If anything, make it weirder

Today I listened to ‘Cloudbusting’ by Kate Bush for the first time in a while. What a gloriously strange song it is. Best of all, it’s one of those songs that obscures what it is really about. It’s not a song about a change in the weather, but about Wilhelm Reich, the orgone accumulator, fluorescent yo-yos, and a son (rather than a sun) coming out.

‘Cloudbusting’ is from ‘Hounds of Love’, Kate’s ‘comeback’ album following the commercial failure of ‘The Dreaming’, an album I wrote about in my understated classics series. It features four UK top 10 singles and some of her best work.

Does ‘The Hounds of Love’ in any way represent a compromise in artistic integrity compared to ‘The Dreaming’? Nope. The entirety of side two is given over to a song suite about having a bad dream, ‘Cloudbusting’ is probably still the weirdest song ever to reach the top of the charts, ‘Running Up That Hill’ deftly delivers a feminist message years ahead of time, and the title track compares the pursuit of love to a fox hunt.

In fact, I’d argue that ‘Hounds of Love’ is more odd and uncompromising than ‘The Dreaming’. If in doubt, make it weirder.

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