The Reviews

The Red Shoes Reviews
Part 3

The Orlando Sentinel
R.A.D! e-zine
Music Scene
Xtra West
Philadelphia Inquirer
'Bunte' - issue 45
Cleveland Plain Dealer
NY Times
Stereo Review

Spin magazine
People Magazine
Tower Pulse
- "Kate Bush Clicks Red Shoes Together"

To the Reaching Out (Reviews) Table of Contents

Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1993 11:13:03 -0500
From: jim@medinah.atc.ucarb.com
Subject: Review in Graffiti Dec. 1993

The following is a short review of TRS in the December issue of the Graffiti (West Virginia Alternative Entertaiment Guide).

Kate Bush The Red Shoes (Columbia). For the past 16 years, record companies have been trying to figure out how to break Kate Bush in America. That they haven't given up after the mega-hyped failure of 1989's Sensual World is fortunate because the often-challenging songstress has delivered another strong effort. Whether this disc will finally earn her a place in U.S. hearts is debatable, but charmingly upbeat cuts like "Rubberband Girl" and the Prince soundalike "Why Should I Love You?" (written by Bush, with an instrumental assist from whatshisname himself) can't hurt her chances. Some songs (like the title track) are still tough going for the casual listener, but Bush's work has a lyrical and musical richness that demands repeated listening. DLR (Dan Le Roy)


From: bdoherty@bilver.oau.org (Benjamin J Doherty)
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 1993 20:03:14 GMT
Subject: The Orlando Sentinel "The Red Shoes" Review Dec. 1993 (?)

The Orlando Sentinel "The Red Shoes" Review

Kate Bush, The Red Shoes (Columbia): Kate Bush always takes ages to make an album, but her efforts have been well worth the prolonged anticipation--until now.

On The Red Shoes, Bush seems determined, after years as a cult heroine, to follow cohort Peter Gabriel's path from the fringes to the rock mainstream. But rather than emphasizing her melodic side, as Gabriel did on his pop hits, she merely irons out some of the quirks that made her tunes so interesting and succumbs to many of the cliches of contemporary production.

On the opening cut, "Rubberband Girl," Bush waxes positively perky as she struggles to forge a "Sledgehammer" out of a flimsy tune, dopey lyrics and bouncy dance-floor beat. Arena-rock drums undermine the gentle "Top of the City." The dance-floor rhythm track on "Constellation of the Heart" is too cliched to energize the bland melody.

"And So Is Love" is as full of wispy synthesizers as a Phil Collins song, and even with a few spirals of electric guitar, it's too pale a landscape for her piercing soprano. Except for Bush's voice, "The Song of Solomon" could be a New Age number and the lyrics could have been written by George Michael in a snippy mood--"Don't want your B.S./ just want your sexuality."

Nothing on The Red Shoes is worthy of past Bush albums, but a few numbers have their mild charms. The bizarre fruit metaphors on "Eat the Music" are exceedingly pretentious, but the song has a lilting, African high-life feel. The mechanical rhythm track on "Lily" is a tired dance-floor cliche, but the odd high, droning noises on top add interesting texture. The mandola, the whistles and various curious instruments on the driving title track really recall the fever-dream quality of the 1948 ballet film The Red Shoes, the album's namesake.

The Red Shoes was some four years in the making. Hopefully, it won't take Bush so long to put a new album out, to make this disappointing misstep fade from memory.

TWO stars out of FIVE.

--- Parry Gettelman

(Full body photograph of Kate in a fruit print dress: "Devoid of the quirks that made her a cult heroine, Kate Bush's 'The Red Shoes' is a disappointing effort.")


From: mk59200@cs.tut.fi (Markku Kolkka)
Date: Fri, 17 Dec 1993 17:14:45 GMT
Subject: KaTe mentioned in Rumba 24/93

The 10th anniversary edition of Rumba, a Finnish musical tabloid, contains quite a few mentions of KaTe and some other artists relevant to this group, so I thought to report them.

Translation, spelling and grammar errors are MINE, ALL MINE!

In the review of musical year 1993 Samuli Knuuti writes in chapter titled "Women, those women": [my comments in brackets - MK]

[omitted a couple of initial paragraphs]

The first one to be mentioned is of course Kate Bush, whose records have always been treated with a respect like they were carved in stone and carried to us from Mt. Sinai. Kate Bush is the last enigma of rock. She's the only musician whose next step we never know in advance and who hasn't ever failed our expectations [logic ?]. La Bush hasn't burned herself out on magazine pages but has saved her fire for the records, which are very paradoxical in their excellence: all Bush records sound totally different, but no other artist is as easily recognizable.

Year 1993 released among us "The Red Shoes" whose reception confirmed the familiar rule: Kate's records can only be compared to her earlier records. Coming later is her directorial debut, a hour-long movie "The Line, The Cross, The Curve" and perhaps even a tour. The world, and Jukka Vddtdnen [editor of Rumba, and a KaTefan], is holding its breath.

[in the remaining stuff SK mentions among others Bjork, Aimee Mann, Jane Siberry and Mazzy Star (isn't that the band, not the singer?)]

The staff of Rumba voted on the 20 best records of the year. Here's a few placings:

Category foreign albums:

1. Bjork : Debut

3. Kate Bush : The Red Shoes

15. Aimee Mann : Whatever

Category foreign singles:

1. Bjork : Human Behaviour

5. Bjork : Venus As A Boy

20. Kate Bush : Rubberband Girl

In the list of all albums that have been given full points (5) in a review during the 10-year history of the magazine, the only entry for KaTe is "Hounds Of Love" in 1985. TRS got "only" 4.5 points.

In the charts section:

- TRS falls 10 places to number 18 on the album chart.

- Eat The Music climbs 3 to 11. on the RadioMafia "most played" chart

- Moments of Pleasure drops three places to 33. on the "Rumba 50 Hits" chart.


From: rhogan@chaph.usc.edu (Ron Hogan)
Date: 17 Dec 1993 22:41:32 -0800
Subject: Review including TRS from R.A.D! e-zine Dec. 1993

The following is a review by Jesse Garon, review columnist for the electronic zine R.A.D! (Review and Discussion of Rock Culture), of several albums, including THE RED SHOES.

This review is reposted with permission

Kate Bush

"The Red Shoes" (Columbia)

A lot of hardcore Kate Bush fans have been disappointed in The Red Shoes, complaining that this album is a step backword for Kate, that songs like "Eat the Music", "Rubberband Girl", and "Why Should I Love You?" are a step backwards for the talented English singer. This is definitely *not* the Kate Bush of "Wuthering Heights" -- the "new" Kate Bush sings in a way that is much more sensual (not only in the sexual sense of the term, but in the sense of being rooted in the physical or material world) and less unearthly, continuing a thread from her last album, non-coincidentally titled The Sensual World. The ethereal qualities that attracted early fans have not been completely left behind, however. "Lily", for example, has intriguing lyrics suggestive of a Gnostic or Masonic ritual, and "The Song of Solomon" combines the earthy attitude of "don't want your bullshit / just want your sexuality" (probably the couplet quoted in most reviews of a single album for 1993) with Biblical and Celtic mythology.

She is also well served on this album by her collaborators. The Trio Bulgarka lend their haunting voices to several of the songs, and guitar work by Jeff Beck on "You're the One" and Eric Clapton on "And So is Love" stands out without taking attention away from Bush. "Why Should I Love You", her duet with Prince, is one of the most interesting duets of the year. It starts out with faint traces of the Trio Bulgarka in the background as Kate sings the first verse, then the chorus kicks into a more Princely funk, while the lyric still maintains Kate Bush's spiritual resonances and imagery. (Yes, Prince's lyrics have also had spiritual imagery on a regular basis, but the specific *feel* of the images in this song are more like Bush, even when it is Prince who sings them.) This album shows off Kate Bush's development as a songwriter, a record producer, and as a musician/singer, and I hope that she will continue to challenge herself as she has done here.


Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1993 22:25:00 +0100
From: uli@zoodle.RoBIN.de (Ulrich Grepel)
Subject: Music Scene 11/93

The Swiss magazine Music Scene tries (;-)) to have a Kate Bush article but somehow fails ;-). They introduce Kate's history of slow but high quality working on the first two pages (well, not even a column, there's the pic-with-the-bird that takes most room) and then they repeat the text on the next double page and only add 6 more lines. The last of these lines ends with 'Trio Bul-', so there definitively some text is missing ;-). Oh yes, the RbG single cover pic is also there in double-page manner.

Since it's not very interesting and doesn't give any new information I won't transcribe/late it without special request.


Date: Wed, 5 Jan 94 12:24:55 PST
From: Andrea@hivnet.ubc.ca
Subject: Review of TRS (Xtra West) Dec. 1993

This review appeared in the December 17, 1993 edition of Xtra West. Reprinted here with permission from the author (Luke Sandford) but not the publication.

The article has a small b/w inset of the album cover. No other photos.

The Red Shoes

Kate Bush

(EMI Music Canada)

Her new album has finally arived and while it's definately worth a listen, it's no masterpiece: fans will find sufficient echoes of Kate's illustrious past to maintain their devotion, and more casual listeners should appreciate Kate's experimental ways and rich '90's sound. But buyer beware: this is Kate's most commercial and mainstream recording to date and therin lie both its strengths and shortcomings.

Backed by an all-star cast, Kate offers up twelve tracks which dwell primarily on the themes of break-up and loss.

If one line could epitomize the album's painful focus, it would be the refrain ("Just being alive/It can really hurt") (sic) which appears in both You're the One and Moments of Pleasure [my partner points out to me this is actually incorrect - Andrea], the album's tour de force. What saves the album from despair is Kate's evocation of hope through humour, and her refusal to succumb to self-pity (confusion, perhaps, but never self-pity). Eat the Music, with its calypso groove, has an exotic carefree quality and some great lyrics ("He's a woman at heart/And I love him for that/ Let's split him open") (sic). And the single Rubberband Girl, all bouncy and bright and catchy, would seem to be Kate's paeon to resilience in the wake of solitude.

Although lacking the other-worldliness of past efforts, The Red Shoes is sonically gorgeous, featuring extravagant instrumentation, superb vocals, and top-notch guest musicians (Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck almost make up for David Gilmour's absence; and Nigel Kennedy is sublime). But could someone please tell me what Prince is doing here? Why Should I Love You? is half-hearted and flat, and His Royal Badness sounds like a fish out of water.

The Red Shoes has been steadily endearing itself; it's a qualified success, but a success nonetheless.


From: WretchAwry <vickie@pilot.njin.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 94
Subject: Article in Philadelphia Inquirer Jan. 1994

Philadelphia Inquirer (PI) - SUNDAY January 9, 1994:


by Tom Moon

"I definitely don't think of myself as being an influence," Kate Bush says with a puzzled smile. "I suppose that's something to be flattered by, but I don't know."

The singer's modesty notwithstanding, you can't help but notice that the children of Kate Bush are everywhere. More than any female vocalist/songwriter since Joni Mitchell, Bush has been studied and dissected, her lines and vocal mannerisms carefully copied. She's become the model for a whole flock of introspective, journal-keeping women who strive for more than the everyday guitar-accompanied confessional.

Bush's neo-gothic sound and otherworldly imagery was, for years, one of the few alternatives to "girl" pop, so it's inevitable that aspiring artists such as Tori Amos (who acknowledges her debt) would crib from the Bush catalogue.

But Amos - whose second album, Under the Pink, arrives in stores on Feb. 1. - has been a bit too zealous in her appropriations. The contemplative piano settings of her enormously successful 1992 debut sound an awful lot like those that made The Kick Inside, Bush's 1978 debut, so arresting.

Though Amos chose more earthy themes (and expressed them through numbingly simple lyrics), she relied on Bush's signature orchestral sweeps and unusual backing harmonies. Her scholarship was so exact, it sometimes sounded as though she had copied the scores.

Under the Pink continues the borrowing. As she matures as a vocalist, Amos has moved closer to Bush's tortured, writhing phrasing. Unfortunately, her songs offer little justification for their drama: They're average pop-rock that depend on histrionics to hold interest.

While Amos is the most overt, she's hardly the only singer to be influenced by Bush's distinctive singing. Bjork, lead singer of Iceland's the Sugarcubes, displays Bush's fiery independence and knack for understatement on Debut, her first effort as a solo artist. Both Jane Siberry and Eleanor McEvoy work to transform confessional narratives into observations on the human condition, the way Bush's best lyrics do. And though she's throatier, Mary Fahl of October Project strives for exaggeratedly crisp diction and a theatrical sense of distance, qualities that Bush, virtually alone among pop singers, cultivates.

Bush's compositions have an atmospheric, airy quality that have led some to categorize her as new age. It's not an accurate tag, but Bush's ethereal leanings - evident on The Kick Inside, The Dreaming (1982) and The Sensual World (1989) - have inspired the reverb-happy Happy Rhodes, Clannad's Maire Brennan and others to create meditative singer-songwriter music gentle enough to be played in the dentist's office.


My own opinion is that this guy is a dickhead. If he thinks "The Dreaming" is ethereal, then his other "opinions" are suspect, no matter how much he likes Kate. I think he likes to pretend that he knows some "names" and throws them around without knowing much of what he's talking about. Tori has "numbingly simple" lyrics? Hardly. "Reverb-happy" Happy Rhodes? Pfft! People like this compare with abandon, one of those folks who'd bring up Kate when talking about *any* female singer unless they sounded like Diamanda Galas, Loretta Lynn or Lydia Lunch.



Date: Sun, 16 Jan 1994 16:40:00 +0100
From: uli@zoodle.RoBIN.de (Ulrich Grepel)
Subject: The Red Shoes article in German mag 'Bunte', issue 45/93

The German magazine 'Bunte' has a short article about The Red Shoes. It's in issue 45, November 4th 1993, page 60. It is accompagnied by the picture with Kate dressed in black, sitting on the white box and wearing the red shoes. First the German original, then the translation:



Statt Tournee: Kate Bush verfilmt ihre CD

[Bildinschrift:] Der Ballettfilm "Die roten Schuhe" inspirierte Kate Bush zu "The Red Shoes": Titel ihrer neuen CD und eines Musikfilms.

Sie ist mal Hexe, mal singende Fee und immer die grosse Unsichtbare: Kein anderer Star scheut das Rampenlicht wie Kate Bush (35, "Babooshka", "Running Up that Hill"). Seit 15 Jahren sammelt sie Goldene Schallplatten. Aber nur ein einziges Mal (1979) ging sie auf Tournee. Jedes weitere Konzert lehnte die Klang-Perfektionistin strikt ab. Zum Erscheinen ihres sechsten Albums "The Red Shoes" (EMI, Gastmusiker: Eric Clapton, Prince, Nigel Kennedy) will die Englaenderin Fans ueber entgangene Live-Erlebnisse hinwegtroesten: Sechs ihrer neuen Songs verfilmte sie nach dem Vorbild der "Magical Mystery Tour" der Beatles. Am 16.11. hat das 40-Minuten-Werk in London Premiere.



Instead of a tour: Kate Bush makes a film of her CD

[picture inscription:] The ballett film "The Red Shoes" inspired Kate Bush to "The Red Shoes": Titel of her new CD and of a music film. [Sic: The Line, The Cross, and The Curve]

Sometimes she's a witch, sometimes a singing fairy, and always the great invisible: No other star shys away from the limelight as Kate Bush (35, "Babooshka", "Running Up That Hill"). Since 15 years she collects Golden Records. But only once (1979) she went on tour. The sound perfectionist strictly turned down every other concert. With the appearance of her sixth [SIC!!!] album "The Red Shoes" (EMI, guest musicians: Eric Clapton, Prince, Nigel Kennedy) the English woman wants to comfort fans for missed live experiences: she made six of her new songs into a movie after the example of the "Magical Mystery Tour" from the Beatles. On November 16 [sic?] the 40 minutes opus will premiere in London.


Date: Fri, 28 Jan 94 11:00:27 -0500
From: ea965@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Jon Haverman)
Subject: Review Cleveland Plain Dealer Jan. 1994

Friday's Cleveland Plain Dealer 1/28/94 in their magazine section has a review of Kate. the front of the mag. has a little pic. at the bottom which says"Kate Bush a rare pop artist" pg 38.


The Red Shoes
Kate Bush

Everyone from Bob Dylan to Meatloaf gets described as an artist these days, so its no wonder the word has lost its meaning. But, if there is one pop star who is worthy of the term, it is English singer-songwriter-pianist Kate Bush.

Bush is that rarest of all pop artists--the complete package. Beginning with her 1978 debut album,"the Kick Inside", she has established herself as a kind of renaissance woman, earning praise for her work as a lyricist, composer, musician, vocalist and video director.

Her ability to do it all(and do it well) has never more evident than on her latest album, "The Red Shoes."


the review goes on for seven more paragraphs and the praises for her never end throughout. My favorite line is"Bush could teach showoffs such as Whitney Houston and Marish Carey a thing or two about expressive singing".(sorry Mariah & Whitney fans)

The article is written by Plain Dealer reviewer Michael Norman.

This is a one newspaper 'Town' and I'm shocked that this newspaper actually printed something worthwhile. There is also a nice picture in her long dress she used for Red Shoes promo pics.


Date: Sat, 12 Feb 1994 23:43:09 -0500 (EST)
From: Peter Byrne Manchester <PMANCHESTER@ccmail.sunysb.edu>
Subject: NYTimes review Febr. 94


New York Times, Sect. 2 (Arts and Leisure), Sunday, February 6, 1994, p. 24.

Two Sisters In Song... Of Sorts

by Peter Galvin

When Tori Amos burst onto the pop scene last year with her album "Little Earthquakes," critics were hard pressed to find a label to describe the singer's exceedingly personal, exuberantly melodic music. Was it pop, folk or rock? Was Ms. Amos a musical earth daughter tapping into the primordial emotions of the human heart or just some crackpot offering the most self-absorbed brand of feminist spiritualism? Regardless of the many critical opinions Ms. Amos's arrival engendered, the one thing almost everyone agreed on was that she sounded a lot like Kate Bush.

Listening to both artists' new albums, Ms. Bush's "Red Shoes: and Ms. Amos's "Under the Pink," one easily hears the similarities between the two singer-songwriters. Both have high, frilly voices capable of conveying girlish insouciance, pouting allure and shrieking madness; both write piano-based melodies heavily influenced by the emotional sweep of classical music and the drama and bombast of opera; and both possess a keenly imaginative romantic sensibility that challenges patriarchal notions of love, sex and religion. But Ms. Bush is more of a musical philosopher than Ms. Amos, divining meaning from her experience and giving it universal scope. Ms. Amos's songs are like psychological case studies, providing listeners with a vicarious catharsis rather than any actual insight into existence.

Emerging in 1978 amid the abrasive anarchy of the British punk movement, Ms. Bush's debut album, "The Kick Inside," as a musical anomaly, what with its heady art-rock arrangements, baroque vocals and grandiloquent literary allusions. Subsequent albums found Ms. Bush experimenting with musical textures through the use of synthesizers, multilayered vocals and world-music instrumentation. Ms. Bush was seeking increasingly complex ways to express the landscape of consciousness and the soul's connection to God and the supernatural world.

On "The Red Shoes" (Columbia 53737; CD and cassette), Ms. Bush, 35, is in a wiser, less breathlessly romantic mode. Gone is the grandiose mysticism of songs like "Wuthering Heights" and "Running up That Hill." Instead, Ms. Bush's quest for meaning is more earthbound, concentrating on the pangs of the heart and the joys of the flesh. In the breakup ballad, "You're the One," Ms. Mush places the listener firmly in the real world as she sings to her ex-lover, "It's all right, I'' come 'round when you're not in/ And I'll pick up all my things."

In the Eastern-flavored "Eat the Music," Ms. Bush connects sex with food, imagining herself a piece of fruit; "Split me open/ With devotion," she demands jubilantly. The music, too, is much more intimate than on her past efforts. Ms. Bush no longer sounds as if she's addressing the heavens; her vocals now rarely reach their former ear-piercing levels.

The album's title track, based on Michael Powell's 1948 movie of the same name, illustrates the tragedy that can result when dreams and reality collide. An aspiring dancer puts on a pair of red shoes and dances herself to death to the furious sound of lute and zither. Another song about fate, the funk-driven "Why Should I Love You?," a track Ms. Bush wrote and recorded with Prince, contemplates the spiritual forces that conspire to bring two lovers together.

Ms. Amos is less concerned with what brings two lovers together than what happens to them when they connect. On the affecting "Little Earthquakes," the singer sang of her sexual awakening at the hands of men who were interested only in her body and who lorded their power over her as if it was sent straight from God. Elsewhere on "Earthquakes," Ms. Amos detailed her disillusionment with religion and the pain of forging an identity in a world that wants you to be something you're not. The songs melded Ms. Amos's melodies with studio touches like sampled keyboards and strings, expertly giving the singer's passionate songs their due.

On "Under the Pink" (Atlantic 82567; CD and cassette), Ms. Amos, 30, refines her cabaret-meets-classical style, almost completely forgetting the use of guitars and drums. Instead, she interprets her melodies mainly with her piano, which she plays to gorgeous effect.

The singer is in a less confrontational mode on "Pink." Indeed, the only song in which Ms. Amos actually confronts an oppressor head on is also the most studio-enhanced: on "God," the singer taunts the Creator for being sloppy and lazy, with sampled screeches giving the track a predatory quality. Yet, as on "Earthquakes," Ms. Amos continues to use her personal experience to challenge religious and sexual conventions. In "Icicle," she sings about masturbating in her room while her family is downstairs saying their prayers.

Unfortunately, the singer seems a bit strapped for provocative subject matter on "Pink." Many of the lyrics are frustratingly oblique, as if Ms. Amos is trying to hide the fact that she doesn't have much to say this time around. Because the impact of her music depends so much on her confessional approach, the third-person, observational stance of several of the songs on "Pink" renders them emotionally flat.

Perhaps now, having seemingly exorcised many of her personal demons, Ms. Amos will turn her gaze outward, translating what she sees and feels into a more universal vision. After all, it works for Kate Bush.


Peter Galvin is an associate editor of Interview magazine.

<Photos: KB from right side in ETM dress, head turned toward camera.

Credit: Anthony Crickmay/Columbia Records

TA from hips, fitted leather blouse, belt, hands joined below it.

Credit: Cindy Palmano/Atlantic Records


Date: Thu, 24 Feb 94 14:30:46 PST
From: larry@hal.com (Larry Hernandez)
Subject: Stereo Review review of TRS Febr. 1994 (?)

Parke Puterbaugh in Stereo Review magazine. This right honorable review is reproduced here without kind permission from this noteworthy person...


Kate Bush Stretches Out

Few artists have so successfully bent musical trends and technology toward them as has Kate Bush. A pioneer in the use of the Fairlight synthesizer, she artfully explored the potential of sampling as far back as 1982's "The Dreaming." Perhaps buoyed by the Utah Saints' prominent sample of a line from an old song of hers (Cloudbursting) [sic] in their recent U.K. rave hit Something Good [Parke, you can't be serious!], in her new album, "The Red Shoes," she breathlessly dives into dance-club beats, Celtic instrumentation, bluesy guitar-vocal dialogues, grunge guitar, Bulgarian chorales, sunny world-music tangents, art song, Princely funk, and incantatory trance music. [not to mention a film-grrrr...]

The album immediately goes for maximum liftoff with Rubberband Girl, which captures Bush at her most rhythmically blunt and artfully infectious. Over a solid, rave-worthy drum beat underpinned by synthesizer swashes and marimba, she playfully enongates her vocals in a wish for emotional resili-ence ("If I could twang like a rubberband/I'd be a rubberband girl"). Vocally, she's got more stretch in her than a slingshot, reaching for the top of her range with no loss of power on such numbers as the delirious title track and Top of the City, a plea to climb above and beyond the filth of city streets.

A handful of special guests contribute to several tracks. Eric clapton plays with exquisite feeling in And So Is Love, and the Trio Bulgarka and Prince join Bush for an ecstatic outpouring in Why Should I Love You? Bush herself rises to a crescendo of pure, uncensored feeling when she blurts out, "Just being alive/It can really hurt" in Moments of Pleasure and "I don't know if you love me or not" in Top of the City. In Lily she assumes the voice of an elderly sage, snapping "Child, take what I say with a pinch of salt/And protect yourself with fire."

Musically inventive, emotionally audacious, and entrancing in an all-too-rare way, "The Red Shoes" will set your feet dancing and your head spinning.


Date: Mon, 8 Aug 1994 19:06:14 -0700
From: ed@wente.llnl.gov (Ed Suranyi)
Subject: Review in People Magazine Jan. 1994

I missed this when it first came out, and I don't remember seeing any mention of it on this newsgroup. Please forgive me if I'm wrong. But an earlier issue of People Magazine (Jan. 24, I believe) had a review of _The Red Shoes.


Kate Bush

British-born Kate Bush, perhaps the queen of ethereal pop, has been spinning exotic rhythms and esoteric lyrics into space for 15 years. Which is great if you want a huge cult following. But what if you also want listeners closer to the mainstream? Simple. You make _The Red Shoes_.

This is the best and most conventional of all Bush's albums and even includes a couple of potential Top 40 singles: the happy-skippy dance number "Rubberband Girl" {well, it got into the 90s} and the Prince-like "Why Should I Love You?" {nope} (which features {Prince symbol}, the Human Hieroglyphic himself, on keyboards). There are still plenty of unique twists and turns to Bush's music, however, and on the title cut, a mandolin, some whistles and a tidal wave of vocal overdubs come close to aural theater.

The one constant that will both appease the Kate cult and entice new fans is Bush's voice. She coos. She sighs. She seduces. Her soft and sensual vocals have always cast a siren-like spell, and on this outing the magic feels to good to resist. (Columbia)

-- Craig Tomashoff


Kate Bush clicks Red Shoes Together
Tower Pulse
By Harold DeMuir
December 1993 edition

Though much of her reputation is still based on her initial incarnation as precocious '70s art-pop princess, Kate Bush didn't really come into her own until the early '80s, when she discovered synthesizer technology and began infusing her lyrical flights-of-fancy with recognizably adult emotional dynamics. Notwithstanding a few characteristic excursions into lyrical preciousness, The Red Shoes (Columbia) is one of Bush's most impressive efforts. Tracks like "Lily" and "The Song of Solomon" (on which she actually makes the couplet "Don't want your bullshit/Just want your sexuality"stick) display an emotional toughness that's a marked contrast to the flowery fragility of her "Wuthering Heights" days. Even on odes to romantic intoxication like the title track and "Top of the City," she sounds firmly in control. Her seamlessly eclectic musical settings are as evocative as ever, and her distinctive vocal trill has matured from gimmicky affectation into a uniquely expressive instrument.


Spin magazine
by Erik Davis
December 1993

A campy movie based on a Hans Christian Andersen story, The Red Shoes told the tale of a ballet dancer tragically torn between her lover and the demonic demands of her red shoes. Now, fairy-tale ballets may be the least rock 'n roll of artistic sources, but that's nothing new for Kate Bush, whose debut album gave shoutouts to Zeus, Gurdjieff, and Wuthering Heights. As she sings in the title track to her new album, Bush has always wanted to "dance the dream with your body on," to weave music from girlstuff, twisted fantasy, and ripe sensuality.

But The Red Shoes, coming four years after the solid Sensual World, which came four years after the solid Hounds of Love, is not so solid. Art rock's queen bee seems to have spent too much time buzzing around aging rock stars who are anxious about their relevance, and the album's special guests - Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Prince - all whiff of entrophy. Besides, the horn dudes blow; the guitar solos are lame or out of place; and there are Hammond organs and straight-ahead backbeats where there should be ambient-house Junos and more of Bush's dynamic use of silence and surge.

Though and enjoyable come-on to Jesus, the Prince-infected "Why Should I Love You?" declines into fusion-dreck. And "Eat the Music," a Malagasy-West Indies tune with all the quotation marks intact, shows that the world-beat virus continues to plague thirtysomething pop stars too smart for their own good. "Take a papaya/You like a guava?" Bush asks. No, my dear, from you I want crumpets and fuzzy peaches.

Don't get me wrong: Great songs lurk on The Red Shoes, from the dark propulsion of the title track to the sex of "The Song of Solomon" and the melancholy of "Top of the City." Bush still sings like a siren, an unleashed teen, a triumphant heroine, and she remains one of the few lyricists who can succeed with both surreal nonsense and elaborate conceits (Bush as rubberband, Bush as telescope, Bush as pigeon living on angel's shoulder). Her best songs open up the rooms in her mind, but here only "Big Stripey Lie" dredges up her chthonic spunk ("It's a jungle in here"), and only the aching "Moments of Pleasure" rings with the obscure intimacy of her great ballads. Perhaps the album's air of compromise and strained maturity is due to the authentic magic Bush performs in "Lily." After some old crone's witchy prayer and the eerie moan of Tibetan singing bowls, Bush invokes the four pivotal archangels of cermonial magic into her "circle of fire." I can't speak for the other three, but the spirit of Gabriel certainly appears

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