“You don’t want to hurt me,
but see how deep the bullet lies.”
About the song:
“Running Up That Hill” is a song by Kate Bush, from her 1985 album, Hounds of Love. It was the first single from that album, released in the U.K. in August of 1985. It was also Kate’s first song to be released as a 12″ single.
The song was the most successful of Kate’s 1980’s releases, entering the U.K. chart at #9, and eventually peaking at #3. The single also had an impact in the U.S., providing Kate with her first chart hit in the U.S. since 1978.
Originally the song was to be released as “A Deal with God”, but representatives at EMI were hesitant to release the song with that title owing to possible negative reception because of the use of the word “God”. Kate relented, changing the title.
However, the album version of the song is listed as “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)”.
The song has often been misinterpreted. Kate has described the song as following:
“I was trying to say that, really, a man and a woman can’t understand each other because we are a man and a woman. And if we could actually swap each other’s roles, if we could actually be in each other’s places for a while, I think we’d both be very surprised! And I think it would lead to a greater understanding. And really the only way I could think it could be done was either…you know, I thought a deal with the devil, you know. And I thought, ‘well, no, why not a deal with God!’ You know, because in a way it’s so much more powerful the whole idea of asking God to make a deal with you. You see, for me it is still called “Deal with God”, that was its title. But we were told that if we kept this title that it would not be played in any of the religious countries, Italy wouldn’t play it, France wouldn’t play it, and Australia wouldn’t play it! Ireland wouldn’t play it, and that generally we might get it blacked purely because it had God in the title.”
The music video (see below) features Kate performing an interpretive dance with dancer Michael Hervieu. The video was directed by David Garfath while the dance routines were choreographed by Diane Grey.
I’m not sure I ever caught the male and female connotations in the song, nor do I believe it is that simple, dividing gender as diametrical differences, but I do see what is being described. To me, I felt it was more about no one ever understanding completely what it feels like to be in someone’s skin, and that with someone you are close to, be it a lover, a friend, or a family member, if you could swap skin and shoes and existences, if even for a day, what understanding would be gleaned by the experience?
As for God in this song? Me and God have not been such good friends, to the point that I’m not all that sure I believe in such a thing at all. That said, the idea of it, of making a deal with an perceived almighty, well that’s some pretty heady stuff to consider, much less do.
Running Up that Hill :: Kate Bush
from the album, Hounds of Love