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Running Back Up That Hill: The Resurgence of Kate Bush

Running Back Up That Hill: The Resurgence of Kate Bush

It has now been a couple of weeks since Max was saved by the one and only Kate Bush from Vecna. During this time, the pop legend has been gaining massive success around the world. This, of course, revolves around her 1985 hit Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God). The track received a new peak of #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100, along with other records broken. However, people are now discovering her influential works from her iconic discography.


Stranger Things reintroduced the world to Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God). It’s time to dive deeper into the track’s origin — the singular universe of Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love.


Straying from The Path

Debuted in January of 1978, Kate Bush had been pumping out albums tirelessly throughout the past four years. During this time period, the pop genius was exploring the lengths of where her sound can go. Even venturing into music production with The Dreaming.

But, these explorations led her to take many left turns, both sonically and thematically. With the mentioned record, it dealt with heavy themes of cruelty and loneliness, executed in dark and jarring production. These estranged her listeners and critics more and more. Because of it, her label EMI lost much confidence in her. The possibility of her regaining the same level of success from her first single Wuthering Heights was getting slim. Bush knew she had to do something about it but on her own terms.


The Aftermath of The Dreaming

After the album cycle of The Dreaming drained her both physically and mentally, Bush recuperated to the countryside. Living close to her parent’s home, she felt more at ease from the pressures of EMI. She changed her diet to something healthier. She honed her interpretive dancing by learning ballet from choreographer Diane Gray. And also, she built a studio inside the barn just behind her parents’ farm. She had the freedom to express her full potential as a musician, and especially as a producer. She would create one of the best art-pop albums in music history.


A Deal with God

On the 5th of August 1985, Bush released Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God). It remains a (self-written and self-produced) love song—and what’s more commercially appealing than that. Though for Bush, she didn’t want to simply create a record about such.

To love is to understand, and in her own poetic sensibility, she amplified its significance. With understanding comes the struggles to do so in one’s own subjectivity. So, she presented the idea of gender-swapping.

Do you want to feel how it feels, do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me? Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making?

Originally titled A Deal With God, it was later changed to what the title is now. This was because about ten countries might not play a track with the word “God” in it. Nevertheless, the idea was still intact. Bush makes a deal with God to let her and her lover swap places with each other. She is willing to run up hills and buildings if that’ll make both of them understand love—their love—more.

The song was a commercial success—awarding Bush her first top 40 hit on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was also critically acclaimed for its profound exploration of love within the grand and driving rhythms of the track. “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” was a promising taste of what’s to come.


A Filmic Universe In The World of Music

Bush released her 5th studio album Hounds Of Love on September 16, 1985—a triumphant return to the industry. With 12 tracks separated into two sides, the singer created an almost-cinematic kind of world. This deals with the many facets of love and life, musically and thematically.

The first part is an accessible collection of hit-worthy tracks, without comprising Bush’s artistic vision. It talks about love and one’s frustrations with it on the lead single, the fear of it on the title track. In The Big Sky, Bush reminisces about childhood activities. Dueto the demands of life, she no longer has the time to do. Moreover, she also talks about protecting loved ones. Both from the perspectives of the parent and child, in Mother Stands for Comfort and Cloudbusting, respectively. And she presents these themes in different roles in the songs and in the music videos—like a movie actor.


The 9th Wave

The A-Side of Hounds Of Love was for EMI’s satisfaction and craving for hits—which they received. But the next part, the B Side, was for Bush and Bush only. This was called “The 9th Wave”.

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Bush based the Wave on the 1859 poem Idylls of the King. She tells the story of a woman that gets shipwrecked in the middle of a freezingly cold sea at night. Bush is all alone, in a life jacket. She starts to be consumed by her own imagination—in response to her terrifying situation. In the Wave’s first track, she has the dream-like piano ballad And Dream of Sheep. Bush references the light in the woman’s life jacket serving as a guide for rescuers to soon save her.

With Under Ice, the woman dreams about herself skating on a frozen river. She then discovers a moving figure underneath that she soon learns is herself, drowning. This prompts her to wake up from such a terrifying dream. Waking the Witch, Watching You Without Me, and Jig of Life all deal with the woman’s hallucinations of the past, present, and future, respectively, as she drowns.

The Wave comes to its cinematic-like end. Hello, Earth is a six-minute piece about the final breath of a woman. Because of everything that has happened to her, she has now lost herself from both the real and subconscious world. But, thankfully, the woman is rescued on The Morning Fog—a beautiful track about her new outlook on life.

Bush would later recreate The 9th Wave in 2014 for the music video of the Wave’s first track, And Dream Of Sheep. She would also implement it for her live shows the same year that would soon become 2016’s Before The Dawn.


Moving forward at That Hill

Hounds Of Love is often noted by critics as Kate Bush’s best work, as well as her most approachable for the majority. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) propels itself and its album of origin. It also propels herself into the playlists of more people because of Stranger Things. It’s a perfect time to delve into her whole discography.

After Hounds, it’s best to check Bush’s debut album The Kick Inside first. Her follow-up to the former, The Sensual World, is also a good choice since these albums are quick to click. Upon finishing these works, hopefully, you have grasped the lexicon of the pop genius to dive deeper into her more explorative records.


Kate Bush is a once-in-a-generation artist, and her re-emergence to the youth today is a testament to her power as such.

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