In season 4, Kate Bush's Running Up That Hill is revealed to be Max's favorite song. She is heard listening to it on her Walkman and it's ultimately used to free her from Vecna when she is possessed in the graveyard.

According to Wikipedia

The song itself has often been misinterpreted. Bush herself has said,

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 place for a while, I think we'd both be very surprised! [Laughs] 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!'

Obviously, it fits in very well with the 80s setting of the show (and Kate Bush approves!). Given the above quote from Kate, are we meant to infer that the song is Max's way of trying to understand the men in her life, via the death of her stepbrother Billy, her former relationship with Lucas, her abusive stepfather, or some(one/thing) else altogether?

  • 1
    Kate Bush's version of Running Up That Hill for values of version of that strictly mean wrote it. The wiki page for the song lists the first cover as appearing in 1994, which is accurate to my knowledge, which means it's the only version available to Max.
    – studog
    Jun 8, 2022 at 15:29
  • Follow-up question: In the song, what is actually the protagonist's part in the deal? Jun 13, 2022 at 7:07

1 Answer 1


From the words of God Buzzfeed

Nora Felder told Variety that she was tasked by The Duffer Brothers to find a song that resonated with Max's "complex feelings."

"It immediately struck me with its deep chords of the possible connection to Max’s emotional struggles and took on more significance as Bush's song marinated in my conscious awareness," she explained.

"Kate Bush's lyrics can mean very different things to different people. In the face of Max's painful isolation and alienation from others, a 'deal with god' could heart-wrenchingly reflect Max's implicit belief that only a miracle of unlikely understanding and show of support could help her climb the hills of life before her."

"In Max's situation, the need for a 'deal with god' can perhaps be metaphorically understood as a desperate cry for love — to manifest the extraordinary understanding and support Max needed while feeling so painfully alone."

  • Kate's comments from Wikipedia seem to indicate that any aspect of God in the song is really just a means to an end for achieving the "swap of faces". Are there any subtle hints in the show of the spiritual aspect that Felder is describing(aside from the scene taking place in a cemetery)?
    – jonsca
    Jun 8, 2022 at 4:34
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    @jonsca show did talk about religious aspects from the point of Victor Creel or Jason Carver but then both cases were coming from paranoia. But from Max's point of view not remembered as such. Also, the song's meaning from the show should be taken from the creator's perspective rather than the singer I feel. As the song was not created for the show but the show used something which they felt fit.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Jun 8, 2022 at 5:37
  • 2
    That's a reasonable point about the point of view of the interpretation. I think there's still something deeper there, but maybe we'll have to wait for the next 2 episodes to find out!
    – jonsca
    Jun 8, 2022 at 5:48

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