Hounds of Love
After the artistically satisfying but commercially disappointing The Dreaming, Bush took some time out from music, then constructed a studio at her parents’ house so that she could work at her own pace. Often these tracks started as demos, with Bush layering additional instrumentation over them herself. While Hounds of Love is as wonderfully bizarre as the rest of Bush’s discography, it’s her most consistent and accessible album. Lead single ‘Running Up The Hill’ is about typically sensual and eccentric subject matter for Bush, but it’s a rhythmic monster, and her biggest chart hit of the 1980’s.
The album has two distinct sides – the first side is accessible and dance oriented, with huge sounding productions like ‘Running Up That Hill’ and ‘The Big Sky’. The first side’s highlight, though, is ‘Cloudbusting’, with its driving string riff and typically esoteric subject matter – psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich’s rain-making machine.
The second side of Hounds of Love is a mini concept album about a woman drowning, and is much more introspective. ‘Waking the Witch’ is genuinely creepy, while the climax of ‘Morning Fog’ is beautiful. ‘Hello Earth’ casts her in an afterlife where she can hold the world in the palm of her hand, while ‘Morning Fog’ is her final farewell to her family. The title ‘Morning Fog’ is derived from The Bible (James 4:14: “For your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.”).
It’s an indication how strong Hounds Of Love is that the 1998 remaster adds six very strong bonus tracks – ‘Under The Ivy’ is gorgeous, ‘Burning Bridge’ could have been a single, and there’s breathtaking a capella of the traditional ‘My Lagaan Love’.
Hounds of Love brilliantly balances Bush’s weirdness with commercial appeal, and stands as the peak of her strong discography.