The Chicago Journal

Stranger Things and Nora Felder Help Running Up That Hill Slip Back into the Mainstream

Stranger Things has been a phenomenon since it was released in 2016. No one could have imagined just how big this would get.

Stranger Things has always been a show that pays homage to its retro roots, and this year was no exception. The latest season of the Netflix series follows suit by incorporating an old favorite into mainstream culture: Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God).

The song plays an important role in the plot, particularly around Sadie Sink’s Max’s story. After losing her step-brother Billy (played by the charismatic Dacre Montgomery) to the Mind Flayer, she is left dealing with her feelings of isolation and depression.

The season picks six months after the end of season three with the young heroes in high school. While Finn Wolfhard and Gaten Matarazz continue to be social outcasts Mike and Dustin, Caleb McLaughlin’s Lucas Sinclair has found a new life as a jock. Max often has her headphones on with Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill playing on full volume. Ultimately, the song plays a crucial role in Max’s first confrontation with the new main villain, Vecna.

Throughout the story, teenagers have been dying in an homage to A Nightmare on Elm Street. When Max realizes she may be next, they try to find a way to stop her from suffering the same demise. Ultimately, they discover a loophole – music. The information arrives right on time as Max nearly falls victim to Vecna. Hearing the Kate Bush classic allows her to slip away.

Fans who fell in love with the track have Nora Felder to thank. The longtime music supervisor for the show stepped in while show creators Matt and Ross Duffer were struggling to find the right song for the scene.

“The song really needed to resonate with Max’s experience and amplify her need for strength and support at that time,” explained the music supervisor. With Running Up That Hill, Felder immediately felt a surge of excitement. “The more the song marinated in my conscious awareness, I realized this was something that could be special.”

Opinions expressed by The Chicago Journal contributors are their own.