I actually watched the first season of Stranger Things on a punt when it first came to Netflix. I soon realized that there was nothing else out there like it, and was hooked on its '80s horror-comedy style from the first episode. I’ve loved every season since and can’t wait for Stranger Things 4 volume 2 which is just under a week away (here’s when it comes to our screens).
However, the thing which has stuck with me since watching the latest season isn’t one I expected. While the storyline didn’t fail to impress and the characters and attention to detail still leave me wanting more, this latest season provided something completely different. Something which no other Netflix series has managed before.
Spoiler warning: Before I go on, bear in mind that I will be mentioning some specific scenes from Stranger Things 4. Go finish volume 1, and come back, to avoid spoilers.
Stranger Things 4 reminded me about a true legend
Those of you who have already watched the latest season of Stranger Things will no doubt remember one of its most heart-stopping scenes. I’m referring to Max trying to escape Vecna in episode 4.
What made this scene so special wasn’t the acting, the timing, or the visual effects (although I can’t really complain about any of these). It was Max’s favorite song, which needed to be played to give her a way out, back to the real world. And that song, Kate Bush’s "Running Up That Hill," has seen immense popularity since and for good reason.
It doesn’t just fit in with the '80s nostalgia, it successfully builds up with the tension behind the scene and offers a release as Max finally breaks free from Vecna’s ties. It’s also got an iconic tempo and lyrics which you just can’t get out of your head once you hear them. And thanks to Max repeatedly playing this song to keep Vecna at bay, a lot of us became fans it seems.
This 1985 single saw decent success when it was first released, reaching number 30 in the U.S. and number 3 in the U.K., however that’s nothing compared to what it achieved (opens in new tab) thanks to appearing in Stranger Things 4. It has now reached number four in the US and number one in the UK charts, and features in Spotify’s Top Hits. Thank goodness Kate Bush gave her permission to use it — otherwise who knows what would have been used instead. Other popular '80s artists, such as Madonna, or Duran Duran, hardly have the same feel.
This song has done more for me than pique my interest though — I now have a newfound love for Kate Bush. I’ve started listening to her other songs and feel like my ears have been opened to a whole other style of music. Each song is so different and addictive that I now know why she’s so iconic. She truly represents the best of the '80s and her artistic-while-unorthodox deliverance is why she suits Stranger Things so well.
Among my new favorite songs are "Babooshka" — which reads and sounds like nothing I (and possibly you as well) have heard before. It combines an almost mystical soundtrack with a proper storyline you can understand and follow, not to mention onomatopoeic crashes and smashes in the background. "Cloudbusting" is another favorite, in which the violins and drums build up, while the lyrics tell the story of Wilhelm Reich’s abrupt arrest from his son's point of view. Each song really contains something special, and "Wuthering Heights" is no exception either. The high-pitched tone in which Kate sings this song accompanied by the piano makes it seem like it's from a fairy tale.
So, thank you Stranger Things 4, for giving me something I didn't see coming — an appreciation for Kate Bush. And Stranger Things is more than aware of the impact of this song, as it now features in the new trailer; an anthem of sorts for the series. I can only hope Stranger Things opens my eyes to more artists that deserve another shot at the charts.
Oh, and since you're caught up on Stranger Things, be sure to check out 11 new movies and shows to watch this weekend.