It’s been a week now since Stranger Things Season 3 was released on Netflix, a perfect time to follow up with a breakdown of some of the best musical moments of the season.
Stranger Things Season 3 is a love letter to the ’80s. With a boat-load of references to movies, music, and culture, it verges on the cusp of ’80s overload. To help deal with that heavy burden, we’ve compiled a list of this season’s five best-used songs and musical references.
Stranger Things Season 3 Soundtrack
The soundtrack for Stranger Things Season 3 reads like a mix tape of mid-’80s radio hits, with songs by The Who, Madonna, John Mellencamp, REO Speedwagon, Huey Lewis And The News, and more.
There may be some mild spoilers ahead. If you haven’t watched all of Stranger Things Season 3 yet, consider yourself warned.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
1. “Moving In Stereo” – The Cars
“Moving In Stereo” captures the essence of cool. And in Hawkins, Indiana, it plays behind lifeguard Billy in episode one, as he struts across the pool to start his shift, drawing the eyes of every bored mom in town. The inclusion of The Cars’ hit is also a reference to Judge Reinhold’s sex fantasy scene from “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”. Except this time, Billy plays the role as the object of Mrs. Wheeler’s desire.
2. “Cold As Ice” – Foreigner
While Foreigner’s bouncy single was released in 1977, it’s close enough to the ’80s for Stranger Things. More importantly, its placement in the second episode, “The Mall Rats”, comes perfectly. Right after Eleven breaks up with Mike with the abrupt, “I dump your ass”, Foreigner’s hit single drops in. The comedic timing is perfect. And the look on Mike’s dopey face matches right up with the lyrics. “You’re willing to sacrifice our love”.
3. “My Bologna” – Weird Al Yankovic
One of the weirder, nerdier songs found in Stranger Things Season 3 also comes in during the second episode. While the kids are at the mall, Joyce Byers tracks down science teacher Mr. Clarke with some questions regarding magnets. Weird Al’s bologna parody of “My Sharona” by The Knack” plays in Mr. Clarke’s garage as he crafts alone. There’s also another Weird Al reference in the following episode, in which Dustin is wearing a Weird Al t-shirt.
4. “Can’t Fight This Feeling” – REO Speedwagon
Another gem from episode one, “Can’t Fight This Feeling” plays when Hopper gets upset and annoyed by El and Mike kissing. Much like “Cold As Ice”, the placement of “Can’t Fight this Feeling” stands in to inform us of a character’s inner state. In this case, Hopper’s frustration seems a little blown out of proportion, and the song choice takes the reigns in driving the plot a little more than the character development we see later in the season. Still, it’s a solid moment, made all the more funny by Hopper’s frustration.
5. “Never Ending Story” – Gaten Matarazzo and Gabriella Pizzolo
Yup, we saved the best for last. In the season finale of Stranger Things Season 3, Dustin finally gets in contact with his Suzie, pleading with her to tell him Planck’s Constant. Turns out the only way to get her to tell him is for both of them to sing a duet of the theme song to “The NeverEnding Story”, originally written by Giorgio Moroder and performed by Limahl. It’s one of the cutest scenes in this season, and also reveals the talented voices of both Matarazzo and Pizzolo.
While the soundtrack for this season of Stranger Things is pretty heavy on the ’80s (to the point of occassionally being too much), there were a handful of solid standout moments when the music gets center stage. And although that can sometimes result in some lazy writing, it definitely manages to ground the show in its setting.