Many artists have tried to cover Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights,” but the it’s such a uniquely iconic song with an equally unique structure that attempts, while valiant, have largely failed from being too over-the-top, too ambitious, or just plain terrible.
Potentially flirting with disaster, Matthew Sweet took up that challenge and thankfully walked away with a prize. Instead of deconstructing it or turning it into a dramatic retelling, he tackled it rather faithfully, keeping the piano, bass and guitar rather note-for-note, but pushing the drums a bit farther up in the mix.
Sweet could never achieve the same heights that her preternatural vocals soared to, so he dropped it comfortably one octave lower and kept the intonations pretty much identical. His cover merges her high concept art rock with his down-to-earth aww-shucks brand of powerpop, and it works (though you should let your foot off the gas pedal a wee bit at the end there, fella).
A forgotten demo that lay dormant for who-knows-how-long, the impulse to dust off his demo of “Wuthering Heights” was most likely spurred by her most recent surge of attention. “As the latest season of Stranger Things (Netflix) came and went this year, it was hard not to notice the resurgence of Kate Bush’s song ‘Running Up That Hill‘ in this COVID recovering world of 2022,” Sweet says. “I do love that song, but this got me thinking about a piano and vocal demo I once made of ‘Wuthering Heights’… My wife recently urged me to dig up that demo of mine, and although I couldn’t find a multitrack of it, I did locate a rough of the song I had bounced down many years ago. And so it is I came to overdub some guitars and other instruments and produce this single track for release in tribute to Kate.”
Listen to Matthew Sweet’s faithful cover of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights” here!