38. Kate Bush – ‘Sat In Your Lap’ (1981)

“I hold a cup of wisdom
But there is nothing within”

Written by Kate Bush

Produced by Kate Bush

Taken from the album The Dreaming

Also released on The Whole Story and This Woman’s Work

UK #11, AUS #93

I feel like I should just do a bullet-point list of reasons why ‘Sat In Your Lap’ is amazing, including “drums” and “rollerskating”, because it sort of baffles me that such a song exists, and it’s difficult to put that bafflement (?!) into sentences. A song about self-confidence and doubt and wanting something really bad but not really wanting to work for it, ‘Sat In Your Lap’ is confusing, mental, scattered. One thing I know for sure: you can’t hear the opening without doing the “Kate Bush arms” from the start of the video.

I have no idea how this managed to get anywhere near the UK top ten. The chorus sounds something like this: “some say that NOLEJAZZSOMETHING SAT-a in your lap”. It’s not radio friendly but of course that doesn’t make it bad – ‘Sat In Your Lap’ goes full circle from unlistenable to frightening to fascinating and back to brilliant. The huge rolling drums that soundtrack the song are infectious and Kate’s voice sounds more desperate, more raw and dramatic than ever before, and that includes ‘Wuthering Heights’.

And what about that music video? Who the hell needs drugs when we have ‘Sat In Your Lap’? It includes rollerskating, Kate’s gigantic eyes staring at us, jesters, dunce caps, and of course lots of odd dancing. Through all this m-m-m-madness, Kate’s writing still manages to shine through as the most important factor. I can’t stress enough how amazing the lyrics are, and being mixed with such amazing instrumental work and such great production, how could this not be one of the best songs ever?

Music video:

2 Responses to “38. Kate Bush – ‘Sat In Your Lap’ (1981)”

  1. F. Elcher Says:

    I was 10 when this came out and it scared the hell out of me….. Yet I was strangely allured by the woman in the hat, and have been (like so many others) ever since ! Superb #38

  2. QThomasBower Says:

    This song was written, if I remember correctly, well before the others on The Dreaming. She was still coming off her first experiments with creative control as an adult (Never for Ever) and this was the transition song before she grabbed every bit of control she could get and went after her goal: to make an album better than “The Wall.”

    She still has doubts later on the album (“we’re only bluffing we’re not ones for busting through Walls”) but as I know you know, the rest of that album is unparalleled genius!

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