The Times of London - "Kate
Evening Standard - "Kate's back but is she hip?"
The Observer - "Kate Bush, Aerial"
Classic Rock - "The Song Remains The Same"
The Independent - "Kate Bush: Finally, something for the grown-ups"
The Sun - "Something For The Weekend - Katest Hits"
The Times of London - "The word on the Bush telegraph"
To the Reaching Out (Reviews) Table of Contents
The Times of London
by Pete Paphides
October 14, 2005
(Three stars out of five)
In an exclusive first hearing of Aerial, Kate Bush's first album in 13 years, Pete Paphides finds highs and lows
Hit the ground running and there’s only one way you can go. Slower and slower, until eventually, you stop. In recent years, many of us wondered whether Kate Bush, now 47, had stopped. After five albums in the first seven years of her recording life, the ensuing 20 years have yielded just two. That’ll be three when Aerial appears next month, concluding a 13-year wait for new material. What could she possibly have been doing in that time? In the fiercely protected world of Kate Bush, the rumour mill yields little, but we’re told that the onset of motherhood in 1999 had its inevitable effect on the creative process. Having spent the previous two decades answering to nothing but her own artistic whims, Bush, then 41, finally succumbed to a greater imperative.
Three songs into Aerial she tells us as much. Named after her son, Bertie is
a mother’s mad love alchemised into song. “Sweet kisses/ Three wishes,” she
sings, “Lovely, love-ly Bertie.” Over and over again, repetition reduces the two
words into tongues of adoration. And what instrumentation do you choose when
trying to do justice to the greatest love of all? Why, Renaissance-era strings
Over a typically concept-heavy double album, there are few moments with the immediacy of that three-minute eulogy. Arguably, the new single King of the Mountain is one. But elsewhere, the days when Bush pulled songs fully-formed out of the ether are long gone. She may never have a thunderbolt of inspiration quite like the one that brought her Wuthering Heights in one evening. And perhaps you need to be 13 (as she was) to conjure out of thin air something as otherworldly as The Man with the Child in his Eyes. However, hard work isn’t to be underestimated. Bush’s obsessive attention to detail did, after all, give us her two most satisfying beginning-to-end listens, the ripe, autumnal poetry of The Sensual World and Hounds of Love — an album almost totally preoccupied with surrendering to love and understanding death.
She’s not one to shirk the big themes, and there’s a similar sense of trying to grasp at intangibles on Aerial. Indeed, on the first CD, A Sea of Honey, the approach yields a brace of songs that are among her best. Mrs Bartolozzi is like a postcard sent from the most delirious depths of mourning. Laundry duties give way to a walk into the waves, and with it the low wheeze of a single cello — the song’s two halves joined by Bush repeating a phrase. Not just any phrase, but the phrase “washing machine” . Twice.
The same themes of loss seem to recur on A Coral Room. Here, her woozy depiction of “the spider of time . . . climbing over the ruins” of a city comes into stark, startling focus when the singer’s dead mother is invoked through a single item, a favourite brown jug (Bush’s mother passed away in 1993). “It held her milk,” she sings, “And now it holds our memories.”
When she presents her music like this — so far beyond the perimeters of anything happening in pop today — Kate Bush seems at her most comfortable. When she doesn’t, the results are harder to love. A case in point is Pi — which takes as its subject matter a “sweet and gentle and sensitive man” in thrall to the transcendental number of the title. “Oh he love, he love, he love/ He does love his numbers,” runs the chorus over a brisk percussive gallop. Hats off to her for being the first auburn-haired pop spookstress to address the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter.
But, as with the work of her chum Peter Gabriel, the song seems burdened by its own conceptual weight and its author’s quest for sonic perfection. It’s an identical story with Joanni (seemingly about Joan of Arc) and How to be Invisible — the two most musically uninteresting songs on Aerial.
In the past this never used to be a problem because you sensed that Kate Bush knew a vaguely contemporary production when she heard one. However, scoot to the penultimate track on the second CD, A Sky of Honey, and it’s not certain that this is the case any more. Recalling Mike Oldfield’s recent attempts to rebrand himself as the clanging harbinger of “chill out”, Nocturn, a New-Agey hymn to the imminent dawn, is as unpleasant as it is unexpected. It seems inevitable that within nine months every backpacker in Goa will have adopted it as their own. They’re welcome to it.
Thankfully, nothing else on either CD comes close to plumbing such depths. With nine tracks that variously revolve around birdsong, the change from day into night (and back again) and a painter attempting to capture the scene before him, A Sky of Honey coheres more readily than its “commercial” counterpart. An Architect’s Dream and The Painter’s Link have Rolf Harris (who, lest we forget, also contributed didgeridoo on The Dreaming) and Bush duetting over a spare string and piano arrangement. As his painting falls victim to a sudden downpour, he wearily exclaims, “what has become of my painting?” But she’s enraptured: “See the colours run . . . See what they have become/ A beautiful sunset.” And so to the pagan abandon of Sunset, which has Bush offering herself to the dying light of the day over a deluge of flamenco guitars.
As day makes way for night and restraint into catharsis, Somewhere in Between has Bush once again chasing intangibles and emerging with the album’s unquestionable highlight: a life-affirming chorus of hushed harmonies and whispering rhythms with more than a hint of the sexual languor that gave The Sensual World of 1989 its knee-weakening frisson.
To these ears, A Sky of Honey makes more sense if you skip the next track — the dreaded Nocturn — and head straight for the album’s tumultuous closer. The final, eponymous, song on Aerial is also its most ambitious. A redemptive paean to the new day in which its creator joins the birds in their endless song — but not before a mid-song breakdown of hysterical laughter and trilling has ushered in a barrage of free-styling rock guitar.
If this is the point at which her lifelong artistic deceleration finally grinds to a halt, it won’t be a bad way to remember her. Up on the roof, throwing herself open to the elements, while, down below, we wonder just what it’s like to see the world as Kate Bush does.
Five great Bush moments
Executed, as always, with an assurance beyond her years, this 1980 single tells of a woman who tests her husband’s fidelity by sending perfumed letters signed Babooshka — which also happens to be the Russian word for grandmother.
Another Day/Don’t Give Up
Two very different duets with Peter Gabriel. The first, performed by the pair on Bush’s BBC Christmas Special, had the pair stonily intoning their lines as bored husband and wife over the breakfast table. The video for the second song — from Gabriel’s So album — had them locked in tight embrace.
The Sensual World
Drawing together Middle Eastern, Celtic and East European influences, the Joyce-inspired title track of Bush’s sixth album was rewritten after she was refused permission to use Molly Bloom’s soliloquy at the end of Ulysses.
Talking to Michael Aspel in 1993, Bush confessed that she hadn’t read Wuthering Heights when she got the idea for song: “It was a television series they had years ago and I just managed to catch the very last few minutes . . . I didn’t know what was going on, and someone explained the story . . . I read the book to get the research right and, wrote the song.” The single was released only after a tearful Bush, then 19, confronted her label boss after he insisted it would “hit a wall”. She stood her ground, A year later, her boss bought her a £7,000 Steinway by way of apology.
One of her best songs and most memorable videos was inspired by the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, whose son Peter claimed that his father had devised a rain-making machine. In the video Bush played Peter while Donald Sutherland was Wilhelm. “I didn’t know who she was, so (initially) I refused,” recalled Sutherland, “Next thing I knew there was this knock at the door and it’s her. She was so funny.”
Kate's back but is she hip?
By David Smyth
October 14, 2005
When a wild-eyed Kate Bush first sang "Heathcliff, it's me, I'm Cath-ee! I've come home" on Top of the Pops in 1978, I was less concerned with her huge impact on the music world than with my own personal quest to fit five of my toes into my mouth at once, aged six months.
There must be many like me who have become her fans backwards, moving in reverse from a love of singers such as Björk and PJ Harvey to the source material.
Still more will have been introduced to her by the Futureheads' cover of her 1986 classic Hounds of Love, which scored a bigger hit this year than the real thing did.
Now Bush is about to make her big comeback after a 12-year silence. Fortysomething pop pundits have already written reams of panting copy about their eagerness for the Eighties icon's return. But my generation wait in eager anticipation, too. No one should underestimate just how relevant the 47-year-old mother of one remains to today's music scene.
As a songwriter, performer and even producer, her complete control over her sound led to the creation of some of the most musically daring hits ever to grace the charts - Wuthering Heights, Man with the Child in His Eyes, Babooshka, Running up That Hill, Hounds of Love - songs that still sound forward-thinking more than two decades later.
As one of pop's true originals, she has been a continuing source of inspiration to younger musicians. Theatrical rock band Muse and experimental hip-hop duo Outkast are big admirers, although Björk is probably the most obvious follower of her alien musical style.
She has said: "To me, Kate Bush will always represent the age of exploring your sexuality, when you change from a girl to a woman. She created her own look and produced her own sound. There's a timelessness to Kate's music."
There's also a shroud of secrecy surrounding her new album, a two-disc effort titled Aerial, which won't be released until 7 November. The mystery only adds to the anticipation.
Before I could become one of the first journalists to listen to the new songs - once only, at EMI's Brook Green offices - I had to sign a form agreeing not to write anything that "in any way constitutes a review". It was played on a huge CD player bolted to the floor, guarded by a bored, possibly armed employee, in case I tried anything funny.
One contemporary comparison became immediately obvious: this release is even more important to the record label than Coldplay's X&Y. That was posted out early to reviewers under the pseudonym The Fir Trees so that if it fell into the hands of thieves or bootleggers, they wouldn't know what they had. Aerial is forbidden even to leave the building.
Inside the sealed environment, I was only allowed to listen to half of the album, the half on disc one, without even a sniff of Aerial's second disc, which I know to be a "concept" piece in nine linked tracks, collectively called A Sky of Honey. Together, apparently, they form a kind of musical day in the life, filled with bird song and with a cameo from Rolf Harris on didgeridoo. It sounds strangely promising.
I can report with more confidence that disc one's seven distinct songs constitute a fascinating listen, demonstrating all that Bush does best and showing a notable change in her outlook. The slightly unhinged wailer is nowhere to be heard here. Since her last album, The Red Shoes in 1993, she has become mother to Bertie, now seven, and there is a peaceful contentment evident throughout the new songs.
He drew the cover art for her forthcoming single, King of the Mountain (out in 10 days, before the album), and is the subject of one of the new tracks, Bertie, a ballad played on mediaeval instruments featuring the lines: "Here comes the sunshine/Here comes that boy of mine".
Along with A Coral Room, Mrs Bartolozzi is one of two songs played solo on piano; it revels in domestic bliss, being principally about a washing machine. On •, Bush continues to find beauty in the mundane, softly reciting the infinite number over a waltzing rhythm and echoing synths.
As ever, plenty of nature imagery is conjured, especially on the spooky spell described on How to Be Invisible. For lyrical complexity she remains worlds ahead of the likes of Franz Ferdinand, probably our most articulate contemporary band.
But while she continues to employ layered electronics to great effect, nothing here sounds overly dramatic or elaborate. Even Joanni, about Joan of Arc going into battle, remains stately and restrained.
A reserved Kate Bush is still more adventurous than a boatload of hip new
Kate Bush, Aerial
by Jason Cowley
October 16, 2005
(Five stars out of five)
She's still deep, if occasionally unfathomable. Jason Cowley
delights in an alchemist's return
Why do so many pop performers produce their best work when they are in their early-to-mid twenties? A simple answer is that pop is essentially a juvenile form, the expression of a certain youthful worldview and rebellious sensibility, and the more the musician matures and learns about music, the greater can be the desire to complicate and to experiment with what once felt so natural and spontaneous.
Few artists experiment more than Kate Bush - often to thrilling effect. Her first single, 'Wuthering Heights', was a huge number one hit in 1978, when she was just 19. After that surprise, EMI allowed her near-absolute artistic control. Since 1980 she has produced and written all her own material and, as the wait for each new album has grown longer and longer, she has become the musical equivalent of a celebrated novelist who refuses to be edited: she has the freedom to do whatever she wants and at whichever speed she desires. If she wants Rolf Harris to play didgeridoo for her as he did on The Dreaming (1982) and again on this new album, Aerial, she can have him. If she wants to combine the orchestral string arrangements of Michael Kamen with uninhibited rock guitar, as she does here, she can. If she refuses to play live, as she has done for more than 20 years, no one will try to force her to change her mind.
Twelve years is a long time to wait for a new record from any artist, even from one as consistently inventive as Kate Bush, but at least Aerial offers value. It's a 14-track double album, and the more experimental of the two records is 'A Sky of Honey'. It begins not with music but with the sound of birdsong, the wind in the trees and the voice of a child calling for her parents. What follows is a suite of seven unashamedly romantic and interconnected songs taking us on a long day's journey into night and then on through to the next morning when birdsong is heard once more and the whole cycle starts all over again. There are similarities here with the second side of the remarkable Hounds of Love (1985) and to the song sequence 'The Ninth Wave' that took us into the consciousness of a drowning woman (the sea, in her work, has long been a source of inspiration and of threat). That album, memorable for its daring, its imaginative use of sampling, and its erotic intensity, was, like much of Bush's work, preoccupied with memory - and with how we are never entirely free from the voices and sounds of childhood. It remains her best album.
'A Sky of Honey' is music of pagan rapture - songs about acts of creation, natural or otherwise; about the wind, rain, sunlight and the sea. Sometimes it is just Kate alone at her piano, her voice restrained. Sometimes, as on the outstanding 'Sunset', she begins alone and softly, but soon the tempo quickens and the song becomes an experiment in forms: jazz, progressive rock, flamenco.
There are weaknesses. At times, Bush can be too fey and whimsical, especially on 'Bertie', which is about the joy of motherhood, or on 'Mrs Bartolozzi', a rhapsody to nothing less than a washing machine: 'My blouse wrapping itself around your trousers... slooshy sloshy/ slooshy sloshy.' And the bold, musically adventurous second album is a little too insistent in its 'hey, man' hippyish sensibility, with Kate running freely through the fields or climbing high in the mountains. She did, after all, once dress up as a kind of white witch for the cover of Never For Ever (1980), on which she is portrayed flying through the air, like a giant bat.
'What kind of language is this?' Kate Bush sings, self-interrogatively, on the title track, the last of the album. It's a good question, to which she offers a partial answer on 'Somewhere in Between', which in ambition and content is where most of the songs on this album are suspended - somewhere in between the tighter, more conventional structures of pop and the looser, less accessible arrangements of contemporary classical and the avant-garde; somewhere, in mood and atmosphere, between the lucidity of wakefulness and the ambiguity of dream; between the presumed innocence of childhood and the desire for escape offered by the adult imagination; between abstraction and the real. Even when she escapes her wonderland to write songs about actual figures in the known world, she remains attracted to those figures such as Elvis ('King of the Mountain', the album's first single) or Joan of Arc ('Joanna') that, in death as indeed in life, have a mythic unreality.
So, again, what kind of language is this? It is ultimately that of an artist superbly articulate in the language of experimental pop music. But it is also the language of an artist who doesn't seem to want to grow up. Or, more accurately, who has never lost her child-like capacity for wonder and for pagan celebration and who, because she is sincere and can communicate her odd and unpredictable vision in both words and through sumptuous music, occupies a cherished and indulged position in the culture. There is no one quite like her, which is why, in the end, we must forgive her excesses and eccentricities. We are lucky to have her back.
The Song Remains The Same
by Hugh Fielder
A lengthy 12 years on from her last album, fans of Kate will be
pleased to discover that her new record sounds reassuringly familiar.
Twelve years between albums is not the longest gap in recording history, but for an icon such as Kate Bush it certainly makes you pause for thought. There has even been a novel called Waiting For Kate Bush in which a bunch of dysfunctional characters obsess over the minutiae of her lyrics and lengthy album credits.
The Kate Bush who released The Red Shoes in 1993 was in her mid-30s. She is now in her late 40s. What's disturbing, though, is that for most of her audience Kate has been frozen in time from 1979 when she stopped touring and withdrew into her own world. So the image of Kate in a singlet, with wild hair to match her kooky character, and high warbling voice remains vivid mainly because there has been nothing to replace it.
What's even more disturbing is that there is little on Aerial to alter that image. The opening, reassuringly familiar-sounding King Of The Mountain is all about whistling winds, rising storms, and 'the snow with Rosebud'. By track four she's up to her waist in water with 'little fishes swimming between my legs'. Only at the end of the record, when she gets into a fit of the giggles, do you suddenly realize you are listening to the sound of middle-aged laughter.
There have been other changes, of course. Most notably, Kate has become a mum; and she definitely become the woman with the child in her eyes on Bertie - 'More joy and such joy that you bring me,' she trills above the medieval backing.
Such domesticity has also inspired Mrs. Bartolozzi where, before her encounter with the aforementioned fishes, she is fascinated by a washing machine, watching as the clothes swirl around, her skirt entwined with his trousers. But when his shirt ends up on the washing line, 'clean and upside down', you start to wonder whether he's coming back.
Elsewhere she gets intrigued by numerology and circles on π (Pi) the chorus recites Pi's never-ending value. But you're never far from finding 'clothes on the beach and footprints leading to the sea'.
The two CDs (lasting around 90 minutes) are themed 'The sea of honey' and 'The sky of honey', but after only one (supervised) listen it's hard to grasp the threads. But her patient fans will be delighted that there is honey still for tea.
(7 stars out of 10)
Kate Bush: Finally, something for the
(writer not credited)
October 21, 2005
Early next month, Kate Bush releases Aerial, her first new album since The Red Shoes back in November 1993. Even by the relaxed schedules adopted by pop's more established artists, this is an extraordinary career hiatus - not quite the 20 years separating Steely Dan's Gaucho and Two Against Nature, perhaps, but well on the way there.
Entire pop scenes and musical movements have budded, bloomed and withered in the interim - Oasis's first singles, for instance, appeared in 1994 - but such is the diminutive Kate's enduring artistic stature that the forthcoming double-album has prompted a feverish flurry of record-company attention on its behalf. Some would consider their concern paranoiac - only last week, I was accosted like a shoplifter in the street by an EMI security guard, for the terrible crime of believing that the lyric-sheet I had been given at a playback of the album was mine to keep. Apparently, none shall know of Her words until the two discs are actually brought down from the mountaintop to the record shop. But we'll let that pass.
The more pertinent concern is whether her music remains relevant in a music landscape that has seen Britpop come and go, grunge atrophy into skate-metal, hip-hop conquer the known world, and talent-contest TV reduce chart pop to a production-line of vacuity. Changes flash by ever more rapidly in the modern, computer-assisted music world, and in decoupling from its dizzy progress for a dozen years, Kate Bush runs a serious risk of getting flattened like a hedgehog crossing a motorway upon her return.
Extraordinarily, she manages to traverse both carriageways with only superficial damage to a few spines: indeed, such is the idiosyncratic nature of her work that she could probably disappear for a half-century and still sustain her own unique position in the pop firmament. But then, who else would write about an obsessive-compulsive housewife or attempt a vocal duet with trilling birds, or, in the most courageous of the album's many unusual strategies, sing huge strings of numbers, a gambit that brings new meaning to the old critic's chestnut about being happy to listen to someone singing the telephone directory?
The only track so far available from the album, the single "King Of The Mountain", employs references to Elvis and Citizen Kane to illustrate her musings upon fame and wealth and isolation. "Why," she wonders, "does a multi-millionaire fill up his home with priceless junk?" The rest of the album - particularly the extended song-cycle that occupies the entire second disc - seems like her own suggestion as to how to use that lofty position more profitably, in a spiritual and aesthetic manner. A reggae lilt underscored with misty synthesiser textures, " King Of The Mountain" has the gently insistent quality that proved so effective on several of her previous singles.
The picture adorning the single's sleeve is by Bush's young son, " lovely, lovely Bertie", whose presence toddles joyously through much of the new album, clearly illuminating her world. Many years ago, back near the start of her career, she regarded the domestic demands of motherhood as a dubious prospect, claiming her work was her love, and how could she do that and bring up a child at the same time? The answer, presumably, was not to work for a dozen years.
Ironically, childhood - and particularly the struggle not to relinquish it - has always been one of the driving concerns of Bush's work, an itch discernible in tracks as obvious as "In Search of Peter Pan" (from 1978's Lionheart) and as oblique as "The Fog" (from 1989's The Sensual World), where her father at one point advises her to " Just put your feet down, child/'Cos you're all grown up now". When asked about this aspect of her work, she has always freely admitted being like a little girl in many ways, and furthermore, happily presumes she'll still be that way in her dotage. It's certainly still a factor on Aerial , both in the track "Bertie" itself and in the memories and reminiscences that cobweb some other songs. But compared to the darker corners of the mind sometimes mined in earlier songs, the new album seems a much sunnier affair: an enduring image I took away from it - not necessarily a lyric, though it might have been - was of windows flung wide open, their curtains billowing out in the breeze, a room's long-dormant dust stirred into life again.
Another significant concern in Bush's work has been sexuality, both in codified, metaphorical form, and more explicitly in tracks like "Feel It ", "In The Warm Room" and most obviously "The Sensual World", where she emulates Molly Bloom's soliloquy from Ulysses (she had wanted to simply quote from Joyce's novel, but the publisher's demurral forced her to devise her own equivalent reverie). She's unafraid, too, of tackling more problematic areas of sexuality, as for instance when she dealt with cradle-snatching in "The Infant Kiss" and incest in "The Kick Inside". But not all that seems erotic in her music is about sex, as an EMI employee discovered when he found her working on the hypnotic "out-in-out-in" chant section of "Breathing" (from 1980's Never For Ever), and expressed outrage at EMI's young pop princess making such an overtly sexual record. The song is, of course, about breathing. Duhhh!
This is perhaps the main area where Bush is less relevant than she once was,
for all her obvious influence on such soul-baring doyennes of sexual openness as
Tori Amos, Sinead O'Connor and Björk. Since she was last involved, the bar on
female sexual expression has been booted so much higher - or dragged lower,
depending on your viewpoint - by the brazenly pornographic contributions of
hip-hop and R&B divas, whose revelations would make Hugh Hefner blush. But in
doing so, they have also scoured away the elements that brought the most
interesting frissons to Bush's take on sexuality - the entire spiritual aspect,
most notably, but also the notion of sexuality as something to be attained,
something to build up to, a most satisfying mountain to scale.
Not, of course, that Kate Bush has ever really been writing for the same market as Lil' Kim or Mousse-T or whoever it was who went on so charmingly about licking her booty and her crack. Bush has always been a nice middle-class girl writing for other nice middle-class girls (and boys) who wouldn't necessarily be put off by references to writers such as James Joyce and the Brontë sisters, or oddball mystics and weirdos like GI Gurdjieff and Wilhelm Reich, and who wouldn't balk at hearing non-pop musicians such as Eberhard Weber, the Trio Bulgarka and, er, Rolf Harris.
It's not an exclusively middle-class constituency, but it is one that exults in exercising the mind rather than just the body, that finds greater liberation in the imagination than in raucous, boozy indulgence. One that reads, in other words. And although it sometimes seems as if it's been completely obliterated by the waves of corporate dumbed-down drivel that routinely crams the airwaves, it's a massive audience lain long dormant, forced to subsist on the drab pablum of Keane and David Gray until something more substantial comes along.
At around an hour and a half, Aerial is unquestionably a substantial piece of work, and its manifold peculiarities and quirks offer much more interesting fare than that available from today's AOR mainstream. It's also a more mature undertaking than any of her previous albums, an extended meditation on art and light, fame and family, creativity and the natural world. Indeed it seems, come to think of it, like an expansion of the theme of Laura Veirs' gorgeous "Rapture". And since that was the finest song of last year, I'd have to say that leaves Kate Bush still operating at the cutting-edge of intelligent adult pop, every bit as relevant now as at any point in her career. Just a little bit weirder, thank heavens.
'AERIAL': TRACK LISTING
1. King Of The Mountain
4. Mrs Bartolozzi
5. How to be Invisible
7. Coral Room
3. An Architect's Dream
4. The Painter's Link
6. Aerial Tal
7. Somewhere In Between
IS KATE BUSH STILL RELEVANT?
Mutya from Sugababes
I think she is still relevant. It's nice to see people reinvent themselves. She was a great performer and a great singer. I like that song, you know the one, "It's me, I'm Cathy..." I love that song. I remember listening to it growing up. I think our older fans like her music.
I'm really looking forward to Kate Bush's return - I'm no expert on her work but I know some of it and I think she's an incredibly original and talented artist. Anyone who writes most of an album like her first album, The Kick Inside, at 15 years old has got to be pretty special.
Of course she's still relevant. I wasn't actually in the country when her music first came out, so I only discovered it three or four years ago. What's amazing is that something like "Wuthering Heights" still sounds so different. I actually saw her about nine months ago, we were just passing at an industry event and I went up to her and said I was a big fan and asked her about the new record. She was really excited about it but quite nervous because she felt that everyone was hyping it up a bit and she just wanted to bring out an album. You know, she's a musician.
Hussein Chalayan, fashion designer
For me, it's not important how well the songs will be received because I think she's already an amazing influence in what she's done. I listen to her stuff a lot while I sketch and I think there is a weird sense of emotional encouragement in her work. There's something therapeutic in her voice and in her attitude, so that sometimes just listening to it can encourage youor give you some kind of energy.
To me, Kate Bush will always represent the age of exploring your sexuality, when you change from a girl to a woman. I guess that's what I found fascinating about Kate, she totally stuck out. She created her own look and sound. There's a timelessness to her music.
Alan Bentley, director of the Brontë Museum
One of the main things that brings people to the Brontë Museum from all over the world is Kate Bush. We have copies of her No 1 hit single " Wuthering Heights" in our collection of Brontë-related items. People often arrive at the Brontë novels through that song.
Something For The Weekend - Katest Hits
October 21, 2005
Scan of original page
(Thanks Bathlamp & Aquafishy)
SINGLE of the WEEK - King Of The Mountain - 5 RATING
Imagine the scene - early 1978 and punk is at the height of its raging, anarchic glory.
Then Kate Bush is introduced to the world with the line: "out on the wiley, windy moors."
Her ethereal, warbling falsetto recalled Emily Bronte's gothic novel Wuthering Height. With its grand sweeps of piano, lush strings and lyrical guitar, it climbed to No1.
Punk it wasn't.
Kate, still in her teens, had revealed her spectacular talent.
On the credits for her debut album, The Kick Inside, she implored "all of you with open ears - please feel it."
Millions of us did. She went on to make seven beautifully crafted albums, ending in 1993's The Red Shoes. Arguably, she became Britain's greatest female songwriter.
Like an alchemist, she turned words and music into gold. Her videos were fleeting works of art.
Then nothing for 12 years.
Late in 2005, we stand on the brink of a new album - Aerial, out on November 7th.
It is the year's most intriguing release. To anyone over 30 it provides a chance to re-acquaint ourselves with Kate. To younger people, a new journey of discovery beckons.
"Could you see the aisles of women?" is the line that reintroduces Kate Bush to the world.
It opens her new single King Of The Mountain (out Monday) - a magnum opus of almost five minutes filled with sophisticated beats, swirling synths and typically oblique lyrics.
Happily, Kate's voice doesn't sound the least bit rusty.
Theorists can have a field day with the lyrics as Kate considers the desperate isolation of huge wealth and fame.
The King Of The Mountain appears to be William Randolph Hearst, the inspiration behind the film Citizen Kane.
Rosebud may refer to his mistress. Is the mountain a reference to the hill where Hearst built his Californian mansion? The haunting words also speak of Elvis "out there somewhere like a happy man."
It's a ravishing comeback.
To celebrate and get in the mood for the album, SOTW reviews Kate's amazing
THE KICK INSIDE - 5 RATING
Championed by Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, Kate's debut album belied her tender years. Vivid, intricate soundscapes framed her offbeat, romantic lyrics. The woes of Cathy and Heathcliff overshadowed other songs that gave notice of this new talent. The track Strange Phenomena could describe its author.
KEY SONGS: Wuthering Heights, The Man With The Child In His Eyes, Moving, Them Heavy People.
LIONHEART - 3 RATING
Appearing just months after The Kick Inside, it proved to be a difficult second album. Lionheart was bursting with ideas that were not quite fully formed. But songs such as Wow, with its glistening melody and singalong chorus, rank with her best work. The US market was proving hard to crack, perhaps because of the paean to these shores Oh England My Lionheart.
KEY SONGS: Wow, Oh England My Lionheart, Hammer Horror.
NEVER FOR EVER - 4 RATING
Kate got into her stride with this album, which spawned three hit singles and topped the album chart. The eastern overtones of Babooshka just managed to avoid silliness and became her biggest single since Wuthering heights. Breathing pondered the Cold War nuclear threat with new maturity and depth. The lovely Delius (Song Of Summer) emphasized this further.
KEY SONGS: Babooshka, Army Dreamers, Breathing.
THE DREAMING - 4 RATING
A remarkable achievement. Not only did Kate take over full production duties for the first time, to stunning effect, but her vocal gymnastics also rose to a new level. It had fewer hit singles but stands the test of time by still sounding fresh and innovative. Even Rolf Harris wields his didgeridoo on the title track, a lament on the plight of Aborigines.
KEY SONGS: Sat In Your Lap, The Dreaming, Get Out Of My House.
HOUNDS OF LOVE - 5 RATING
The big one. The masterpiece, if you like. Forget the Futureheads' recent reworking of the title track, this is the real deal. With big songs like Big Sky, big sound and big production, it finally gave Kate the recognition she deserved in the States. Running Up That Hill and Cloudbusting are classics that remain with the listener long after the last notes have died away.
KEY SONGS: Running Up That Hill ( A Deal With God ), Hounds Of Love, Big Sky, Cloudbusting.
THE SENSUAL WORLD - 4 RATING
The title says it all. This album is sensual in every sense. Low-key, even introspective, it reflects on the mental and physical aspects of love. Check out Dave Gilmour's goose-bump inducing guitar cameo on Love And Anger and be seduced by the beauty of This Woman's Work. Not as good as Hounds Of Love but not far behind.
KEY SONGS: This Woman's Work, Love And Anger, Between A Man And A Woman.
THE RED SHOES - 3 RATING
Evidence that Kate was slowing down, this album appeared after a four year hiatus. Songs like Rubberband Girl had potential but the album failed to dazzle. There were fine contributions from Eric Clapton, Procol Harum's organ maestro Gary Brooker and Prince, who funks up the excellent Why Should I love You?
KEY SONGS: The Song Of Solomon, Rubberband Girl, Eat The Music, Why Should I love You?
1 = Use CD as a coaster
2 = Worth a listen
3 = Nice tunes
4 = Go for it
5 = Champagne supernova
"The word on the Bush telegraph"
The Times of London
by Stephen Dalton
October 22, 205
As Kate Bush releases her first CD in 12 years, Stephen Dalton discovers from
other musicians what makes Kate great
Musical movements have waxed and waned, former peers wasted away, but somehow Kate Bush has endured. In fact, in the 12 years since her last album release, she has become more influential than ever, as memories of the leotard-clad teenage warbler from the early 1980s have faded, to be replaced by a genuine appreciation of her musical talents.
With the arrival of Bush’s new album, Aerial, a sprawling double-CD of pagan poetry, artists from every genre and generation are lining up to pay homage to the faerie queen of British pop. Her perfectionist mastery of arranging and producing, her ability to juggle music with motherhood, her lyrical hinterland of heightened emotion and ripe sensuality — all have been interpreted as defiantly feminine, even feminist statements.
Significantly, Bush crosses gender taste barriers with an ease that the likes of Alanis Morissette and Dido do not. Her music has already enjoyed a mini-comeback this year, thanks to the Futureheads, whose spiky cover version of her 1985 classic Hounds of Love performed better in the charts than her original. Meanwhile, Coldplay admitted they were “trying to recreate” Bush’s 1985 hit Running Up That Hill for their own recent chart-topper, Speed of Sound.
Even the most macho performers see her as a rule-breaking maverick. The rapper Tricky, notorious for recording with gangsters, considers Bush a genius on a par with the Beatles, while the former Sex Pistol John Lydon has called her “f****** brilliant” and “a true original”.
Bush’s eclectic musical agenda has also helped to sustain her fanbase over the years. Few artists have worked with such a diverse army of collaborators, from Eric Clapton to Nigel Kennedy, from Prince to Peter Gabriel, from Bulgarian choirs to Rolf Harris.
Of course, the question remains whether Bush’s army of acolytes will help to make Aerial a hit. After 12 years of silence and secrecy, can Bush sound as wondrous and amazing as the mystique surrounding her? Many of her famous fans seem to think so ....
“When I was growing up Kate Bush was the one. All the boys fancied her at school, all the hippies smoked bongs and listened to her music. I got into her a little later. I think she’s a genius. I love her because she is nothing to do with fashion, she is so self-contained. My favourite album is Hounds of Love, it’s the ultimate concept album. I took a lot of drugs listening to that album, E mainly. So much so that when I listen to it now I can start to feel sick very quickly.”
Fellow vocal and sartorial adventurer
“There were so many records in my parents’ house, so I saw a lot of album covers. I thought they were all macho and occupied with power, things I didn’t like. I guess that’s what I found fascinating about Kate, she stuck out. She created her own look and produced her own sound.”
Grumpy folkie and Bush collaborator
“She was such a precocious talent, she arrived ready-made. With her voice going to such incredible heights, she was immediately a standout. We were recording at Abbey Road at the time, and as soon as I heard her I knew I had a piece I’d love her to sing. We put feelers out and she came back within five minutes. Then I found out that her brothers had been into me for all of her childhood, so she came super quick. You get the sense when you meet her that she is the real thing. She’s a million miles away from Charlotte Church, who is a classically trained female singer of no small ability. But Kate has a lot more than that in terms of artistic integrity. She is an artist in the deepest sense.”
“I think Kate Bush’s work transcends musical borders. Of course it’s a kind of pop music, but a music with lots of layers, holding the attention for many repeated hearings. Also, I have always found her use of her extraordinary voice very interesting. She seems to use it as an instrument, always seeking to expand its possibilities.”
Singer with the Futureheads
“She is totally underrated as an arranger and singer. Some of her songs are perfectly arranged and quite complicated. She makes great pop songs with excellent production. And we were all born in the early 1980s, so Kate Bush was around all of us to a varying degree.”
Singer with indie rockers Bloc Party
“I only discovered Kate Bush two years ago. I was staying at a friend’s house in Spain while he was away, and all he had in his collecton were Prince and Kate Bush records. I listened to all her albums from start to finish and was completely transfixed, amazed by their theatrical intensity, their sense of story and attention to detail. These artists were able to sculpt their decisions without having to run them past people. They were able to do what they wanted.”
Half of hip-hop pioneers OutKast
“My uncle introduced me to Kate Bush when I was about 14 years old, and that opened my mind up. She was so bugged out, man! But I felt what she was talking about in the songs. My uncle would explain what the song stood for. Like The Man With the Child in His Eyes and all that shit. I would be like, ‘Wow! She’s so f*****’ deep!’ I was infatuated with her, man. Still am, and hopefully on the next record you’re gonna hear OutKast and Kate Bush do at least two or three songs. I gotta track her down! I just found out she was producing all that shit herself, man! She’s so f*****’ dope and so underrated and off the radar.”
Classically named global megastar
“When I was 13, I got a record player for Christmas, so I went out and bought Hounds of Love by Kate Bush and Diamond Life by Sade, which both remain absolute classics. Those are two women who have the right idea: they have a life, they have great careers, and they make records when they want to make records.”
“I don’t believe in God, but if I did, her music would be my bible. Her music sounds religious to me. She should be treasured more in this country than the Beatles. That she isn’t is probably down to her own personality, because she can — and does — walk away from everything, and not make albums, and I respect her for that. Just to live your life and not play the game — to me, that’s success.”
Pink Floyd guitarist who “found” Bush
“As a teenager, Kate couldn’t be ignored. She was obviously, to me, a great talent and it would have been criminal of me to have ignored her. Having said that, she would have made it anyway, one way or another. After her success I was inundated with tapes of girl singers. But when I listened to them, I never heard another Kate.”
"The pull and the push of it all..." - Kate Bush
Marvick - Hill
Willker - Mapes
Grepel - Love-Hounds