Why 80s British Pop Queen Kate Bush Owns 2022

Kate Bush has been lying in wait for us on this side of the mil­len­ni­um – espe­cial­ly for those of us on the U.S. side of the pond, who paid too lit­tle atten­tion when she became pop roy­al­ty in the UK (and Japan!) at the turn of the 80s.

Bush was too quirky, too British, and maybe too much her own woman for U.S. audi­ences, maybe. But now they’re ready. Final­ly, in the mil­lions, Amer­i­cans are catch­ing up to the bril­liance of her 1985 sin­gle “Run­ning Up That Hill” thanks to its res­ur­rec­tion by Stranger Things Sea­son 4.

Thus far, the Inter­net has pre­ferred her ear­ly stuff. Her first album and its epony­mous sin­gle, Wuther­ing Heights, gar­nered atten­tion online because of its beloved, bizarre video, an inspi­ra­tion to Kate fans world­wide. 1979 was the last time that she toured and the last time she appeared onstage until a 2015 come­back appear­ance.

Bush relied on elab­o­rate music films to car­ry her image. Her ear­ly turn to video, we might say, helped make her a cult favorite when she declined to be a celebri­ty for a few decades. Now video has killed the tour­ing super­star, and Bush is an Amer­i­can pop queen.

In 2022 — almost 40 years after its release — “Run­ning Up That Hill” has hit No 1 on the Hot Bill­board 100 Song­writ­ers charts, the first song by a female artist to top the chart this year. Her 1985 album Hounds of Love has become Bush’s first Bill­board No. 1 album, this sum­mer, rank­ing at the top for alter­na­tive albums and No. 2 for top rock albums.

“Run­ning Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” first peaked at No. 3 on British charts in 1985. The  album, Hounds of Love — one of her very best among a long string of great records — was hailed as “f**ing” bril­liant” by NME. “Our Kate’s a genius, the rarest solo artist this coun­try’s ever pro­duced,” wrote Jane Solanas.

Over here in the States, we were hard­ly unaware of Kate. Although “Run­ning Up That Hill” only hit No. 30 on the charts, her music con­tin­ued to thrive in under­ground scenes yet unmea­sured by sales and chart posi­tions. (Hounds of Love’s “Cloud­bust­ing” invad­ed U.S. raves and clubs in 1992 via sam­ples in British group Utah Saints’ “Some­thing Good,” a song most peo­ple heard on sketchy dance floors and rat­ty cas­sette mix­tapes).

As for the main­stream U.S. press, well… “The Mis­tress of Mys­ti­cism has woven anoth­er album that both daz­zles and bores,” wrote a Rolling Stone crit­ic in 1985. “Her vision will seem sil­ly to those who believe chil­dren should be seen and not heard.” A New York Times’ review called Hounds of Love “slight­ly pre­cious, cal­cu­lat­ed female art rock.”

There’s noth­ing slight about Kate Bush’s work, but Cheers to the sounds of f***ing bril­liant chil­dren at work. See why Bush’s revival — or endur­ing stay­ing pow­er — should come as no sur­prise in the Poly­phon­ic video above.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Kate Bush Enjoys a (Long-Over­due) Revival, Sparked by Sea­son 4 of Stranger Things

Revis­it Kate Bush’s Pecu­liar Christ­mas Spe­cial, Fea­tur­ing Peter Gabriel (1979)

300 Kate Bush Imper­son­ators Pay Trib­ute to Kate Bush’s Icon­ic “Wuther­ing Heights” Video

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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