Netflix’s Stranger Things has revived a hit from the past following the series’ Season 4 premiere on Friday. Kate Bush’s 1985 single ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)’ is currently #1 on the iTunes Most Streamed list. The song first appears in the first episode of and plays an important role in Max’s (Sadie Sink) story, especially in episode 4.
An artist out of labels
In one of the most terrifying of the series to date, Max faces off against Vecna, a sinister, disfigured dream demon who preys on teens’ guilt and shame, lulling them into a nightmarish trance and using their worst fears. and insecurities to destroy them. His victims can only come to their senses with the help of a tune that means something to them and in Max’s case it is ‘Running Up That Hill’ from Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love album which would become his biggest hit.
The song was originally titled ‘A Deal With God’, but her record label changed it over fears that it would be blacklisted in religious countries such as Italy, France, and Australia. Bush was a British alt-pop diva whose classic also gets Max through some dark times since her stepbrother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) dies. The strange, prideful and very different singer fits very well with the personality of Max, a tough, independent, and precocious skater who can pick locks and drive a car.
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When Bush burst onto the scene at the age of 19 in the late ’70s, she was, (and always would be), immune to trends, a wacky stop-and-go author who barks like a dog in a song, talks about ‘ The Shining,’ about having sex with a snowman or about gothic cinema and ‘ Wuthering Heights ‘. Her videos were sometimes surreal pieces, mini-horror films, or conceptual performances against the grain, achieving cult icon status in the US even though she never won a Grammy and was rejected three times by the Rock and Rock Hall of Fame.
The inexhaustible power of Kate Bush
Many artists owe a debt to her style, from Prince, Björk, Florence Welch, St. Vincent, Tori Amos, Bat for Lashes, Joanna Newsom, Perfume Genius, Marina, and even Lady Gaga, the musicians who use her rarity as a badge has taken advantage of the path opened by the singer, even Outkast’s Big Boi says he is obsessed with his figure. In the UK, meanwhile, she remains a cult artist, racking up as many as 25 top 40 singles there, including her debut, 1978’s ‘Wuthering Heights, which made her the first female artist to reach No. song written by herself. ‘Running Up That Hill’ from ‘Hounds of Love’ evokes a mysterious world of tribal beats and haunting synths where love roars like thunder to find its way home, a conceptual element akin to the moment Max is living with Vecna, which takes place in a surreal space that evokes the end of the video clip.
By the time Max has escaped, the team of friends realizes that the only way to keep her from Vecna’s clutches is to play her ‘Running Up That Hill’ on a loop on the walkman, a risky plan if she gets tired of the song, in a later dialogue of episode 5, Max asks Lucas: ” Will it continue to work? Or will Kate Bush lose her magical power or something? ” Lucas’s answer is precise and confident, giving the final tribute to the singer ” Kate Bush? Never. ”
This is not the first time that ‘Stranger Things’ has served as a catapult to revive a hit from the 80s, for example, the main theme of the successful fantasy film ‘ The NeverEnding Story’ (The NeverEnding Story, 1984) by Limahl, had a key moment at the climax of last season and YouTube revealed at the time that searches for the music video jumped 800 percent shortly after the episodes were released.