by Warren Zevon? How about ‘Old Time Rock and Roll’ by Bob Seger? Neither seems like Nancy’s style, but ‘Danger Zone’ by Kenny Loggins certainly does.

Jonathan Byers: ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ – The Velvet Underground

While ‘Pass the Dutchie’ became a hilarious recurring joke whenever Jonathan and Argyle partook in “enlightening activities”, it probably wouldn’t be good enough to save Jonathan in the event of a Vecna attack.

He previously rocked a Murmur-era R.E.M. poster, but this season he’s got a Velvet Underground poster with Nico, so let’s bridge the gap: ‘Pale Blue Eyes’, which was covered by R.E.M. during their early years. Jonathan’s also a mopey bastard this season, just like his brother, so their songs have a nice little bit of synergy between them.

Steve Harrington: ‘Dancing in the Dark’ – Bruce Springsteen

Another shot in the dark, but Steve definitely seems like a Bruce Springsteen guy, doesn’t he? The timelines certainly match up well, and even though Steve has A Flock of Seagulls haircut, he’s still a midwestern teenager, so Bruce would probably line up a little bit closer.

Let’s assume that Steve, being the lovable goof that he is, rocks out to ‘Dancing in the Dark’ on a semi-regular basis.

Robin Buckley: ‘(Don’t You) Forget About Me’ – Simple Minds

Robin seems like the ultimate mix between every character in The Breakfast Club, right down to the neurotic tendencies. So let’s just embrace it with the ultimate ’80s teen movie anthem, Simple Minds’ ‘(Don’t You) Forget About Me’. Just by virtue of working at Family Video, Robin seems a little more in tune with movies than music, so a movie theme seems right up her alley.

Eddie Munson: ‘The Last in Line’ – Dio

Sometimes the most straightforward answer is the best: Eddie Munson, the headbanging and D&D-loving man on the run, rocks an awesome denim jacket complete with a Dio insignia throughout the fourth season of the show. That patch specifically comes from the 1984 album The Last in Line, so let’s not take too many guesses and just go with the album’s title track and single.

Joyce Byers: ‘Back in the USSR’ – The Beatles

Joyce doesn’t really have a ton of time to be listening to records: first her youngest child disappears, then her boyfriend becomes demodog chow, and then she has to live with the (faked) death of Hopper and a move out to California. I tried to resist the urge to put ‘Back in the USSR’ in this slot… actually, you know what, go bring Hop home from those commie bastards Joyce!

Jim Hopper: ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’ – Jim Croce

Since it doesn’t seem like they let music in Hopper’s Russian prison, we’re going to have to look back in the past for some of Hop’s jams. I don’t think we’ve ever seen Hopper more elated than he is after successfully keeping Mike and Eleven away from each other in the season three episode ‘The Mall Rats’.

What’s the song that he gleefully sings along with to celebrate? Jim Croce’s ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’. A little on the nose, but probably a safe guess.

Murray Bauman: ‘No More’ – Billie Holiday

Sometimes some creative leaps have to be made to infer what songs the residents of Hawkins are listening to. Not Murray: everyone’s favourite conspiracy theorist has a literal needle drop in season two when Jonathan and Nancy reveal the truth about what’s been taking over the town. Murray specifically states that music helps him, and his song of choice is Billie Holiday’s ‘No More’. Consider this mystery cracked.