The Emotive Tapestry of “Running Up That Hill” Lyrics


“Running Up That Hill” is an iconic song by the British singer-songwriter Kate Bush. Released in 1985 as part of her album “Hounds of Love,” the track remains one of her most popular and enduring works. With its ethereal melody and thought-provoking lyrics, “Running Up That Hill” captivates listeners and continues to resonate with people across generations. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of the song’s lyrics, exploring the themes and emotions that lie beneath its surface.

Verse 1:

The opening lines of “Running Up That Hill” set the stage for a tale of emotional longing and the desire to transcend personal limitations. “It doesn’t hurt me,” Kate sings, expressing a sense of strength and resilience in the face of challenges. However, she chases it up with, “Do you want to feel how it feels?” These words evoke a yearning to understand and empathize with another person’s emotions, potentially signifying a desire to exchange experiences or perspectives.


The chorus of the song features the powerful lines, “And if I only could, I’d make a deal with God, and I’d get him to swap our places.” This striking statement reveals a desire for a complete transformation of one’s life, trading places with a loved one or a significant other. The act of running up that hill symbolizes the immense effort required to change fate and escape from life’s trials and tribulations.

Verse 2:

The second verse of the song delves deeper into the complexities of relationships, with lines like “It doesn’t hurt me,” emphasizing the strength to endure emotional pain. Kate’s repetition of this phrase reinforces the idea of stoicism and emotional fortitude. However, she also expresses a longing to “be running up that road, be running up that hill,” suggesting a yearning for an elusive, unattainable goal.


As the song progresses, the bridge introduces a sense of emotional struggle and vulnerability. The lines “If I only could, oh… come on, baby” exude a sense of desperation and frustration. This part of the song might symbolize the internal battle between the desire for personal growth and the fear of change, which many individuals can relate to on a profound level.

Chorus (repeated):

The chorus repeats, reinforcing the core message of the song: the desire for transformation and empathy. Kate’s powerful vocals infuse the lyrics with an intense emotional depth, leaving listeners with a profound sense of contemplation and self-exploration.


The song concludes with a hauntingly beautiful outro, echoing the sentiments of the previous verses. As Kate repeatedly sings, “Let’s exchange, let’s exchange,” she reinforces the theme of a profound emotional connection, potentially hinting at the essence of human relationships and the yearning for true understanding.

“Running Up That Hill” – A Timeless Exploration of Empathy and Human Connection

In “Running Up That Hill,” Kate Bush masterfully crafts a narrative that delves into the complexities of human emotions and the yearning for a deeper connection with others. Through its evocative lyrics and haunting melody, the song touches on universal themes of empathy, transformation, and the struggle to understand and be understood.

Empathy and Emotional Exchange:

At the core of “Running Up That Hill” lies the notion of empathy and the desire to truly comprehend another person’s feelings. The lines, “Do you want to feel how it feels?” and “Let’s exchange, let’s exchange,” emphasize a longing to bridge the emotional gap between individuals, to stand in another’s shoes and experience life through their perspective. This emotional exchange is not merely a fleeting curiosity but a profound yearning to forge a deeper connection with someone else.

The Metaphorical Hill:

The metaphor of “running up that hill” adds layers of meaning to the song. The hill symbolizes the obstacles and challenges in life that one must overcome to achieve personal growth and understanding. It represents the emotional journey one undertakes to break free from the confines of their own perspective and embrace the experiences of others. Kate’s repetitive use of the phrase throughout the song reinforces the effort and determination required to foster true empathy and connection.

The Struggle for Transformation:

The desire for transformation lies at the heart of the song, as Kate sings, “If I only could, I’d make a deal with God, and I’d get him to swap our places.” This line speaks to the longing for a complete shift in circumstances, a profound change that would allow for a genuine emotional exchange with another person. It reflects the human tendency to yearn for an escape from life’s trials and the belief that understanding someone else’s struggles might offer relief from our own.

The Intensity of Human Relationships:

“Running Up That Hill” also touches on the intensity of human relationships, where emotions are entangled, and the boundaries between individuals blur. The bridge’s emotional cry of “come on, baby” reveals the passionate desperation one might feel to truly connect with a loved one, to break down barriers, and to achieve mutual understanding. It encapsulates the vulnerability and rawness of emotions that can surface within intimate relationships.

Timeless Relevance:

Despite being released in 1985, “Running Up That Hill” continues to resonate with audiences today. Its exploration of empathy, vulnerability, and human connection transcends time and remains relevant in an ever-changing world. The universal nature of these themes allows the song to speak to people from different generations and cultures, reminding us of the shared essence of the human experience.


In conclusion “Running Up That Hill” stands as a masterpiece in the world of music, with its poignant lyrics and emotive melody weaving a captivating tale of human emotions and desires. Kate Bush’s ability to express raw vulnerability, strength, and yearning in her lyrics makes this song an enduring classic that continues to resonate with listeners worldwide. As we run up the metaphorical hills of our lives, this song serves as a reminder of our shared human experiences and the pursuit of empathy and understanding in an ever-changing world.

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