A little Stranger Things spoiler alert! When it was revealed that music is what could save victims from Vecna’s grasp, I immediately began thinking of what songs would possibly be played to save my life. Some songs immediately came to mind, and others took a while for me to realize they would or wouldn’t work. So, finally, after a solid week of critical thought, here is my mast list of lifesaving songs.
1. “State of Grace” by Taylor Swift
This was honestly a no-brainer for me. It was the first song I thought of, and it would be the song that would save me the quickest. The moment I’d hear those introduction drums, Vecna would stand no chance against me. The power of Taylor’s voice and lyrics would ignite my will to live and I would go. I would be out of there quicker than Jake Gyllenhal could break Taylor’s heart.
2. “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls
Firstly, this song is just gorgeous. Secondly, I simply relate to this song on far too many levels than should be possible. Come time for the bridge of this song and I would be tearing myself out of Vecna’s slimy little grip. I would most definitely be crying, and it would most definitely be because of the weight of these lyrics. Certainly not because I’d be traumatized for life by being sucked into the Upside Down and tormented by an ugly dude with a grudge.
3. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen
If we’re taking into consideration the year Stranger Things takes place, the song that would save me would undoubtedly be something by Queen, and it would realistically be this song. Sure, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is beyond incredible and could realistically save me, but I simply cannot name another Queen song that gets me as hyped as this one. I think even Vecna would have to succumb to the power of Freddie Mercury’s vocals.
4. “Heroes” by David Bowie
If we’re continuing with songs from this era, “Heroes” would certainly be one of them. It’s my tunnel song (if you’ve ever watched Perks of Being a Wallflower), which means that this song incites a very specific type of freeing feeling within me. I’d hear this song, take one last look at Vecna, and decide that I was going to be my own hero. And then I’d run like hell.
5. “British Bombs” by Declan McKenna
Jumping back to modern music, I have a fun story about this song. A few months ago I was having a little dance party in my bedroom, when suddenly this song came on. It’s Declan McKenna, so of course it’s good, and I’ve streamed this song so many times you probably wouldn’t believe me, so the dancing intensifies. So much, actually, that my poor little fuzzy socks can’t handle the constant movement, and my dear legs simply gave out. I smacked the ground. I got up. I kept dancing. Was I in pain? Sure. Did I bruise my side? Yes. Did I care? No. Vecna wouldn’t stand a chance against my passion for this song.
6. “Night Shift” by Lucy Dacus
Listen, this song on its own makes me go absolutely feral. If I was in Vecna’s curse and I heard this song, I would genuinely fear for him. This song incites such a passionate, painful violence into my soul that Vecna would probably run away from me. I would tear him down, the Upside Down itself, and whoever hurt Lucy Dacus enough to push her to sing that bridge with that much power.
7. “Do Not Wait” by Wallows
To be fair, most songs from the Nothing Happens album could save me. But hear me out with this one. I get it. It’s a slow song. It’s emotional. But that’s what would save me. This song — to get sentimental — made me feel so seen the moment I heard it. I would be dying, screaming, sobbing, but I would hear this song and it would absolutely resurrect me. I’d probably start glowing with heavenly power. I would get so bright, Vecna’s eyes would burn, and I’d be free.
8. “I Want A Dog” by Hobo Johnson
There is something about this song that just makes me want to be better. It perfectly captures the type of passion I have for my own future. There I would be, trapped in the Upside Down, feeling absolutely hopeless and dejected. Then, Hobo’s voice would begin to hum through the disgusting air, and the lyrics would register in my brain. A montage of my life would flash before my eyes, but it wouldn’t be my end. I’d start crying. I’d break out and run to freedom, picturing the rest of my life as I went. Vecna couldn’t catch me if he tried.
9. “Wonderwall” by Oasis
This has been one of my favorite songs for as long as I can remember. Much like “Do Not Wait” and “Iris,” I feel incredibly seen with this song. Picture this: Vecna has me under his trance. Max (the love of my life, but she doesn’t know it yet) is holding onto me, trying to reground me. Right before I start floating, she puts her headphones on me and “Wonderwall” begins to play. I’m up in the air by now but in the Upside Down, I can see her. It’s the first time either of us have acknowledged our love for one another. A single tear rolls down my face. I find it within myself to tear myself from Vecna’s grip. I run to her. I’m saved. Even Vecna is touched by our love.
10. “You” by The 1975
It was either this song or “Love It If We Made It,” but honestly the bridge of this song makes me want to scream so loudly, my lungs will explode. And honestly, if Vecna had me and this song started playing, that is exactly what would happen. I’d be struggling for my life, but then I would hear the angelic voice of Matthew Healy and I’d scream. Vecna would cower away, and as he was distracted, I would take my chance. As I’d be sprinting away, I’d hear the lyric “it takes a bit more than you” and would immediately think “it’s going to have to take more than Vecna capitalizing off my mental issues to get me to give up on life.”
Of course, there are many more songs that would save me. For the sake of this list I did try to limit it to one song per artist. Like honestly, put on any song by Taylor Swift or Wallows or Queen and chances are I’ll be out of the Upside Down before the song can even finish. And on a more serious note, I think the fact that music is what saves victims from Vecna’s curse is extremely endearing and very realistic. Millions of people find themselves and heal themselves through song. Will Byers even kept himself alive in Season 1 by singing “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash while he was in the Upside Down. It’s a strong, powerful theme to follow, and one I think the Duffer Brothers execute beautifully. I am absolutely not sponsored by Stranger Things, but I wholeheartedly believe everyone should watch this show.
And go listen to some music. Who knows. One day it could be what saves you.