Thanks to the popularity of Stranger Things‘music-heavy fourth season and social media, Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” has climbed to the top of the music charts around the world 37 years after the song was originally released. A number of Bush’s longtime (and generally older) fans have felt a way for younger people to discover her music for themselves using a sci-fi love letter to the ’80s. But Bush – even for a long time Stranger Things fan – sees the sudden resurgence of interest in “Running Up That Hill” as an exciting and touching testimony to the power of art.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4’s Women’s time, Bush – who generally does not speak to the public – opened up about what it has been like to see a new generation turn one of her classics into a contemporary hit. Although Bush was already hooked on Stranger Things long before Netflix and the Duffer brothers called her, she never expected to be involved in the series’ history, and the experience has all felt a lot like “the whole world has gone crazy.”
“What’s really wonderful, I think, is that this is a whole new audience that in many cases had never heard of me,” Bush said. “And I love it – the kind of all these really young people who hear the song for the first time and discover it is, well, I think it’s very special.”
In the first half of Stranger Things 4, Max Mayfield (Sadie Sink) and the other Hawkins children discover that the only thing that can protect them from Vecna - the latest murderous terror that has crawled out of their heads – is by listening to songs they love. In most cases, Vecna mentally pursues his victims from another dimension before pulling them in and tearing their bodies apart, but Max is able to break free from his slavery thanks to the cassette with “Running Up That Hill “who has been living in her Walkman all season.
Though Stranger Things has always focused on the pop culture test rock that shaped the ’80s, Max’s fixation on “Running Up That Hill” is also part of the series’ exploration of how the character still mourns the death of his brother Billy in season 3.
While Bush wrote “Running Up That Hill” as a love song, she said she was touched, by the way Stranger Things frames the number as a kind of emotional talisman for Max and an appropriate choice for the series as its characters evolve and grow up with its actors.
“It’s nice in the same way as Harry Potter where in the early movies there are just little kids, ”Bush said. “And as the film progresses, it gets heavier and darker, and the little kids become really talented young adult actors. You have a different connection to something that has really moved over the years, by watching them grow.”
Like many of her diehard fans who are cherished by her music, she has her own relationship with “Running Up That Hill”, a song about a man and a woman who longs to swap places with each other “just to feel, how it was from the other side. ”
Although Bush still largely thinks of the song as “A Deal with God” – the title she originally intended to give it – in her mind, she stressed the importance of people being able to take what they want from art. As wrapped in nostalgia as “Running Up That Hill” can be for some people, it’s part of the now for others, and that’s why Bush is focused on living in the now.
“I mean there was some great music in the ’80s, but I think it’s an incredibly exciting time we’re in now,” Bush said. “Okay, so it’s a terrible time on many levels for people. Very difficult. But it’s also a time when incredible things are happening. Technology’s advancing at this incredible speed, which is really quite overwhelming. But you know, there “There are so many advances in medicine and there are positive things. You just have to look a little harder to find them at the moment.”
Stranger Things 4 Vol. 2 hits Netflix on July 1st.