"Running Up That Hill" Is Finally Getting The Appreciation It Deserves
Thanks to Stranger Things, the 1985 track is having a well-earned renaissance.
When Kate Bush released her classic hit ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’ in August of 1985, you would have been forgiven for believing that its initial chart run and cultural impact (the song reached number three on the UK singles chart and number 30 on the US Billboard Hot 100) would be the peak of its lifespan. Few could have predicted that, 37 years later, it would see a revival that would far surpass its prior success.
For the past few weeks, the new wave ballad has been difficult to escape. This success can of course be attributed to season four of Stranger Things, which released on Netflix last month. The song acts as character Max’s favorite song in the show, and in one particularly harrowing scene (no spoilers), it forms the soundtrack to a pivotal moment in the season’s plot.
This is not the first time ‘Running Up That Hill’ has been used in media to strike emotional nerves in viewers. In the context of Stranger Things specifically, the track can be viewed as representing Max’s trauma, struggles to open up to her companions, or in a more literal sense, her quest to escape Vecna, the season’s main antagonist.
In reality, the song’s backstory is a bit more idiosyncratic. “A man and a woman can’t understand each other because we are a man and a woman. And if we could actually swap each other’s roles, if we could actually be in each other’s place for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised,” noted Kate in a 1992 interview with BBC on her specific intentions with the track.
Thanks to the show, the song has now reached number one on the UK singles chart and number five on the Hot 100, while also becoming virtually ubiquitous across social media.
“It’s hard to take in the speed at which this has all been happening since the release of the first part of the Stranger Things new series. So many young people who love the show, discovering the song for the first time,” said the artist on the track’s new life. “I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before!”
Kate has not released any new original music since her 2011 album 50 Words For Snow, but here’s hoping that her reignited popularity might inspire a new trip to the studio.