Monday, July 17, 2017

Musical Retrospective: Kate Bush Part 3

After twelve years Kate Bush emerged in 2005 with a new album called Aerial.  Similar to Hounds of Love the album is split into two parts.  The first part is a collection of 7 standalone songs.  The second part is one 42 minute piece of music. 

The big change from everything she did earlier to her later work is the pace and energy.  Aerial is much quieter in both lyric and music.    It reflects a mother of 47 and in many ways is the most quintessential Kate Bush album one can imagine. 

With a song like "King of the Mountain" we see that Kate Bush still has the ability to write a very catchy pop song.  But with the 42 minute piece "An Endless Sky of Honey" we get to what I think is the truer Kate Bush.  Kate Bush the stream of conscious writer. 

My only complaint about Aerial is that it feels like an album that was recorded in a box.  It sounds muffled in some way.  I've never understood what it is about the production that makes it feel this way to me but there you are. 

Six years later would bring us two new Kate Bush albums. Director's Cut which is a collection of songs taken from The Sensual World and The Red Shoes and reimagined. This is an album that is made for the hard core Kate Bush fans.

In the same year Kate Bush released 50 Words for Snow. A seven song album that continues with her more muted sound and reflective lyrics.

OK with her 10th studio album we finally get to the big question about Kate Bush what exactly is she. Is she a poet, is she a dancer, is she a performance artist, is she purely an artist. In fact what are all musicians. In my life I don't know that anyone has challenged the idea of what it means to be a pop icon and a musical artist more than Kate Bush. I think what is interesting about 50 Words for Snow is that we really get nothing but the raw artist.  This is an album that is not for Kate Bush fans, it's not trying to get that one hit song, it's an album that seems to be purely made for the artist and because of that it can reach beyond music to other forms or art. The fact that the video I have embedded, is a video she made for this album, shows you the depths that she goes with the art around her music.

I think too often we dismiss musicians as artists and that is mistake on our part.  This is not to say I love this album, as you know if you read the HP, I'm a fan of pop music, but it does make me question the idea of what someone like Kate Bush ultimately is and I think I would define her as an artist. 

In 2014 Kate Bush performed 22 live shows using music from Hounds of Love, Aerial, The Red Shoes, and 50 Words for Snow.  It was her first live tour performances since 1979.  In 2016 she released a live album Before The Dawn

Next year Kate Bush turns 60. I wonder if we will ever again hear from her, I certainly hope we will and look forward to hear where she takes us.

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