Where has this been all my life?
I have never gotten around to listening to Kate Bush. I have meant to for some time but I’ve just never found the time, in part because I think I imagined that all her music would sound like her guest vocals on a Peter Gabriel song. It just wasn’t a priority.
I have the utmost respect for successful musicians (and other artists) who take drastic left turns when they are at their peak of fame. I haven’t listened to her previous records but, from all accounts, nobody was expecting this. It takes guts to potentially commit career suicide.
But if I only had respect for this left turn, I wouldn’t enjoy the album as much as I do. I can have respect for risks but not like the music, after all. But I like this a lot.
Bush accomplishes to rare feats on this record: One, she manages to use new technology in interesting ways that do not date the album, due to the sheer quirkiness of those uses. (She is not trying to pass off her 80s sampler as anything other than a sampler.) But the other thing she does is she confines her experiments to songs wherein they fit. So some songs sound drastically different than others because she commits to the song. On some albums that would be a problem but the overall aesthetic is present throughout.
And though this was clearly an album made from a rather difficult emotional place (some songs sound downright angry) there is a clear sense of fun or, if not fun, freewheeling creative expression, that is entertaining and inspiring like I never could have imagined given my impression of Bush from the teeny tiny bit I’d heard of her.
It’s really hard for me to put into words how much I like this and how much it surprised me. But any album in which a pop singer brays is worth your time.