Since its inclusion on the Netflix show’s fourth season, Kate Bush’s track has reached new listeners — and topped the iTunes charts. If you’re just getting started with this songwriter’s magical work, you’re in for a treat
When I was about nine years old, I saw a movie that probably started my life on the path it’s taken ever since. Rented at an Apollo video store in the early 2000s, this film was the 1999 teenage romantic comedy 10 things I hate about youin which Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and, most importantly to me, Julia Stiles as Kat Stratford, the rebellious, glass hood-Reading, rock music enthusiastic main character.
This article contains spoilers for Season 4 of Stranger Things
Since all world-changing TV shows and movies are at this age, it was way too grown up for me when I first saw it, but something about the movie got into my brain and told me something about who I wanted to be and who I would become. The music in the film – Letters to Cleo, with her brilliant frontwoman Kay Hanley; the French electro band Air – informed so much about my tastes, and the dialogue, with characters talking about bands like the Raincoats and Bikini Kill, was my first introduction to the world of “angry girl music of indie rock persuasion”. famous words of the film.
It’s no surprise that young people learn music from film and television – they are often our gateways into the wider culture and offer glimpses into worlds we haven’t seen before. For many in the last few days, the fourth season of Netflix stranger things proved to be one of those goals by using Kate Bush’s 1985 single “Running Up That Hill.”
The song is so prominent in the season that it almost has a character of its own. When Max (Sadie Sink) becomes the target of new villain Vecna, she keeps listening to her favorite song to make sure the monster can’t invade her mind. In the climax moments, just as she’s about to be killed, the group realizes that music can potentially bring her consciousness back from the Upside Down. They play her favorite song and she finds her way back to Hawkins. In other words, Kate Bush is saving her life. For some viewers, it was the first time they had heard Bush’s strange, magical music. The song promptly reached number one on the iTunes charts.
Of course, we live in an age where people really spill everything on the internet, so some have vociferously wondered why it takes a TV show for people to get to know an artist as seminal as Bush, although I’m not sure Gen Z’s lack of knowledge of the songwriter is particularly surprising given that she hasn’t released new music in over a decade, last played live in 2014, rarely makes public statements and currently resides in a remote part of the Devon coast. She is therefore the queen of being unnoticed, which probably makes her even more appealing to the young people who are currently finding her for the first time, as internet smitten as anyone watching a Netflix show probably is.
While the impulse to be “gatekeeper” probably has to do with Kate Bush stranger things‘ Ultimately, it’s more exciting than disconcerting that Bush’s special, one-of-a-kind art is finding its way into so many more ears. What a thrill her new fans are in for: Loving Kate Bush means getting constant revelations.
While she makes tunes that are absolutely undeniable (I once went to a karaoke night where we ended with “Wuthering Heights,” and the whole booth was full of people waving their arms, twirling, and wailing Bush-esk; everyone It’s not exactly a niche song with that power), hers is dense, complex music whose meaning seems to shift as you get older, aging with you as you understand more about the world and about being human.
dogs of lovethe record that “Running Up That Hill” is taken from is a wonderful starting point for her work (it includes similarly catchy but rousing tracks like “Hounds of Love”, “The Big Sky” and my favorite “Cloudbusting”, a rousing Ode to Familial Love), but dig deeper and you will find such delights as self-actualized experimentation the dreamingand her 2011 Director’s Cutwhere she had re-recorded and restructured her own music long before (Taylor’s version), there was a twinkle in Ms Swift’s eyes.
It’s true in life, as in art, that the things that ultimately mean the most to us often come from the most unexpected places. I wonder if many stranger things Viewers will be looking back to the moment they heard “Running Up That Hill” on the show for years to come – like my experience as a kid, my consciousness expands by the second while I’m recording it 10 things I hate about you in all of his glorious young adulthood – and see her life as changed from that moment on. Hopefully.