Are We All Running Up that Hill?

Are We All Running Up that Hill?


It’s been a pretty good spring and summer for Kate Bush so far. Her track ‘Running Up that Hill’ from the 1985 album Hounds of Love went to number one on both the UK and Billboard charts following a very slick sync on season four of Stranger Things (2016-). Even though it’s back down to a modest number 3 on the UK singles charts currently, I still hear it on the radio every single time I get in the car.

Not only that, a few days ago, the UK charts reported that Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets’ (1986) could become their first Top 40 single in 14 years following another successful Stranger Things sync and Discogs reported a 613% increase of the Master of Puppets (1986) album to users’ wantlist.

On the one hand, the increased interest in ‘Running Up that Hill’ and ‘Master of Puppets’ clearly indicates how powerful a good sync can be. This isn’t a huge surprise, and we can look at singles like ‘Happy’ (2013) and the Saturday Night Fever (1977) soundtrack for further evidence.

On the other hand, you might have noticed the huge interest in retro and re-discovery. Kate Bush and Metallica are only two examples and given the popularity of Stranger Things the correlation seems reasonable. But why is Stranger Things so popular to begin with? It is a fairly well-written show with an interesting premise, but I have to admit that for me they’ve lost track of the original idea a little bit. Season four was better than season three as far as I’m concerned, and fans often have a sense of loyalty to a show (I know I certainly kept watching Criminal Minds long after I lost interest because I wanted ~closure~). Stranger Things is also a high production Netflix shows, which tends to generate interest and views. But all this aside – the whole show is just like a lavish bath in retro. It is, of course, set in the 1980s, but even the bad 80s fashion is stylised. It’s quite simply a 2020s take on the 1980s and has contributed to an increased interest in the 1980s even if it is the ‘40 years later’ version.

Anyway, I said Kate Bush and Metallica were only two examples ... Beyoncé’s released her new single ‘Break My Soul’ which uses Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’ (1993), and has an upcoming album called Renaissance which sounds like it might follow a similar theme given the meaning of the word. Elton John and Dua Lipa are at number 57 with ‘Cold Heart’ that remixes a few of Elton John’s previous singles including ‘Rocket Man’ (1972) and ‘Sacrifice’ (1989). And at number one in the UK? LF System’s ‘Afraid to Feel’, which might sound familiar because of the 1979 single by Silk ‘I Can't Stop (Turning You On)’.

Generally, I’m a big fan of retro, and I do actually enjoy the aforementioned tracks, but I also have a niggling feeling that things are feeling a little stale, or kitsch. For me, retro becomes exciting when there are new things to contrast it. I want to hear Kate Bush, but then I want to hear something that feels fresh, new, different because it makes everything else feel fresher too. So (and allow me this Carrie Bradshaw moment), I can’t help but wonder, are we all running up the wrong hill ... ?

Rumour Has It

Rumour Has It

Podcasts: Top 5 Records

Podcasts: Top 5 Records