The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

Joe Keery is more than his role on ‘Stranger Things’

Djo has huge success with his hit song ‘End of Beginnings’
Djo posing for his album “CHANGE” he shared on Djo’s Instagram. (Photo from Dana Trippe Photography)

While Joe Keery is mostly popular for his role in the hit Netflix original show, “Stranger Things” where he played Steve Harrington, he has more talents than most do not realize. Keery also is a musician who goes by Djo, pronounced as Joe.

Since the Universal Music Group took their music off of TikTok due to their inability to come to an agreement of compensation for their artists and protection from AI, Keery’s song, “End of Beginnings” had gone viral as one of the few songs still on the platform. 

However, once the song had gone viral and was in almost every video, at least on my own For You Page, many users realized that Keery was actually Djo.

 But this is where my heart aches for Keery.

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Keery created his stage name as a way to separate his music career from his acting as he did not want to only be seen as his role for Harrington, but many users on TikTok were quick to combine his achievements by often sharing “Steve Harrington wrote this!”

That simple statement not only disregards Keery’s wish to be known for more than his role in “Stranger Things,” but it hurts my heart that his art is being watered down to his role in the show.

It is assumed that the song’s meaning is Keery saying goodbye to the past and moving on with his life, but never forgetting his roots back in Chicago.

Some fans have speculated online that the song also relates to the fact who Keery was before his fame in acting, and when he is back in Chicago he is reminded of his life before fame.

While the first meaning is what I might consider a basic interpretation of the song, the second meaning is the one that makes me want to sob my heart out for the man. After all, his character was supposed to be killed off in the early season, only to live with his popularity among fans.

The idea that he was not supposed to be this massive character that is universally loved makes my heart warm but I pity the man who just wants to write his music and live his life, not constantly be reminded of the role he booked back in 2016.

But one thing I do believe in full-heartedly is that Keery deserves every bit of success he has. He is incredibly talented and deserves every recognition he receives, but my heart will forever hurt that it seems history will only ever remember him for his role in the Netflix original.

In a way the situation reminds me of Matthew Perry who is widely known for his role as Chandler Bing in the sitcom “Friends.” When the actor passed away in October 2023, many only thought of him for his character but not for what he wanted to be remembered for which was his journey overcoming addiction. 

It makes me wonder how many people in the spotlight are grateful for their successful jobs, but sometimes regret them as they may think that is all they will ever be known for.

However, while I was introduced to Keery through his role as Harrington, I still loved his other work. He often takes different roles in an attempt to not be type-cast, and I have loved every single role this man has ever played.

His role in “Spree?” Loved it, made me fall in love with a serial killer. “Free Guy?” I fell in love with a computer nerd who just wanted the girl of his dreams to love him back.

Overall, while Keery’s role in “Stranger Things” is remarkable, he is more talented and versatile than most imagine and I hope one day he gets all the recognition for the talents that he deserves. Anyways, stream “End of Beginnings.”

Boggess can be reached at [email protected]

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