Gen Z Has Finally Discovered Kate Bush, and I’m Thrilled


We’ve all been there. It might be a book you read at a formative time in your life, or a film you hold especially close to your heart. Then, whether due to a social media trend or a mention in a hit TV show, that same cultural artifact is suddenly everywhere, with many professing their surprise at just how brilliant the artist who made it truly is. And even though you know it isn’t the nicest thing to feel, your first instinct is: Where have you all been?

So it was for many over the past few days as they realized one of their most beloved musicians—the iconic British singer-songwriter Kate Bush—had become a Gen Z sensation after her 1985 track “Running Up That Hill” was featured on a recent episode of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things. (The needle drop comes in after one of the show’s main characters, Sadie Sink’s Max, realizes that playing your favorite song will ward off one of the Upside Down’s most nefarious monsters.)

Over the weekend, the song shot to the top of the U.S. iTunes charts, with the show’s largely teenage fanbase taking to Twitter and TikTok to post about their new musical discovery from decades past. Others, however—notably long-time Bush fans of a certain generation, who have patiently sat through many decades of radio silence from a musician notorious for taking long hiatuses and doing minimal press—rolled their eyes. “How could you not know about the genius of Kate Bush already?” appeared to be the consensus from many on Twitter.

A disclaimer: Anyone who knows me knows that I have a borderline pathological obsession with Bush and her music. An important memory for me was seeing the video for her breakout 1978 track “Wuthering Heights,” the piano-led ballad with its allusions to Emily Brontë, bonkers key changes, and infamously acrobatic vocals, while watching a music video channel (remember those?) as a kid. Seeing Bush, who trained in contemporary dance, twirl and wave her arms through a spectral white mist in a floaty batwing dress, her eyes wide with urgency, I was mesmerized.

I would go on to discover the entirety of Bush’s eclectic catalog, from the lyrically complex vignettes of her early albums Lionheart and Never for Ever, to what is arguably her masterpiece, the thrillingly experimental 1982 record The Dreaming. When Bush would deliver one of her rare missives, or announce a new release, I’d scour online message boards to join the conversation and share my excitement. One of my greatest regrets in life—no exaggeration here—was missing the Before the Dawn concert residency at the Hammersmith Apollo in 2014, her first live performances since 1979, and very possibly her last.





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