Saturday, September 12, 2015

Song of the Day #198 - Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)

And if I only could, I'd make a deal with God...

Kate Bush is one of those artists that I feel like, aware of, and somewhat knowledgeable about maybe, and understand with a sort of reverence, like, I know she's made all these great innovative albums, I know Big Boi loves her, but I just... could never get in to? Not that I made a huge effort... I'd try listening to her a bit, and then think "this is WAY too 80s" and have to stop. And I mean, I knew that she was actually a big reason that the 80s sound like the 80s to me, and that the legion of insufferable bands that co-opted a sound she was instrumental in developing shouldn't turn me away from the originator, but at the same time, I knew I could never have the same experience that people listening to this 30 years ago would have, when they were unaware of the mediocrity it inspired, when they had never heard anything like this, when this wasn't "80s" but just "now" and felt like "the future". I could never really have that experience, so why force myself, why get frustrated, when I could just move on to similar experiences available to me (e.g. listening to Julia Holter).

Okay but then when I see this song end up on so many best-of lists and when I look at the lyrics and find them so intriguing (although I think the meaning that I baselessly projected onto it ended up being more interesting than Bush's stated meaning lol) and when I see threads on /mu/ where people in a rare form of civility and expertise are debating my beloved Newsom vs Kate Bush and champion this as a high water mark of the latter, I really really do want to get it.

And then I did. Oh man I did. It wasn't hard! I just heard the chorus. I don't know if I hadn't heard it before, or I didn't somehow connect with it at that time, or what... maybe it was when I first sang along with it? It's so kinetic, so triumphant! The way her vocals shift down on "could", and then the next line starts around the same, but "God" is shifted down even lower... ahhh, why is that so good? And the way she brings it back in varying forms near the breakdown at the end... Oh man oh man. Okay yes the synths are cheesy. And the drums even more so. And it makes me think of movies I don't want to watch. But buried in there, buried just deep enough that I can find it, but that the finding makes it that much more golden, is a glorious reminder that people 30 years ago felt and thought like we do today. It's obvious in retrospect, as obvious as the melody of the chorus is simple, but that doesn't make it any less dynamic, when you really really get it.

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