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Kate Bush

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Kate Bush and Donald Sutherland from 'Cloudbusting' videoI remember seeing Kate Bush perform ‘Wuthering Heights’ on Top of the Pops. Both the song and the singer struck me as being a bit weird at the time. Over the next decade or so I got used to her voice, her songs and her various appearances on TV etc. I neither liked nor disliked her. She was sound in the background – the breeze in the trees. She was silent and invisible for a number of years and I never even noticed.
Then I got a copy of Aerial and the knowing dawned that she was an incredible, unique and mighty talent.
A couple of the tracks on Aerial are a bit cringy, like Bertie – the reason for her period of silence and invisibility – but I can forgive her anything. There’s the mini-opera of domestic erotic fantasy, Mrs Bartolozzi, via songs featuring Rolf Harris or birdsong, to the trancey, panoramic epic, Nocturn, to name but a few reasons. Once, I listened to ‘A Coral Room’ for over half an hour before it occurred to me that my player was on song repeat. Aerial’s a kind of diptych. It’s on 2 discs, the songs on the second one being thematically and temporaneously linked. Yes. OK, it’s a concept album.
Kate BushAnyway, it would be fair to say that I became a wee bit obsessed with Kate Bush for a while and discovered a whole, beautiful body of work. It’s difficult to hear another rising female artist, like Florence and the Machine, and not shrug my shoulders and say: ‘Kate Bush has already done all that – and better.’ I’ve no hesitation in having her share a pedestal with Joni Mitchell as the greatest female musical artists ever.
One thing about her career is that much of it is tinged with a garish 80’s aesthetic; from the shoulder pads and make-up to the production on her songs – but I can forgive her for that as well.

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Categories: music