Under Ice – The Chilling Depths of Self-Discovery

Article Contents:
  1. Music Video
  2. Lyrics
  3. Song Meaning
  4. The Frozen Surface: A Mirror of the Soul
  5. A Schism Beneath the Surface: The Hidden Meaning
  6. Cleaving the Chilled Lines: The Art of Vulnerability
  7. Echoes and Allegories: Bush’s Craft of Storytelling
  8. The Piercing Cry for Companionship: Memorable Lines Unraveled


It’s wonderful
Everywhere, so white
The river has frozen over
Not a soul on the ice
Only me, skating fast
I’m speeding past trees
Leaving little lines in the ice
Cutting out little lines in the ice
Splitting, splitting sound
Silver heels spitting, spitting snow

There’s something moving under
Under the ice moving
Under ice through water
Trying to
It’s me
Get out of the cold water
It’s me
It’s me
Someone, help them

Full Lyrics

In the pantheon of Kate Bush’s enigmatic and otherworldly discography, ‘Under Ice’ occupies a unique space, chilling in both its literal and metaphorical frost. Comprising just a scant portion of her 1985 opus, ‘Hounds of Love’, the song is a masterclass in the economy of storytelling, painting a vivid narrative with scarce words amid a sparse, haunting instrumental backdrop.

Yet, as with any Bush composition, the layers run deep, the ice is thick, and beneath the surface lies a reservoir of emotion and symbolism. In ‘Under Ice’, Bush invites us on a sub-zero journey, not just across a frozen river, but into the subconscious realm, where personal revelation awaits those brave enough to confront their own reflections in the ice.

The Frozen Surface: A Mirror of the Soul

‘It’s wonderful, everywhere, so white,’ Bush begins, setting the scene of a pastoral winter bliss that soon gives way to a colder, more introspective landscape. The ‘frozen over’ river serves as the glass of a looking glass, beneath which the singer skates – alone, in fast motion, a solitary figure etching her mark on the ice. This song, while brief, is dense with imagery that could symbolize the isolation and self-containment we often experience during internal struggles.

‘Only me, skating fast’ can be seen as a metaphor for the human condition, the individual’s journey through life, carving a path that is theirs alone. The stark absence of other souls on the ice hints at the solitude of self-discovery while emphasizing the uniqueness of personal experience – no two paths on the ice are the same.

A Schism Beneath the Surface: The Hidden Meaning

The serenity of the surface is shattered with ‘Splitting, splitting sound.’ The tranquility is a facade, and what lurks beneath is a duality, a struggle, ‘something moving under.’ This beneath could be the subconscious mind, where suppressed thoughts and feelings dwell, or a metaphorical representation of one’s fears and insecurities—creatures of the deep that we carry within us.

In a twist, the ‘under ice’ is revealed to be Bush herself, as she sings, ‘It’s me.’ This declaration jolts the listener, much like the cracking of ice underfoot. It’s a powerful realization: the song is not just about exploring the depths—’trying to get out of the cold water’—but also about the recognition of oneself as part of those hidden depths. It’s as much an exploration of identity as it is a plea for help or comprehension.

Cleaving the Chilled Lines: The Art of Vulnerability

In ‘leaving little lines in the ice,’ there’s a delicate violence, a disruption of the pristine surface. Bush’s words here serve to highlight the act of breaking barriers—whether those are societal expectations or personal inhibitions. The act of ‘cutting out little lines’ can be interpreted as an artist’s or any person’s intimate process of carving out their true self from an unmarked block of potential.

The ‘splitting sound’ is the audible manifestation of vulnerability, a sound perhaps frightening in its finality, yet necessary for growth. It is here that Bush masterfully marries the physical act of skating with the emotional act of self-revelation.

Echoes and Allegories: Bush’s Craft of Storytelling

‘Silver heels spitting, spitting snow’—in these evocative lines, we find a culmination of Bush’s storytelling prowess. The narrative is at once fanciful and filled with dread, as the very skates that allow for liberation also become an avatar for the chipping away at something ominous beneath the surface.

The imagery Bush constructs throughout the song emerges like delicate brushstrokes on an impressionist painting. With each listen, the lines blur, and new meanings take shape. Her unique ability to capture wide-spanning concepts in just a few lines is nothing short of literary, her lyrics painting stories that resonate on an almost primordial level.

The Piercing Cry for Companionship: Memorable Lines Unraveled

Finally, the haunting repetition of ‘It’s me’ builds to the song’s climax—a cry for recognition or assistance. The acknowledgment ‘someone, help them’ is ambiguous; is the plea for the self, struggling beneath the ice, or for another, perhaps the listener, to acknowledge their own submerged battles?

As Bush’s voice intertwines with the chilling soundscape, the song leaves listeners pondering their own inner turmoil and silent struggles. Many works invoke the image of a cry for help, but few do it as subtly and compellingly as ‘Under Ice’, a whole narrative distilled to a single, chilling plea.

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