Album: Kate Bush – “Never for ever” (1980)

Hi everyone, time for a third helping of Kate. After a sluggish start to this voyage, Lionheart really energised me and no sooner had I written up its review, I was straight into Never For Ever. A much more immediate hit with me, definitely.

I won’t say it’s perfect by any means, sometimes rather bogged down in overindulgent moments but on the whole it was a joy to listen to. This was most certainly aided by its svelte 37 minute runtime, even the duff parts are mercifully short.

(originally posted March 2010)

10 Babooshka – What can I say? Firstly it’s the next of the few songs I was familiar with before this escapade, and who honestly could have forgotten it? A totally charming story about a paranoid wife freaking out and pretending to be some slut to entrap her husband. It’s like an internet romance, so ahead of its time. I don’t think there is anything I don’t love about this song.

06 Delius (song of summer) – Oh, a bit of a sag already. I don’t really like this, just filler with some cruddy keyboard look and tacky sitars. I presume Delius is someone I’m supposed to feel uncultured for not knowing but if it’s anything to do with that annoying TARRR-TA-TARRRR then I’m happy living in ignorance.

07 Blow away (for Bill) – A bit tame but it does make a world of difference to be able to understand the words she’s singing. This sort of ticks along, I like the melody and harmonies in it but it’s not so exciting.

07 All we ever look for – Not too hot on this Rugrats-style intro, makes it feel very dated, I can imagine it having a video with lots of early 90s stop-motion animation. I suppose that’s something since this was out in 1980 though. There’s something about it though, I do like her voice again but the song isn’t quite hitting it for me. Even SHE appears to get bored halfway through and has a walk looking for something more interesting-sounding.

09 Egypt – NOW we are talking. Unique-sounding but not in a cringey way like the previous track. I love the 80s drama of the (just-about) chorus. The building choirs fit perfectly, did she just say Pussy Queen?! Sounds like Kate’s experience didn’t work out so well, with a scream presumably prompted by the chilling zombie choir of lost souls at the song’s climax. That still gives me the WILLIES, but an ace buildup.

08 The Wedding List – A bit more familiar now, a nice bouncy song about a murderous bride. A rather strange deep-voiced chorus too. I feel rather sympathetic and drawn into the story at the start until it become apparently what happens. I mean seriously how many other female singer-songwriters sing about filling her husband’s killer’s head with lead? BootyyyyAH! Love the rather unhinged scream that closes the track abruptly.

08 Violin
– Now there is something a bit rubbish and punky about this song, but it’s all about the screechy chorus. The intro is a bit iffy, reminds me of a boss battle on a Megadrive game or something (don’t ask). I probably wouldn’t rate this as high but that absolutely insane guttural SCREECH at the 2:30 mark never fails to astonish and amuse me. Amazing.

08 The infant kiss – Another regression to earlier material but that’s a compliment here. I’m a little concerned how young this boy is that Kate is being seduced by, I’m hoping I’m not meant to take the “infant” in the title too literally. The song is nice enough, again her voice saves it, this time in swoonsome Georgian governess mode. I can completely visualise it all.

07 Night scented stock – Just an interlude really, not really sure of its purpose as it doesn’t seem to stitch together the album to the more last two tracks. Still, nice enough.

09 Army Dreamers – Another interesting one, what is she doing, putting on an Irish accent? Poignant without being dirgy, quite pretty little waltz all in all, I like the use of military sound effects in there too.

10 Breathing
– OMG. I’m terrified of nuclear holocausts as a rule, and there was no mistake what this was about. Really powerfully done, I love the emphasis she puts on parts of the lyrics, especially the bridges. I can’t really summarise this easily, she throws everything at it, sometimes going a bit melodramatic on the spooky (“Last niiiighhtt”) but more often than not giving me serious goosebumps. Bleak, emotive, desolate, terrifying. The instructional clip at the end still freaks me out, without even seeing the footage. The male chorus outro really is just a perfect end, great use of instruments to presumably denote a bomb going off at the end.

Well, I admit I don’t love every track but the tracks are good enough and short enough to patch the holes nicely. Book-ended by what I’m sure will be up there with my favourite Kate songs too, an interesting album to say the least.

Keepers for the iPod: Babooshka, Egypt, Violin, Army Dreamers, Breathing.

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