Meaning of “Swallowed” by Bush

Written By Michael Miller

Michael is a music teacher and professional cellist. He loves uncovering the deeper meaning of popular songs.

“Swallowed” by Bush is a reflection of the inner turmoil of the singer, focusing on themes of isolation, longing for change, and the struggles of self-identity. The recurring chorus emphasizes feeling in sync with everyone, yet feeling utterly alone at the same time. There’s a palpable tension between wanting connection and battling with self-worth. The songwriter likely wrote this during a time of introspection and possibly personal struggles, trying to find his place in the world.

Eager for a deeper look? Keep reading.

“Swallowed” Lyrics Meaning

The song starts with “Warm sun feed me up,” suggesting a need for nourishment and comfort, yet immediately follows with “I’m leery loaded up,” a contrast that indicates wariness and burden. The line “Loathing for a change” speaks to a deep dissatisfaction and desire for transformation.

The repetitive chant of “Swallowed, followed” seems to point to a feeling of being consumed by emotions, thoughts, or situations, and perhaps feeling watched or judged by others. The lines “Heavy about everything but my love” and “Sharp about everyone but yourself” indicate a disconnect between the singer’s emotional weight and his love or personal understanding.

“I’m with everyone and yet not” is a powerful refrain that underscores the main theme: the feeling of being surrounded by people but still feeling isolated. It’s a raw confession of internal conflict and loneliness.

The verses, “Hey you said you would love to try some, Hey you said you would love to die some,” reveal a deeper layer of vulnerability. The singer recalls promises or words said by someone, possibly indicating a fractured relationship or unmet expectations. The imagery of being “In the middle of a world on a fishhook” suggests vulnerability and being caught in a situation.

“Piss on self-esteem, Forward busted knee, Sick head, blackened lungs” paints a vivid picture of physical and emotional hurt. The song doesn’t shy away from addressing darker feelings, perhaps as a cry for help or simply a way to vent.

As the song closes with the desperate lines, “Got to get away from here” and “Miss the one that I love a lot,” the desire for escape and the ache of missing someone adds layers of complexity to an already deeply emotional song.

Why Was “Swallowed” Written?

It’s plausible that “Swallowed” was written during a period of self-reflection and emotional upheaval for the songwriter. The intense feelings of loneliness, even when surrounded by others, and the conflicting emotions of love and self-worth give a glimpse into a turbulent state of mind. The raw vulnerability expressed through the lyrics indicates a deep introspection and perhaps personal struggles the songwriter was going through. The song serves as a canvas for expressing these intense emotions, creating a connection with listeners who may have felt the same way.