A while ago, feels like a lifetime ago, I went through Kate Bush’s back catalogue to try and get more familiar with her as an artist. I say MORE familiar, I had no idea about her before other than Wuthering Heights and… well that’s most of it really. Fortunately it turned out to be a very rewarding experience for the most part, and I’d like to preserve that experience for posterity by blogging it. Hope you like it…
(Originally posted February 2010)
07 Moving – Chilling fox-hunting noise to start with, always creeps me out a bit. Straight into squeaky arm-waving vocals. I like the melody though, the ups and downs are striking and reminiscent of what I know of Wuthering Heights. I do quite like it but it’s difficult to work out what in particular I like, but a decent opener.
09 Saxophone song – Whalesong now, I love that for some reason. This almost feels like a second half to Moving, though happily an improvement. I suspect that was intentional, thanks to the seamless seque between the two. Not a sax fan generally but I think it’s a good feature here (what else would you have in the Saxophone song?). Her voice is more palatable and understandable in this, always a good thing. Yabba dabba doo-hooooo! I adore the spazzy electronic effect near the end. Feels rather incongruent with the late 70s release date, so in my mind it seems ahead of its time.
07 Strange Phenomena – Unhinged piano to start, I’m not really sure what’s going on here, she seems to be going on about coincidences, at least in the rather creepy piano interludes. What is she repeating, “E is the answer?”, doubtful. But WHAT? I don’t have any strong feelings about this but it does stick in my head and I don’t resent it, so that’s something, right?
08 Kite – OK now we definitely feel like we are in the 70s. I know Tori came over a decade later but it’s very easy to spot similarities now. A bit meandering, seems to be singing nonsense a lot of the time but it’s not BAD. Dia-ah-haai-ah-iamond kite! Speaking of kites, that is fucking fantastic album artwork, especially for a debut!
08 The man with the child in his eyes – I must admit I don’t really see this as a viable single, but it certainly is the easiest listen so far. More traditional than some of the odder tracks on the album so I shouldn’t be complaining too much, but there’s not much to it apart from a lovely orchestra. Maybe I DO like mental Bush instead…
09 Wuthering Heights – Oh well familiar ground now, that tinkly piano intro like I’ve heard it a thousand times. At least I know what this is ABOUT (ish). In essence it’s only its towering fame as a KB single that makes it a standout, it’s not much of a variation in tone from the rest so far but maybe it does have that extra bit of magic. There are so many hooks in this, it’s not surprising it’s endured as one of her signature pieces for so long.
07 James and the gold gun – Hmm bit of a comedown now, rather dated rocky track. I mean this album is 32 years old so I’m not holding that against it, but it’s not my cup of tea really. The oooh-wahooo bit is quite catchy though, and the outro is pretty alright, not a total disaster.
06 Feel it – Sadly not as good as the Tamperer ft Maya song. A rather dreary piano-led wail, again I only pick up random phrases but never enough to get the whole story. These tracks are mercifully short at least, the upside of 45 minute LPs!
07 Oh to be in love – She has such a strange tone of voice, somehow manages to sound odd whether she’s singing high or low notes. This is also memorable but feels a little lacking in substance, and a little like a re-tread of earlier songs. That’s probably down to my lack of understanding of the songs, if I’m just going by the tunes then this sort of thing is bound to happen.
07 L’amour looks something like you – Again feels like a repeat of previous tracks, though I did pick up on the phrase about “the feeling of sticky love inside”. FILTH. She’s probably been going on about shagging and periods the whole time, no wonder Tori turned out how she did. Kate can’t even say her own name without talking about pubes.
06 Them heavy people – GOD this rolling the ball motif is fucking annoying. This has been bugging me, did Harry Hill used to use that in his standup routine? Fine, it’s catchy but in this case it is NOT appreciated. Which heavy people is she talking about, or is it a metaphor for ovaries or something?
05 Room for the life – I will be honest, my attention is severely SLIPPING by this point, there’s just not enough of a hook in this album for it to really grow on me. I don’t really have much against it, but an album full of mainly 6s and 7s isn’t much fun. This track isn’t helping, BLAH
07 The kick inside – Well someone has divulged to me that this is about incest, DIRT. The fact that I know what it’s about makes me almost look forward to hearing this each time. The lyrics are a bit too flowery though and it’s quite a sweet-sounding song over all the mucky subject matter. It’s alright though, I’ve heard worse closing tracks.
Well it was a bit of a struggle if I’m honest. I didn’t dislike it, and I will concede that my musical tastes lean more towards more recent acts. In fact she is probably only one of a handful of acts from the 70s that have made it to my iPod (Abba, Carpenters and Jeff Wayne are the only ones that spring to mind). As a result I feel a bit out of my depth and don’t really connect to what feels like a bit of an aurally tame album. I know I’m probably missing a LOT with the lyrics, any tips are welcome.
Keepers for the iPod: Wuthering Heights, Saxophone song, Kite