How the phenomenon “Stranger Things” vindicates the music of Kate Bush

Kate Bush became popular for new generations for a song of hers that appears in the series “Stranger Things”

The reasons why the artists who had their moment of splendor more than 30 years ago today are news or trends in networks (which is not the same, but in many cases it is) are few: it is a round anniversary of one of their most successful works, announce some tour that could be the last, or they died. It’s cruel, but in times of raging clickbait, that’s how it is. That is why it is especially rare that in the last days Kate Bush has become TT, that his songs are obtaining millionaires and unexpected peaks of reproductions on digital platforms, that the media and networks are flooded with mentions, quotes and articles like this one. Because although his fourth album, dreaming, this year could celebrate four decades since his departure, there do not seem to be big celebrations around him; because his last big appearance was eight years ago, with a series of concerts in London, and since then he hasn’t performed live again; and because luckily he didn’t die.

Kate Busha name that, at least in Argentina, until a week ago only those who witnessed the golden age of Rock & Pop, or those who keep the car radio and his musical tastes nailed on FM Aspen.

But not.

The reason why Kate Bush today it’s news (and yes, a trend on social networks) is as curious as it is fascinating: one of his best-known songs is played in the new season of one of the most popular on-demand television series of the moment and becomes, like 37 years ago , into a global hit. Has the industry already given a name to this phenomenon of forgotten hits that are hit again after decades? Could you tell them re-hit? Very good: thanks to stranger things, “Running Up That Hill”of Kate Bushbecame a re-hit.

Video clip of “Running up that hill”, by Kate Bush, a gem of the eighties revived these days by the series “Stranger Things”

Briefly: stranger things is a highly successful American science fiction and suspense series starring teenagers and set in the 1980s, which is broadcast on Netflix; On May 27, the first part of its long-awaited fourth season premiered, in whose fourth episode, in a chilling and magnificent scene, one of its protagonists manages to avoid being abducted by the evil and dark “Otro Lado” thanks to her song favourite, which is…“Running Up That Hill”of Kate Bush! That was enough so that, in less than a week, the song reached the top of iTunes reproductions, exceeded 120 million passes on Spotify, and on YouTube, where the original clip of the song accumulates more than 50 million views, the official channel of Kate Bush overflowing with comments from fascinated and fascinated teenagers. Result: a new generation has just discovered (and fallen for) one of the most important pop artists of the 80s.

What in stranger things sound 80’s music is natural. Only in the fourth season is heard Baltimore, Talking Heads, Extreme, The Cramps and also to Kiss and the beach boys. And in previous seasons they have sounded Joy Division, New Order, The Bangles, Vangelis, Dolly Parton, The Clash… Music is an essential part of the plot, and nothing that is heard there (often on cassettes that go in and out of radio recorders and walkmans) is casual or indifferent. The curious thing, in any case, is the effect it generates on those who hear those songs for the first time. It is not, of course, a new phenomenon: the cinema is full of examples in which a soundtrack rescues songs or artists from oblivion. The particularity of the time is that today the reaction of the audience can be measured in real time: if a song arouses curiosity, you don’t have to wait months to corroborate it in the sales figures because in a matter of hours, the platforms throw up millionaire figures. It’s what happened with “Running Up That Hill”.

Max's character (Sadie Sink) plays over and over "running up that hill"by Kate Bush, on her walkman from the 80s
Max’s character (Sadie Sink) plays Kate Bush’s “Running up that hill” over and over again on his 1980s walkman

What does this powerful song talk about, capable of scaring away one of the most nefarious monsters of the “Upside Down”? To sign a “pact with God” to be the person she loves and thus understand what she feels. “Don’t you want to feel how she feels? Do you want to know why it doesn’t hurt? Do you want to hear about the deal I’m making? You, it’s you and me. And if only I could make a deal with God, and have him switch places. To be running up this road, to be running up this hill”… It seems composed especially for a series of mysteries and supernatural situations starring troubled and boiling teenagers. And yet…

“Running Up That Hill” was released on August 5, 1985 and was the most successful cut of hounds of lovefifth disc of Kate Bush. Then, Catherine Bush (born in the county of Kent, England, on July 30, 1958) was already an artist of global importance because, among other things, she had managed to be the first woman to reach the top of the UK record sales rankings. , and the first singer-songwriter to reach number 1 on the US Billboard magazine charts. And he had achieved it with a very experimental, introspective and personal music that combined a soprano voice with a very wide register with provocative lyrics inspired by literary classics as well as by neighbors on his block, who spoke of homosexuality, tortuous dreams, nuclear wars and cinema.

On top of that, at a time when the radios flooded the world with disco music and the splinters of punk rock resounded in the First World slums and post-punk was already being talked about as a whole genre, they included convoluted melodies, folk, classical piano, arrangements choirs, oriental airs, psychedelia, violins, the first electronic drums… A precious rarity that attracted mainstream rock stars like David GilmourPeter Gabriel Y Princewas the ethereal and reflective counterpart of the sexy arrogance of madonnawas part of the barrage of girls who incorporated the female look into a always macho rock (a list that does not end in Sinéad O’Connor, Suzanne Vega, Annie Lennox, Cyndi Lauper, Siouxie…) and inspired new generations of female artists willing to continue pushing the limits of Anglo popular music, such as Tori Amos, Bjork Y Fiona Appleamong many others.

Kate Bush in the eighties
Kate Bush in the eighties

The race of Kate Bush, however, did not develop in the way that might have been expected for a pop star like the one she became. He did not tour endlessly for decades or star in scandals. He raised a family, recorded a few precious records… In 2014 he returned to the stage for the first time after several decades with 22 sold-out performances at London’s Hammersmith Apollo Theatre, an ambitious mix of music, dance and theater whose record can be heard at before dawn, a live album published in 2016. In 2018, he released a series of CD and vinyl boxes with remastered versions of his entire catalog plus some rarities and unreleased albums. In 2019 she published a book of hers with her lyrics, under a title that speaks a lot about her: How to Be Invisible (“How to be invisible”). This year she was nominated as a potential inductee into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. And this week she became fashionable.

Kate Bush is not an artist with much exposure, her last appearance on stage was eight years ago
Kate Bush is not an artist with much exposure, her last appearance on stage was eight years ago

As for Max (the character from stranger things who embodies the actress Sadie Sink), the songs of Kate Bush they were a refuge for millions of teenagers from the 80s who felt “weird”. More than 30 years later, the sons and daughters of those “weird” teenagers, boys and girls who identify with Max and his friends, discover that old songs can be refuges as or more containers than a new Netflix series. . The cycle of life, reflected in the entertainment industry, can sometimes bring good things.


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