Before I even got to start season 4 of Stranger Things, I noticed that something kept trending online, just the term “Episode 4,” which at a quick glance, was indeed related to the premiere of this first batch of seven episodes.
The episode is called “Dear Billy,” and most Stranger Things fans would agree it’s the best of the new collection, especially due to its powerful, climactic ending.
Throughout the episode, it seems like Max has been marked with the “curse” of Vecna and will be the next teen to be brutally murdered by the Upside Down demon. But just as she’s about to have all her limbs broken, her friends relay the message that music can tether you from Vecna’s cursed world to the real one, and they play her favorite song as she’s in a trance, trying to dodge death in the Upside Down.
That song? Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.
Copyright issues will prevent me from showing you this scene here, but it’s an extremely powerful one as Max leans on the power of friendship to rip herself free of Vecna’s grasp and return to real life, all as Kate Bush’s famous track off 1985’s Hounds of Love surges in the background.
The end result is that the moment is so memorable, it’s introduced an entirely new generation to Kate Bush and that song, which has spread wildly all over TikTok and has actually become the #1 song on iTunes right now as a direct result of this episode and this scene. I mean hell, I downloaded it.
Since I was born after this song was released, the first time I actually heard it was with a widely played cover by the band Placebo, which has shown up in series like The OC and Vampire Diaries. But obviously Kate Bush’s is the original, and that’s the version that Stranger Things got here.
Stranger Things has done great things with musical moments before, multiple scenes with Peter Gabriel’s Heroes, a cover of a David Bowie track, come to mind, though I’d argue this Running Up That Hill scene is probably even better.
As for Kate Bush? She’s still around, 63 years old and forever an icon. And hopefully making a good chunk of change now that the purchases of the track are rolling in, in addition to whatever she got for Stranger Things to use the song in the first place.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.