Kate Bush

Cloudbusting

Composed by Kate Bush

Song Review by

One of Kate Bush’s best ever singles, 1985’s ”Cloudbusting”, culled from the slightly disappointing Hounds of Love set, was her retelling of Peter Reich’s classic A Book of Dreams. Very simply, it is the tale of a scientist father’s relationship with his son, imaged through the experience of cloud seeding as seen through the boy’s eyes. The song fell easily into the rich earth of imagery that Bush has tilled throughout her entire career, emerging both tender and brutal. The guilelessness of youth is tempered with the blinding realization of lost innocence as the child’s father is arrested and taken away. Safety and danger are threaded through the song, via both a thoughtful lyric and a compulsive cello-driven melody. Even more startling, but hardly surprising, is the ease with which Bush was able to capture the moment when a child first realizes that adults are fallible and the parental cocoon is tenuous at best.

”Cloudbusting’s magnificence was furthered by an outstanding 12” extended mix (like the LP, impeccably produced by Bush herself), which kept the song’s hypnotic mantric effects and then transcended them without resorting to any of the pointless rock-ish filler that more often than not plagued such releases. And, as if that wasn’t enough, the 12” mix was dignified with an absolutely breathtakingly huge video, directed by Julian Doyle, and co-starring Donald Sutherland. The visualization of Bush’s interpretation of Reich’s story, the video emerged a complete film, becoming one of the finest examples of how powerful the medium could be.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Cloudbusting 1983 EMI Music Distribution
Hounds of Love 1985 Noble & Brite 5:10
The Whole Story 1986 EMI Digital / Parlophone 5:10
No Image 1986 Pioneer
This Woman's Work, Vol. 2 1990 EMI Music Distribution
The Red Shoes, Pt. 1 [UK] 1994 EMI Music Distribution
1985: 20 Original Chart Hits 1997
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:10
Hounds of Love/Sensual World 2004 EMI Music Distribution
Rewind: The Best In Music & Video [Bonus DVD] 2004
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution 5:10
Singers and Songwriters: Lady Writers 2004
Various Artists
Time/Life Music
No Image
Various Artists
Digital 5:11
This Woman's Work, Vol. 2 [Extended Edition]
blue highlight denotes editor's pick