21 Best Kate Bush Songs

Best Kate Bush Songs

British singer-songwriter Kate Bush has seen a resurgence lately as her song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” was featured in the hit Netflix series “Stranger Things.”

However, this art pop singer is no stranger to hit songs, with an overwhelming amount of her songs ending up on the record charts over the years. We’ve picked out the best Kate Bush songs in the list below.

1. “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

It’s probably not a surprise that the song that introduced Gen Z to Kate Bush is at the top of our list. This song shot up the charts after its use in season 4 of the science-fiction Netflix series “Stranger Things.” The song quickly went viral, with clips and excerpts used on Instagram and TikTok.

The song is incredibly catchy and features lyrics that reveal the wish to make “A Deal with God.” Bush has explained that the meaning behind the lyrics is two people (a man and a woman) wishing they could make a “deal with God” to switch places so they could understand each other.

This deal is also an interesting twist on the classic saying “to make a deal with the devil.”

2. “Babooshka” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1980

The song “Babooshka” was featured on Kate Bush’s 1980 album, “Never for Ever.” Notably, this was Bush’s third album and the first of hers to ever reach the number one spot on the UK’s Albums Chart.

“Babooshka” was released before the album’s release and became very popular as the vivid storytelling within the song is quite compelling. The song tells the story of a wife who attempts to entrap her husband by pretending to be a younger woman and trying to attract his attention.

The music evokes an old-timey sense of mystery, a 1980s retelling of a 1940s mystery novel. The catchy chorus helped the song go viral at the time of release as well as in the 2020s as the song went viral.

3. “Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1978

The original Kate Bush hit song, “Wuthering Heights,” was the artist’s first ever released single. With this song, Kate Bush became the first British female artist to have a self-written song reach number one on the charts.

The song follows the story of Emily Brontë’s 1847 book of the same name from the perspective of the character Catherine Earnshaw. In the song, Catherine goes to the window of her love interest Heathcliff and begs to be let in. Unbeknownst to Catherine, Heathcliff cannot hear her because she is a ghost.

The concept of Catherine as a ghost specifically references the novel, and many people be unaware of this twist in the song unless they have read the novel.

4. “Cloudbusting” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

Along with “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God),” the song “Cloudbusting” was the second single released from Bush’s 1985 album “Hounds of Love.” The song’s lyrics follow the story of father Wilhelm Reich and son Peter, told from the perspective of Peter as a grown man.

In the song, Peter looks back on the days growing up with his father when they used Reich’s magnificent machine to do some “cloudbusting.” The machine was called a cloudbuster and could supposedly make rain.

When Peter was young, his father was arrested and taken from him. As he reflects, Peter returns to the cloudbuster machine and successfully makes it rain. Though Peter doesn’t know, his father sees the rain and knows it is because of his son.

5. “This Woman’s Work (2018 Remaster)” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1989

The song “This Woman’s Work” was popularized for many by the 1988 film “She’s Having A Baby.” Bush wrote the song for the film, and so the lyrics perfectly match the movie’s plot. In both the song and the movie, a woman and her husband learn that her life and the life of her unborn baby are both in danger.

The song covers the emotions of guilt and renewal as the husband Jake begins to look at his life from a new perspective as he worries for the life of his wife in labor.

6. “Hounds of Love” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1989

The song “Hounds of Love” comes from the 1985 album of the same name. The song focuses on the terror someone feels as they realize they might fall in love. Bush personifies the feeling by speaking of the “hounds of love,” a literal pack of hounds that symbolize the feeling of falling in love.

The end of the song shows acceptance as Bush takes in the hounds of love and allows herself to fall. Early in the song, Bush describes the scared feeling as cowardice, as she acknowledges that the unwillingness to indulge in love is ultimately unwise.

7. “The Big Sky” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1986

“The Big Sky” was the last single to be released off of the album “Hounds of Love,” following the previous three hit singles. The poppy track features a rolling drum beat and dreamy background vocals.

The song focuses on the simple things everyone enjoyed as children that, as adults, we never find time for. The song features the sound effect of a plane rushing by, an example of something children would stop and watch for though adults might not take notice.

8. “Don’t Give Up (ft. Kate Bush)” by Peter Gabriel

Song Year: 1986

The song “Don’t Give Up” comes from English progressive rock musician Peter Gabriel’s album “So,” released in 1986. The song is a duet between Gabriel and Bush, with Bush’s dreamy voice meshing well with Gabriel’s classic, gravelly voice.

The song’s title is quite literal, as Gabriel was inspired by the iconic photographs taken by Dorothea Lange during the Great Depression. Gabriel’s anguished lyrics were written in part because of the economic hardships seen during Margaret Thatcher’s leadership.

While Gabriel’s lyrics describe hardship, Bush takes on the role of encouragement, attempting to inspire the downtrodden.

9. “And Dream of Sheep” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

From the album “Hounds of Love,” the song “And Dream of Sleep” stands in contrast to the more rhythmic and poppy tracks like “Hounds of Love” and “Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God.” Instead, the song is a sleepy, mellow track that contains lyrics, appropriately, about falling asleep.

The song specifically speaks about the wish to fall asleep in a body of water but the fear that comes from potentially drowning. Though the meaning is literal, it also symbolizes the feeling of wanting something but knowing it might be dangerous or unwise for you.

10. “Mother Stands for Comfort” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

“Mother Stands for Comfort” is one of those songs that perfectly capture some of the interesting and sometimes bizarre musical concepts of the 1980s. The song begins and is intermittently interrupted with the sound effect of glass breaking and being swept up with a broom.

By bizarre here, we mean it is honestly fantastic. The song is peppered with operatic vocals, trailing guitar rhythms, and an amazing synth overlay. The lyrics focus on the idea of a “mama bear,” meaning the instinct of a mother to do anything for her child.

11. “Waking the Witch” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

When first listening to “Waking the Witch,” you might think you’ve stepped right into a confusing dream. You’re quickly met with the sounds of many people urging you to wake up, which lasts for about a minute and a half as the background noises begin to warp through your ears.

Once you’ve been urgently woken, the haunting and snappy chorus begins. Bush’s sweet voice is matched with a devilish, deep voice that seems to be hunting witches.

The end of the song features the sound of a helicopter as a voice pleads, “Get out of the waves,” which refers to the witch trials in which persecuted women were pushed into water to see whether they would sink or float.

12. “Under Ice” by Kate Bush

“Under Ice” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

The song “Under Ice” features a synthetic cello sound, which perfectly matches the haunting overlay of Bush’s voice here. The song is short, but it manages to paint a compelling picture throughout its duration.

Like many of Bush’s songs, the title is literal, as the imagined scene here is of a frozen lake. At first, the song’s perspective comes from someone on the frozen lake alone. Suddenly, the person realizes there is someone under the ice. In a quick turn, the person realized that it was themselves under the ice, a nightmare that Bush contrived.

13. “Watching You Without Me” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

From the album “Hounds of Love,” the song “Watching You Without Me” continues the storyline set up in the previous song, “Waking the Witch.” In Waking the Witch, a person was hunted down and persecuted as a witch. The story ends with the person in the water as the witch-hunters wait to see whether they sink or float.

The song merges the perspectives of the person in the water and their loved one, who is waiting at home. The person in the water appears in their home, but they are a ghost, and their loved ones can’t see them.

14. “Jig of Life” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

The song “Jig of Life” features a background song similar to an Irish jig, though twisted to match Bush’s 1980s art rock style. Bush created the track during a stay in Ireland and brought Irish musicians on the track with her.

The song’s lyrics continue the story of the person who has been witch-hunted featured in the songs “Waking the Witch” and “Watching You Without Me.” The lyrics feature the dying person’s future self coming to them and showing them that they must live so they can have the beautiful life they’ve led.

The song serves as encouragement by showing the person what they can have if only they push through.

15. “The Man With the Child in His Eyes” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1978

The song “The Man with the Child In His Eyes” comes from Kate Bush’s debut album, “The Kick Inside.” The music features an orchestra, which Bush recorded the song with at the age of 16. The song’s lyrics were written when the artist was even younger, at just 13 years old.

The lyrics describe how the grown men around Bush often seem to hold their inner child just behind their eyes. Although they would appear as grown men to anyone else, Bush can see the childlike way the man referenced acts. Though Bush has never named anyone, many people have speculated the subject of the song is David Gilmour, Bush’s mentor.

16. “Hello Earth” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

The song “Hello Earth” is intriguing, as it combines an infectious synth beat with an operatic, slow, and haunting chorus. The chorus comes from the 1979 horror film “Nosferatu,” and Bush initially imagined the song featuring this chorus. The singer was delighted to find out she would be able to sample this chorus and complete the track.

Bush has described the song as a “lullaby for the Earth.” The song references the feeling of being able to look up at the Earth’s sky and imagine the sheer magnitude of the planet. The song references an earlier song from the album “Waking the Witch.” That song ended with the lyrics “Get out of the waves,” which appear in “Hello Earth” as background vocals.

17. “The Morning Fog” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1985

“The Morning Fog” is the final song on Kate Bush’s hit 1985 album, “Hounds of Love.” The album explores dark feelings, including several nightmarish situations Bush imagined, such as being witch-hunted or trapped under a frozen lake. “The Morning Fog” is meant to be the relief at the end of the nightmare, where the sun begins to rise, and everything becomes lighter and brighter.

Bush has likened this final song to the final bow actors do at the end of a play. The play may have ended in tragedy or turmoil, but the actors come out and do a joyous bow to raucous applause.

18. “Army Dreamers” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1980

The song “Army Dreamers” comes from Kate Bush’s 1980 album, “Never for Ever.” The track is unique for Bush, as it stands in a waltz time signature and mimics the traditional tune of a waltz. The song features a lilting guitar that matches Bush’s high-pitched, tweeting voice.

The song’s lyrics come from the perspective of a grieving mother whose son has passed away in the army. The mother feels guilt as she wonders what she could have done to prevent it. The song features a male chorus piping up with suggestions over how the mother could have prevented this, though the mother ultimately acknowledges the options were not hers.

19. “The Sensual World (2018 Remaster)” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1989

Kate Bush’s song “The Sensual World” comes from the 1989 album of the same name. The song was inspired by Bush’s love for the 1922 novel “Ulysses” by James Joyce. The book is considered a modern (at the time) retelling of the famed epic poem “The Odyssey.”

Bush’s song focuses on the character of Molly Bloom, the wife of “Ulysses,” the main character Leopold Bloom. The song imagines Molly stepping from the pages of “Ulysses” into the real world and noticing how “sensual” the world is. The lyrics are from Molly’s perspective as she discovers this new, three-dimensional world she has never known.

20. “Love and Anger (2018 Remaster)” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1990

The song “Love and Anger” was the third single Kate Bush released from her 1989 album “The Sensual World.” The song features a collaboration with David Gilmour, the guitarist and vocalist for “Pink Floyd” and a frequent collaborator of Bush. Notably, this song was one of the few to become as popular in the United States as in the United Kingdom at the time of release.

The track’s lyrics focus on how it can be challenging to find someone to confide in and to tell true feelings to. The song features rhythmic chanting, expressing the need to find someone you can trust.

21. “Breathing” by Kate Bush

Song Year: 1980

“Breathing” was released in 1980 as the lead single for Kate Bush’s album “Never for Ever.” As a master of storytelling, Bush develops a full fantasy within the song. The song’s story comes from the perspective of a fetus still within its mother’s womb.

The lyrics show the fetus is aware of what is going on and they are fearful of the environment, as it appears there is a nuclear threat either ongoing or on the way in the outside world. The tone of the song was inspired by Pink Floyd, and it serves as Bush’s fantastic take on progressive rock.

Top Kate Bush Songs, Final Thoughts

Kate Bush is one of the great art-rock legends, fusing modern rock elements with an avant-garde, otherworldly sense of story. The singer’s dreamy vocals lend themselves well to the heavy synth beats that rock the 1980s.

As Kate Bush has accidentally made her way into the viral music world thanks to “Stranger Things,” we hope this artist’s music continues to surge. Want to explore more 1980s music? Check out these rock bands of the 80s.

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