The Dreaming

Kate Bush

1982: EMI Manhattan CDP 7 46361 2

  1. Sat in Your Lap
  2. There Goes a Tenner
  3. Pull Out the Pin
  4. Suspended in Gaffa
  5. Leave It Open
  6. The Dreaming
  7. Night of the Swallow
  8. All the Love
  9. Houdini
  10. Get Out of My House


Or, perhaps more to the point from a listener’s perspective:

Just gimme it quick!
Gimme it

Two basic tips regarding how to best experience The Dreaming: 1. HEADPHONES, if at all possible, and 2. LOUD.

I was first properly introduced to this album (as opposed to hearing bits of it out of context) in the early 1990s—by my darling Bruce Gordon, whom I shall eternally thank for this—but I held off from documenting commentary on it on this website for 25 years because, first of all, it seemed to me that so much had already been written about it by Kate Bush fans that any further comment would be not just redundant but downright naive.

While that might still be true, what’s changed in the years since I first heard it is the public access to such commentary. And these days I’m not finding enough exploration and celebration of this album as I would expect, given what I know has been written and published online So I’ve warily decided that it’s time for me to at least weigh in with some individual enthusiasm, however unoriginal some of it may sound to hardcore Kate fans.

Probably I should tackle this assessment/celebration sequentially, and probably I’ll revise these comments later to that end, but let’s just kick off by noting that “Leave It Open” is one of my favorite “weird” Kate tracks. To me, the lyrics are in a way a professional counterpart to a process more personally described in “All the Love” and “Get Out of My House”—Kate reaching into unexplored territory that, by its being explored, alienates those who just wanted her to be a quirky chirpstress/dancer such as they saw in the “Wuthering Heights” milieu. We dive into spooky territory indeed with this track—an internal haunted house being ruthlessly but coldly reclaimed by its owner, and the end of the track seems to unfurl with the demons being both expelled and let loose to elsewhere…with the doubly or even triply menacing coda they remark over their winged shoulders “we let the weirdness in” being the calling-card of an unresolved battle that yet flips the combatants’ positions.

Anyway, that track has some damned fun lyrics and sonic effects to express all that complicated drama. I love it, love it, love it. The choruses (unconventional, to say the least) present a superb contrasting of warning and qualified reassurance: “Harm is in us!” / “Harm in us, but power to arm.”

And maybe it’s that same house that’s being exorcised in the album’s thrilling closer, “Get Out of My House.” If you read it as a psychological journey of the artist, as I do here, that adds up and makes for a delicious triangle of perspectives on her developments as seen from within: dark exploration, worry, and fiercely defiant individualism, all juxtaposed in panels and sometimes shards.

“All the Love” is a track I hesitate to say anything about, becuase it truly must be experienced on its own without introductory information…at least initially. It’s so inherently idiosyncratic as a personal observation that only Kate Bush could make, and yet it can be read more metaphorically (as deep songs should be) to yield broader and perhaps more varied reflections. Because the story of the track’s genesis has been published widely I shan’t describe it here, in case the reader is unaware of it; it illuminates but needn’t define the heard artistic mystery.