There are people who got into Kate Bush because of Stranger Things, and there are people who got into Stranger Things because of Kate Bush. The latter will be me…probably. Still have to actually get to it, but from what I’ve heard, it’s a show that I could enjoy.
Admittedly, although I’ve known of Kate Bush for a while, I didn’t become a fan until half a year ago, when somebody shared a music video of “Wuthering Heights” with me. That floored me. It led me on a wonderful journey, and I ended up making quite a prophetic tweet (who knew):
I came up with this post idea largely because I just wanted an excuse to share Kate Bush songs, but the more I thought about my choices, the more they seemed to work. To be clear, I think very few, if any, anime could pull off a Kate Bush insert song. But in terms of mood and spirit, I think I’m pretty on point.
The Promised Neverland: “Mother Stands for Comfort”
“Mother stands for comfort
Mother will hide the murderer
Mother hides the madman
Mother will stay mum”
This song is about a mother who protects her son despite knowing that he’s a murderer. Quite far from the plot of The Promised Neverland, but the lyrics are vague enough that it kind of works. After all, the Mama in the series does indeed “hide the murderer[s]” and “stand for comfort” while being a seemingly all-knowing figure. The song also muses about the mother and son’s roles in a cycle of entrapment and predation, which does remind one of certain farm.
Land of the Lustrous: “Them Heavy People”
“They open doorways that I thought were shut for good
They read me Gurdjieff and Jesu
They build up my body, break me emotionally
It’s nearly killing me, but what a lovely feeling”
This song is a playful but open-minded response to religious teachings, which reminds me of Phos in Land of the Lustrous. Phos is the odd one out in some Buddhist-led boarding school for gems due to their ditziness and seeming lack of progress, and on a very literal level, Phos is brittle. “Them heavy people hit me in a soft spot” is about Kongo and Phos:
Fate/Stay Night: Heaven’s Feel II. lost butterfly: “The Sensual World”
“He said I was a flower of the mountain, yes
But now I’ve powers o’er a woman’s body, yes
Stepping out of the page into the sensual world
This song is about a character of a book stepping out of the book world and into the sensual world of reality. Similarly, Sakura’s awakening of powers in the movie trilogy is tied to her discovery of her own passion and desires. She breaks out of her role as a sweet little sister side character in the other Fate/Stay Night routes, in a sense transforming into a “real” person with unhinged powers fueled by repressed feelings. Like the movie’s ED, “I beg you,” sung by Aimer and composed by Yuki Kajiura, this song has also been called “exotic-sounding,” having been inspired by traditional Macedonian music.
Perfect Blue: “Wow”
“We’re all alone on the stage tonight
We’ve been told we’re not afraid of you”
This song captures the overwhelming demands on and insecurities of performers/artists in the entertainment industry. While ironic in part, the chorus also carries a sense of pure wonder. I can’t help but associate it with fresh-faced Mima at the start of her transition from a successful idol career to an actress with small, often-sexualized roles. The series of “wows” also evokes the cries of diehard fans…
Attack on Titan: “Breathing”
“Outside gets inside
Ooh-ooh, through her skin
I’ve been out before
But this time it’s much safer in”
This song is sung from the perspective of a sentient fetus considering the impact of a nuclear bomb “outside,” as in outside the mother’s body. There are many anime about the impact of WWII on Japan, several of which explicitly refer to the nuclear bomb, but this song made me think of Attack on Titan, particularly its Final Season. The song captures a struggle to live in a futile world, addressing how there’s an “outside” and an “inside,” but that nowhere is ultimately safe for an unborn life. Mild spoiler: emphasis on “unborn.”
And that’s it for now! I hope you enjoyed this list and maybe checked out a few of the songs. Would love to hear any first reactions, or alternative interpretations, given the abstract nature of many of these lyrics.
I did say that I didn’t see a Kate Bush song working as an insert in any of these anime without being jarring. I do wonder if there’s any anime out there that could pull it off? Older experimental film, maybe? Let me know if anyone has thoughts on this very niche topic.