Music is the Unsung Hero of Stranger Things Season 2

I may be a millennial, but I’ve been obsessed with 1980s pop culture for as long as I can remember (thanks, Mom and Dad). I can’t get enough of the films, the fashion, the music, and just the general feel of that decade in history, which explains why I naturally gravitated toward Stranger Things when it premiered on Netflix in 2016. The most enjoyable part of my season one viewing experience was seeing many of my favorite songs from back in the day used in some awesome ways as part of the show’s plot. Stranger Things 2, which was released on October 27th, builds on this special quality by incorporating new songs for maximum nostalgia, and I love every minute of it. Here are a few classic ‘80s hits from the latest season to keep on your radar.

Rock You Like a Hurricane – The Scorpions

The entrance of Billy Hargrove, the gorgeous California dream who stepped out of his blue Camaro and into my heart, was my favorite part of the first episode (“MADMAX”). This hard rock classic by The Scorpions is an impeccable introduction track as the new guy in town pulls into the Hawkins High School parking lot with his little sister, Max, in tow. Steve and Nancy are awestruck, a group of teenage girls check out his gloriously denim-clad ass, and I immediately develop a soft spot for Billy that never goes away, even when we later learn that he’s a first-class douchebag.

Girls On Film – Duran Duran

Although it had some tough competition in Chapter Two (“Trick or Treat, Freak” also featured the iconic Ghostbusters theme song and “The Monster Mash”), this track stood out to me the most. It plays in the background at the Halloween house party Nancy and Steve attend. They get into a fight over Nancy being drunk enough and not needing more, and the fight escalates until she spills her drink on herself. The crowd gasps and the chorus of “Girls on Film” comes in right on cue to fill the silence. Duran Duran perfectly embodies the ‘80s party scene and if I had been at that rager, I would have danced to this all night long.

You Don’t Mess Around With Jim – Jim Croce

I’ve been a Jim Croce fan for a while now, so I was beyond excited to hear part of “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” in the third episode of the season (“The Pollywog”), if only for a minute. Hawkins Police Chief Jim Hopper – who has been hiding Eleven in his cabin to protect her from the dark forces still at work – picks the record from his collection and does a little dance to it, a la an adorable father figure. Best of all, Hopper’s hip shimmy became an instant meme! A true hero by the name of Liz made a Twitter account called @hopperdancingto, where you can watch him groove to nearly every song you can think of. The Internet is a beautiful place.

Runaway – Bon Jovi

One thing every Stranger Things fan can agree on: Eleven steals the show with every scene she’s in. Seriously, Millie Bobby Brown has more talent in her left pinky than I could ever hope to have in my life. I was already intrigued by her separate plotline this season, but the expert use of this song took it to another level. El uses her telekinetic powers to find a fellow prisoner from her years of captivity in Hawkins Lab, a test subject named Eight/Kali, and in Chapter Seven (“The Lost Sister”) she hops on a bus to Chicago to meet her in person. I was underwhelmed by the episode as a whole as it didn’t quite flow with the rest of the season, but there’s no denying that “Runaway” plays right into the badass vibe of a roughed up Eleven on the run. Take that, mouth breathers!

Every Breath You Take – The Police

At last, we arrive at the grand finale of Stranger Things 2. The Duffer brothers brought out the big guns for the Hawkins Middle School Snow Ball, with The Police’s most iconic hit. A lot of cutaways take place during this track – Caleb and Max have their first kiss, Will is seemingly normal for once as he dances with a girl, and Nancy and Dustin have a cute groove sesh – but most importantly, Eleven and Mike’s romance comes full circle as they dance together and finally share a kiss. My heart!!! The underlying reason why this music choice is genius is in its double meaning. “Every Breath You Take” is a popular love song, but as reviews have pointed out, the lyrics are deep in stalker territory…and in the very last scene, the Shadow Monster leers over the school gym in the Upside Down. With every step the kids of Stranger Things take, the monster will be watching them.

Stranger Things 2 is available on Netflix now, so do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing. Then listen to every song on the soundtrack and drift away in a cloud of pure ‘80s bliss.