Sunday, 9 February 2014

"Running Up That Hill"

A song that has always touched me is Kate Bush's single "Running Up That Hill (Deal With God)". The refrain goes:

And if I only could,
Make a deal with God,
And get Him to swap our places,
[I'd] Be running up that road,
Be running up that hill,
Be running up that building.
While Bush's own intention is somewhat superficial -- if only a man and a woman could swap places for a while, they would understand each other better -- I have always interpreted the song in a more somber tone, imagining a loved one dying and someone dear to them pleading with God to swap their places. I have experienced that type of "bargaining" with God before, so it is easy for me to imagine a mother wishing to swap places with her child dying of a terminal illness, or a spouse wishing he or she could swap places with his or her dying partner, which is my interpretation of the song.

Honestly, it is not the original version by Kate Bush that I love best, but instead it is the version by Placebo that is the one I listen to most often. They covered the song first in 2003.

Faith and the Muse also did a cover which sounds like a mixture of Kate Bush's original sound and Placebo's sound. The cover by Chromatics seems to take the inspiration from the original rather than from the Placebo version, but it is quite pleasing on the ear.

Similar to Placebo that made the song their own is Tori Amos who also covered the song in a way that is uniquely Tori Amos, mixing it into her own song "God Sometimes You Just Don't Come Through". Definitely worth listening to.

Another cover that has to be mentioned is the one by Theo Bleckmann who does something ethereal with the song, and then mixes into it a charming jazziness before speeding up the percussions so that listener feels like "running up that hill" as well. I love it. I don't have any Bleckmann albums, but I'm guessing I would enjoy listening to more of his stuff.

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