I love Kate Bush. Her music is nothing short of amazing and she has more than earned her iconic status. I posted about the stupendous The Dreaming back when I first started this blog so it’s about time that I post some more about her! :)
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Kate first came on the music scene in 1978 with The Kick Inside. Has there ever been a more incredible debut from an artist? This album is probably my second fave of Kate’s (The Dreaming being the first). It has a song for every mood, every feeling, every moment. Her lyrics are clever, witty, and poignant. And the music itself! The melodies, the instrumentation… flawless.
“Moving” starts the album off with the distinctive sound of whales “singing”, then moves into a flowing piano-based ballad. Delicate lyrics (“you crush the lily in my soul”) and expressive, at times delightfully over-the-top vocals from Kate tell a tale of unrequited love. More whales sing as “The Saxophone Song” begins. I think this is one of her more underrated songs. It’s probably the most mainstream-sounding track on the whole album but the intelligent, melodic lyrics set it apart. Love that “you’ll never know the poetry you stirred in me” line. It ends with a trippy synth and sax solo – a magical little tune!
“Strange Phenomena” comes up next – and yes, that’s the one where Kate mentions menstruation (“every girl knows about the punctual blues”). The song is about, well, strange phenomena – like when you think about someone out of nowhere and then later that day they phone you, or as Kate describes, when “you pick up a paper, you read a name, you go out – it turns up again and again.” My favorite part of the song is the “om mani padme hum” hook. Up next is the bouncy “Kite,” apparently about drug use! I read somewhere (ooh, I found it!) that Kate wrote this song in an attempt to sound like Bob Marley. I guess it sounds kind of like him, but really, it’s just very “Kate Bush” (with a hint of reggae).
One of the most beautiful ballads ever recorded was written when Kate was only 16. “The Man With The Child In His Eyes” is an orchestral piece of magic, featuring an understated vocal from Kate and lyrics that reveal a maturity beyond Kate’s years. Just lovely. And then we go from understated to one of Kate’s most over-the-top moments! “Wuthering Heights” is an epic of sorts, about the classic novel by Emily Brontë (though the lyrics are specifically about the 1970 film version). That intro, with the piano and chimes, is one of the great song introductions – and what follows is one great song! You either love this or hate it. It’s theatrical and dramatic and Kate’s piercing vocals will forever be lodged in you brain after hearing this – to me, that’s a good thing. Your mileage may vary!
“James And The Cold Gun” is probably my least favorite track on the album, but I still like it a lot. It’s another piano-based track, like “Moving,” but this leans closer to conventional pop/rock (and doesn’t reach the majestic heights of that track). “Feel It” is next and is possibly about a one-night-stand. Oh that naughty Kate Bush! It’s just Kate and a piano, making for a very intimate track. One of the most expressive, lovely lyrics of the song is Kate singing quietly, tenderly, “see what you’re doing to me.” Beautiful.
The tempo picks up with the fun “Oh To Be In Love” (“and never get out again”), which has a neat synth trumpet solo in the middle. Just try to keep from singing along with the chorus – it isn’t possible! Next is “L’Amour Looks Something Like You,” which is very pretty and reminds me a bit of “Feel It” (but isn’t quite as good). Very theatrical.
Now we come to my favorite track on the album, “Them Heavy People.” Bouncy bass and brilliantly expressed lyrics about knowledge (something Kate would come back to in The Dreaming‘s “Sat In Your Lap”) make this one something special. Check out this performance that brings together two of my great loves – Kate Bush and Peter Cook! Plus, the dancing teens are pretty lol-worthy.
“Room For The Life” is a neat little song with a fun Latin-inspired jam towards the end. “Like it or not, we keep bouncing back, ‘cos we’re woman” Kate declares! We come to the end of this wonderful album now with “The Kick Inside.” It’s not the most uplifting track – it’s about a girl who commits suicide because she’s pregnant with her brother’s baby (it sounds like an episode of Jerry Springer!). But musically, it’s elegant and Kate’s always unique vocals are supported by piano and strings. It’s somehow the perfect ending to the album – beautiful musically, kinda weird lyrically.
Love, love, love this album. Take a listen!!