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"Wuthering Heights" (new vocal)

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Date: Fri, 21 Nov 86 15:58:04 EST
From: Ed Simpson <dukecdu!evs%duke.csnet@RELAY.CS.NET>
Subject: Wuthering Heights

So no one seems to be excited about the new version of Wuthering Heights. I'll admit it, I listen to The Kick Inside as much as I listen to the sacred Dreaming and the blessed Hounds of Love. Since Kate's voice has deepened and matured I have been wondering if this was a shift down in her vocal range or if she could still hit those high "Heathcliff"'s with ease. I was glad (and amazed) to see (hear) that she can still do it with ease (except one "Heathcliff" seems a bit strained). But now she can sing those low "wuthering"'s with ease, too. I think this latest version is far superior vocally to the TKI version and shows just how amazing and unique Kate is in the pop (gasp!) music world. She also showed her satisfaction with her interpretation of the original version by not changing the phrasing and inflection.


Date: Sat, 22 Nov 86 22:01:19 EST
From: drukman%UMass.BITNET@WISCVM.WISC.EDU (Jonathan S. Drukman)
Subject: Wuthering Heights

Ed Simpson writes "no one seems excited about the new Wuthering Heights" (or something similar, unfortunately this rotting computer is completely incapable of pasting other people's mail into your own)

Anyway, I think it's fantastic. What a range! When I bought my X4 single, I played side one and said "neat." then played side two and totally flipped out. Definitely a step in the right direction, even if it is a fairly mild pop song. But boy can she hit those highs!

Oh, and I seem to recall seeing a few other letters in the past saying how wonderful the new mix is. Can't paste 'em in, unfortunately.

--jon drukman


Date: Mon, 24 Nov 86 15:10 PST
Subject: re No talk about the new WH version

Checking through his L-H files IED was surprised to discover that Ed is right -- scarcely a word has been contributed to the Digest in reference to the new "Wuthering Heights". This, however, does not, let Ed be assured, indicate that little is thought of it. In fact, IED agrees that the new version is extremely fine and, although perhaps less poignantly wistful in tone (the original was a remarkably effective match of a tragic adolescent love story with a uniquely pre-adolescent-seeming vocal style), it shows greater vocal power and more assured performance style. And Ed is absolutely correct that it "shows just how amazing and unique Kate is". Bravo, Ed!

> She also showed her satisfaction with her interpretation of the original version by not changing the phrasing and inflection.

Although the basic sound is similar, there are, at the very least, three significant changes in phrasing. As for changes in inflection, virtually every word has been altered in some degree from its parallel in the original version. Incorporated are several new decorative turns in Kate's latest interpretation that reflect her recent resurgence of interest in Celtic musical styles. The best sign that Kate still approves of the earlier version (in a general sense) is that she has retained the same instrumental recording, merely allowing a more epic sound-area to be introduced in the re-mixing stage. Ian Bairnson's beautiful guitar solo is still highlighted and left essentially intact.

Incidentally, those to whom the song's rhythmic intricacies have always been dear are urged to listen carefully to the remixed drum track in the last minute of the new version. Not only has the coda/fade-out been extended by a full thirty seconds (presumably to allow for Kate's new ad lib vocals), but a three-measure passage from the original coda, wherein the drummer loses his count and misses his snare upbeat, has been corrected through splicing. Seeing as how virtually no-one has ever noticed the original mistake, this careful correction stands as still further proof of the unparalleled level of Kate's perfectionism.

> I was glad (and amazed) to see (hear) that she can still do it {sing the high notes} with ease (except one "Heathcliff" seems a bit strained).

The strained "Heathcliff" is an interpretive touch, and not in any way indicative of a decline in vocal range. Kate has many times said that during the period 1977/1979 she had a "whim" to use her "falsetto", or to sing in her "highest range". The strain you hear is a result of her wish to communicate stronger drama to the music. Prior to the recording of The Kick Inside Kate sang in her natural, more or less mezzo-soprano register. "Maybe" and "Passing Through Air" demonstrate well that her original vocal range was quite the same as the range she uses in, for example, "Experiment IV". There is no indication that her physical vocal make-up has narrowed in any way, only that her taste has changed.

Conversely, there are many places in Hounds of Love where she sings notes as high as any in The Kick Inside.

> But now she can sing those low "wuthering"'s with ease, too.

Unfortunately this observation implies another slight misconception. Of course Ed is right to say that Kate could sing as low as she did in the original version. In point of fact, however, in the new version she doesn't . If you compare the two again, you'll notice that in the original version the two syllables 'wu-' and '-ther-' are sung as a rising fifth, whereas in the new version both notes are the same -- higher in pitch than the 'wu-' syllable in the original. The impression produced by the new vocal is, however, certainly that of a deeper vocal range. This is, again, the result of Kate's interpretive decisions, but not of lower notes.


Date: Tue, 25 Nov 86 16:08:20 EST
From: drukman%UMass.BITNET@WISCVM.WISC.EDU (Jonathan S. Drukman)
Subject: wuthering heights, again.

Well a big *bleah* to those who think that the new Wuthering Heights dies in comparison with the original. I *have* heard the original, albeit not as much and not as recently as I have heard the new mix, but I still like the new one better. The vocal tone seems purer and *I* happen to like the guitar at the end. I could pull an IED and say that they are two separate entities ("apples and oranges") and therefore not comparable, but I don't believe that. And (just to stir up controversy) it WASTES Experiment IV, which is not, contrary to popular belief, the universe, but merely a small section of Hoboken, NJ. There are several songs on "The Dreaming" which blow Experiment IV into microdust (although the lyrics ARE nice)... And whaKT's wiKTh all KThis KT sKTuff anyway??

-jon drukman

On to Much Music

written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Wieland Willker
Sept 1995 June 1996