The Meaning Behind Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’s Lyrics


It’s hard to ignore the reinstated hype around Kate Bush’s hit single Running Up That Hill, a track that was originally released in 1985. The song topped the charts in the UK and the U.S. after it appeared in season four of Netflix’s much-loved sci-fi show Stranger Things in June this year and an array of TikTok trends emerged in tribute to the classic song. As a results, many people must be wondering, what is the meaning behind Running Up That Hill and what was Bush really trying to say with the song’s haunting but beautiful lyrics?

For those who need it, here’s a quick explainer on Running Up That Hill’s appearance in Stranger Things: the song is used throughout series four to mirror Max’s personal journey after (spoiler alert) her brother Billy’s passing in the previous season.

Despite coming out nearly 40 years ago, the track still resonates with young viewers, many of whom listened to it for the first time when it was played during a key scene in episode four. But what does the track actually mean and how is it relevant and relatable even today?

Well, lucky for us, we have the answer from the songwriter herself. According to Bush, the song is about swapping places with another person in an attempt to understand things from their perspective.

In an interview from 1985 with The New Music, the artist explained, “It’s about a relationship between a man and a woman. They love each other very much, and the power of the relationship is something that gets in the way. It creates insecurities,” she told the magazine.

“It’s saying, if the man could be the woman and the woman the man, if they could make a deal with God, to change places, that they’d understand what it’s like to be the other person and perhaps it would clear up misunderstandings. You know, all the little problems; there would be no problem,” she continued.

In fact, the singer intended for the song to be named A Deal With God but changed on her producer’s suggestion. They were afraid to use the word ‘God’ in the title as it could add religious connotations to the tune and alienate certain audiences.

A few months back, while speaking on BBC Radio’s Woman’s Hour about the resurgence of the song, Bush reiterated a similar message, explaining that the lyrics were about broadening perspectives.

Running Up That Hill is arguably the 63-year-old singer’s finest track and it’s been intriguing to watch it return as a pop hit today.

Read the full lyrics here:

It doesn’t hurt me (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Do you want to feel how it feels? (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Do you want to know, know that it doesn’t hurt me? (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Do you want to hear about the deal that I’m making? (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

You It’s you and me

And if I only could

I’d make a deal with God

And I’d get him to swap our places

Be running up that road Be running up that hill

Be running up that building

Say, if I only could, oh

You don’t want to hurt me (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

But see how deep the bullet lies (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Unaware, I’m tearing you asunder (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Oh, there is thunder in our hearts (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Is there so much hate for the ones we love? (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Tell me, we both matter, don’t we? (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

You

It’s you and me

It’s you and me, won’t be unhappy

And if I only could I’d make a deal with God

And I’d get him to swap our places

Be running up that road Be running up that hill

Be running up that building (Ye-yo)

Say, if I only could, oh

You (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

It’s you and me

It’s you and me, won’t be unhappy (Ye-yeah, yeah, yo)

Oh, come on, baby (Ye-yeah)

Oh, come on, darling (Ye-yo)

Let me steal this moment from you now

Oh, come on, angel (Yeah)

Come on, come on, darling

Let’s exchange the experience (Ye-oh, ooh, ooh)

And if I only could I’d make a deal with God

And I’d get him to swap our places

Be running up that road Be running up that hill

Be running up that building (Ye-yo)



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