Inarguable Pop Classics #3: Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill

Inarguable Pop Classics #3: Kate Bush – Running Up That Hill

‘Running Up That Hill’ marked a shift for Kate Bush in more ways than one, the first single from her 1985 album ‘Hounds of Love’, it marked a move away from the flamboyant, literature inspired dramatics of her early albums. Its throbbing basslines, undulating beat, squawking synths and elegantly pared back production build a tension that’s entwined with Kate’s entrancing vocal dexterity. Her ability to shiver down the register thrown into sharp focus and peaking on the utterly affecting chorus: her every note invested with a depth and emotive quality the reflects how personal the subject matter is.

Originally entitled ‘Deal With God’ the title was changed to reflect the fact that the subject matter wasn’t actually that overtly religious at all, it was a song about relationships: the inventive lyric imagines trading gender roles to see how the other half live, in an attempt to try and understand the other sex. As she puts it: “If we could actually be in each other’s place for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised! [Laughs] And I think it would lead to a greater understanding. And really the only way I could think it could be done was either… you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. And I thought, ‘well, no, why not a deal with God!’ You know, because in a way it’s so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you.”

Bush even had to fight with her label for ‘Running Up That Hill’ to be the lead single from her fifth album, 1985’s Hounds of Love, arguing that it reflected that album’s broader pallete. Bush’s typical artistic bravery was royally rewarded when the single was the most successful of Bush’s 1980s releases, entering the UK chart at No. 9 and eventually peaking at No. 3. ‘Running Up That Hill’ wasn’t just a hypnotizing pop song of depth, sensitivity and maturity from an outstanding artist, but a startling achievement with the ability to affect its every listener, to this day.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.