Country of origin:
Type of music:
One of the Ectophiles' goddesses.
Ethereal experimental, evocative/eclectic pop. Sometimes one of the beautiful and fierce
Most recent release, Before the Dawn (live 3-CD set, 2016)
Kate Bush's site
Wikipedia's page for Kate Bush
Kate Bush News
There are a wealth of web pages dedicated to Kate. A good place to start looking is Gaffaweb
None—she is the one everyone is compared to. (Neile)
Happy Rhodes (vocals). (email@example.com)
Primarily own material, occasional traditional songs and covers
From the beauty and power of "Reaching Out" to the awesome magnificence of "Breathing" to the simple vulnerability of "In Search of Peter Pan" to the terrible anger of "Get Out of My House" to the sly comedy of "Coffee Homeground" to the passionate sexuality of "Feel It" to the passionate sensuality of "The Sensual World" to the cinematic brilliance of "Night of the Swallow" to the spooky terror of "Hammer Horror" to the confusion and yearning of "Running Up That Hill" to the powerful strength of "Not This Time" to the pure love of homeland in "Oh England My Lionheart" to the tension of "Pull Out the Pin" to the comical frustration of "Ran-Tan Waltz" to the unaffected cheerfulness of "The Big Sky" to the searching chaos of "Sat In Your Lap" to the carefree silliness of "Kite" to the intrigue and larceny of "There Goes A Tenner" to the genuine gift of "Under the Ivy" to frightful horror of "Waking the Witch" to the lazy vacation of "Warm and Soothing" to the ghostly pining of "Wuthering Heights" to the exotic eccentricity of "Egypt" to vengeful violence of "The Wedding List" to the sardonic sanctuary of "Leave It Open" to the reluctant curiosity of "Rocket's Tail" to the worldly seduction of "In the Warm Room" to the graceful elegance of "Delius" to cool deception of "Babooshka" to the puzzling labyrinth of "Suspended In Gaffa" to serene trust of "The Fog" to precarious honesty of "Love and Anger" to the extraordinary and alien "The Dreaming" and on and on and on and on. All these songs and more came from the Kate *I* know and love.
The pensive Kate. The private Kate. The bizarre Kate. The insecure Kate. The bold Kate. The flashy Kate. The sexy Kate. The motherly Kate. The loyal Kate. The loving Kate. The sad Kate. The happy Kate. The serious Kate. The lazy Kate. The hardworking Kate. The smart Kate. The brilliant Kate. The human Kate. The how-did- she-*do*-that Kate. The peaceful Kate. The overwhelmed Kate. The creative Kate. The morbid Kate. The fibbing Kate. The Cathy Kate. The public Kate. The Kate nobody knows. The Kate everybody knows. Kate the artist. Kate the musician. Kate the lyricist. Kate the poet. Kate the experimenter. Kate the storyteller. Kate the trouper. Kate the survivor. The innocent Kate. The cynical Kate. The beautiful Kate. The bad-hair-day Kate. The Kate who introduced a song of hers by saying "yeah, here it is" and the Kate who presented her songs as a 3-act "play" and the Kate who thinks we're all mad and the Kate who repeats herself endlessly and the Kate who would really rather not say anything at all about her songs and the Kate who loves her family and friends and Del and unusual musical instruments and her garden and her cats and her privacy. Lots and lots of Kates.
So many Kates. So little time....
Kate has always seemed an emotional singer to me. She has a load of songs that just leave me in a puddle on the floor, including almost the entire The Sensual World album, which so many Kate fans seem to despise (that completely baffles me). It's not my favorite Kate album (The Dreaming, another album stuffed and dripping with emotion, is) but it's the one I listen to most often. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Even though I have bunches of her albums, I don't particularly like KaTe Bush! She kind of reminds me of Annie Lennox, which is not a bad thing, but I'd rather hear both of them on random play than listen to a whole album at one sitting. (Riphug@aol.com)
I fell in love with Kate Bush when I saw her on Saturday Night Live way back. Hounds of Love is her pinnacle, in my view. It is an unbelievable emotional rollercoaster ride. It is a stunningly great album. (email@example.com)
Most people love her earlier work but are disappointed by the later albums. Some people believe she's stopped developing as an artist, but I don't think so—I think that instead of leaping forward are she did in the early albums she's growing deeper, sinking roots farther down into "her" territory.
While I can intellectually see the flaws that others see in The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, particularly, I still find them deep albums, and for me in some ways they are richer even than The Dreaming and "The Ninth Wave" sequence from Hounds of Love. "The Sensual World" itself is probably my favourite Kate song. "The Red Shoes" is one of her most powerful songs. The core of The Red Shoes album is amazing to me. I seriously dislike several songs on the album, but those central songs to me are among her best, most complex-&-simple-at-the-same-time songs. I feel her work is getting richer and more subtle, and she's doing work now she could never have done in her teens or twenties. Unfortunately, the best of her new work is surrounded by some lesser efforts, in my opinion. The earlier albums were just knockout amazing and they tend to overshadow what follows. (Neile)
The Dreaming may be my favourite album of all time. (I'll admit that Hounds of Love is as good or better, but The Dreaming hit me so hard when I first heard it that Hounds of Love couldn't have the same impact following it. If I had heard it first, it very well might have.) The Sensual World seemed like such a letdown after such heights that I didn't think all that much of it at the time. Years later, I found that it is full of brilliant songs. True to Kate's style of songwriting, and just as interesting a step in other directions for the music. (The mediocre production did nothing to help sell this album though.)
I think The Dreaming and Hounds of Love are in your face brilliant, while The Sensual World is much subtler, and yes, more mature. But in many ways it was equally as experimental. The use of the Trio Bulgarka is haunting and was a typically bold move. So maybe it just took me a while to reach the point where Kate was already.
The Red Shoes—well, it didn't do much for me. And to be honest, after a handful of listens, I put it away and haven't listened to it since. It's something I've been meaning to return to after time and expectations have been put behind me. I remember flashes from it, though I thought it was also done a disservice by The Line, The Cross and The Curve. (neal)
I, for one, have not given up on Kate Bush. Sure I was disappointed in The Red Shoes and The Sensual World wasn't as good as Hounds of Love, but I just don't expect her to ever surpass my favorite album of all time. There could still be a masterpiece left inside Kate and I can't imagine her putting out an album
with nothing of interest to me. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I love Kate Bush's music, really I do. And looked at on their own and taken on their own terms, both The Red Shoes and The Sensual World are excellent albums. But to me, they'll always disappear in the shadow of The Dreaming and Hounds of Love. Kate proved she is capable of brilliance...a brilliance that, to me at least, was barely visible on her last two albums. So we're going on 15 years since Kate's peak.
I totally respect those who still cherish Kate Bush. I just honestly say Kate has disappointed me, and as more and more time passes, the less an interest I have in what she's doing musically. There was a time when Kate's music was my favorite. And with the fear of igniting flames in the Kate vs. Happy Rhodes debate, I must say the discovery of Happy's music has had at least an indirect effect on my disenchantment with Kate's music. I'd be more than happy to have my mind changed back again.... ;-) All apologies to Kate loyalists whose feet I've tramped.
If you haven't ever heard any of her music, I'd definitely recommend you check it out. If you like Happy Rhodes, it's almost guaranteed you'll like Kate, and not only because their voices (in the higher register) are nearly identical. Only Kate's a bit more reclusive and a lot less prolific than Happy.
The Whole Story is the album to start with. If you love it (and you probably will), my advice is to then go ahead and splurge on the box set (if you can afford it without your voucher). I was exposed to Kate through The Whole Story and shortly thereafter bought her entire catalogue individually, unaware that there was a box set with two bonus discs available that I should've gotten instead. And those bonus tracks are definitely worth having.
If you don't want to gamble on the entire box, just listen to The Whole Story, decide which tracks you like most, and go get the albums they originally came from, because almost every Kate album has a definitive "flavor" that sets it apart from the others, and this flavor is obvious in the singles on The Whole Story. The one exception, I think, is her album The Dreaming, which I think is inadequately represented on The Whole Story. ("Sat in Your Lap" and the title track are excellent, don't get me wrong...but the entire album is amazing as a whole.) (Patrick)
I have all the regular albums, mostly on vinyl, but find myself listening a lot less to her than 10 years ago, although I don't like her any less. But, so many musicians have developed their entire careers and changed the musical landscape in between rare occasional Kate Bush albums that she's taken a backseat. How many 'new' PJH albums have I bought since I bought the last 'new' Kate Bush album...today, I have to consciously decide 'lets grab one of those Kate albums again'. All time favorite—The Dreaming. Used to be my ruling goddess in the '80s but got dethroned by Liz Fraser (Cocteau Twins) later on... (email@example.com)
i've always considered the first three albums very much of a piece; they each have their moments, they show a lot of promise, but the promise isn't really fulfilled until the dreaming comes along. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Vocally similar to Tori Amos—many people compared Tori to Kate when Tori first came out—Kate is a true musical goddess—her first album, The Kick Inside, came out in 1978, but is very similar to Tori's Little Earthquakes (she even appears inside a box on the U.S. cover).
As she progresses, she becomes more eclectic—using more synthesizer, etc. Still definitely worth checking out. (email@example.com)
I would nominate Kate Bush as one of the best voices, for having a perfect instrument, a refined talent, and *still* singing like Bowie does. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Recommended first album:
The Whole Story works as a great introduction to her music. (Patrick)
Never For Ever. (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Dreaming is the most powerful for me. (Neile)
Hounds of Love. (email@example.com)
actually, i would recommend either getting The Whole Story compilation, or if you possibly can, *borrow* a few of the cds, or listen to
them at the store, or whatever. that's what i did—a friend of mine had
the dreaming and one other, i think; after hearing them i went back to the sensual world, which i'd heard once before and not liked, and found myself absolutely loving it; and after that i ran out and bought the box set! one of my most rash decisions to date at that time, but i certainly never regretted it. (damon)
The Whole Story might be the best introduction to the bulk of her work. All of her first five albums are represented there. That was my introduction to her all those years ago, and it was a good one for me. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1978—EMI (U.K.)—EMC 3223, CDP 7 46012 2
Must have. (email@example.com, Neile, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com)
Kate Bush—vocals, backing vocals, piano
Stuart Elliot—drums, percussion
David Paton—bass, acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Ian Bairnson—guitars, backing vocals, beer bottles
Duncan Mackay—electric piano, organ/Calvinet
Barry de Souza—drums
Paul Keough—guitar, electric guitar
Andrew Powell—keyboards, bass, celeste, synthesizer, beer bottles
Morris Pert—percussion, boo barns
Paddy Bush—mandolin, backing vocals
Kate Bush's first album. While her voice sounds somewhat thin and girly, and her song writing talents are not as well developed as on some of her later albums, this is made up for by the freshness and originality of the music. This album, including songs that KB wrote when she was twelve years old, clearly demonstrated her genius and established a permanent place for her at the top of the British music scene. Avoid the US release of this album because it has a much duller cover than the UK version. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Sweet and fun ground-breaking music. (Neile)
Lots of great pop songs with a bit more to it. The best album for showing off Kate's high range. (email@example.com)
As they say, KaTe shrieked her way to the top of the charts with this record. And the top of the charts is where this album belongs: it's chock-full of catchy, hook-laden pop songs and slick, sweet ballads. A great album, but nothing like what she would eventually create. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1978—EMI (U.K.)—CDP 7 46065 2
Good. (email@example.com, Neile, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kate Bush—vocals, backing vocals, piano
Stuart Elliott—drums, percussion
Ian Bairnson—acoustic and electric guitars
Duncan Mackay—fender rhodes, synthesizer
Paddy Bush—backing vocals, mandolins, slide guitar, strumento da porco, mandocello, panpipes
Francis Monkman—hammond, harpsichord
Andrew Powell—joanna stumentum, harmonium
Released as a follow up to The Kick Inside, this album consists of tracks that were recorded at the same time as, but not included in the first album. The sound is very similar, but the songs are not as inspired. (email@example.com)
Disappointing when compared to other Kate albums. Music and lyrics seem less inspired and individual than The Kick Inside. (Neile)
Much like The Kick Inside, but somehow more fragmented. Still many great songs, though. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
lionheart is a bit like The Kick Inside, but i feel The Kick Inside is a little better. still worth getting if you like The Kick Inside. (email@example.com)
Leftovers from The Kick Inside, with the exception of three exceptional new tracks that are well-worth the price of admission. Those songs hint at future weirdness, but don't vary too much from the pattern of the first record. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
i had no idea that lionheart had been done hastily, and i love a couple of the songs on it. (email@example.com)
Lionheart is purported to have been done in a hurry to capitalize on the success of The Kick Inside, but it's worth listening to. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1980—EMI (U.K.)—EMA 794, 7 46360 2
Must have (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Neile, email@example.com)
Kate Bush—vocals, Yamaha CS80
Stuart Elliot—drums, bodhran
John Giblin—electric bass
Max Middleton—Fender Rhodes, mini moog, string arrangement
Paddy Bush—Balalaika, backing vocals, "Delius", sitar, Koto, Strumento de Porco. harmonica, musical saw, banshee, mandolin
Gary Hurst—backing vocals
Alan Murphy—electric guitar, acoustic guitar, bass acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Ian Bairnson—backing vocals
Preston Heyman—percussion, drums, backing vocals
Del Palmer—fretless bass, electric bass, bass
Brian Bath—acoustic guitar, electric guitar, backing vocals
The Martin For Orchestra—strings
Morris Pert—timpani, percussion
Andrew Bryant—backing vocals
Mike Moran—Prophet 5
Adam Sceaping—viol, string arrangement
Jo Sceaping—lironi, string arrangement
Roy Harper—backing vocals
Kate Bush and Jon Kelly
The last and most accomplished album from the first part of Kate Bush's career: though a fairlight is credited, the music on this album is still mostly piano and acoustic instrument based, while those that came after it were much more electronic/technology orientated. KB's voice is more powerful, and her song writing more developed than on the first two albums. This includes perhaps the two most moving and beautiful songs she ever wrote: "Army Dreamers," a lament on the wasted possibilities for the life a young dead soldier, and "Breathing," a horrific view of a nuclear holocaust through the eyes of an unborn child. It's worth picking up the LP version of this album for the sake of the very weird cover art. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kate at her best. Great music, good lyrics. A classic. (Neile)
On this album Kate seriously starts to depart from the mainstream, using more effects and tricks. Still using her high voice for some amazing feats (e.g. "Violin"). (email@example.com)
The album that bridges the gap between KaTe's pop past and weird future. By far, my favorite since it meshes the two strands of her creativity such that each is visible, important and complimentary. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1982—EMI—7 46361 2
Must have (email@example.com, Neile, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kate Bush—vocals, piano, Fairlight, CS80, strings
Preston Heyman—drums, sticks
Paddy Bush—sticks, backing vocals,strings, mandolins, bullroarer
Ian Bairnson—backing vocals, acoustic guitar
Gary Hurst—backing vocals
Stewart Arnold—backing vocals
Geoff Downess-CMI trumpet section
Stuart Elliott—drums, sticks, percussion
Del Palmer—bass, fretlass bass, 8 string bass. "Rosabel Believe"
Dave Lawson—synclavier, string arrangement
Danny Thompson—string bass
Brian Bath—electric guitar
Dave Gilmour—backing vocals
Alan Murphy—electric guitar
Bill Whelan—pipes & strings arrangement
Liam O'Flynn—Uillean pipes, penny whistle
Andrew Powell—string arrangement
Ismail Sheikh—drum talk
Kate Bush's most ambitious and musically complex album to date. Unfortunately the over-complexity over the music together with the poor mastering gives this album a mushy and oppressive sound and largely spoils the music on it. The first, and perhaps the most tragic victim of digital mastering in pop music. (email@example.com)
My favourite Kate album with some of my favourite Kate songs: "Sat in Your Lap" and "The Dreaming". Kate really seems to stretch the limits of pop music on this one, and shows an amazing level of songwriting talent and musical power. A classic. (Neile)
Probably the most "experimental" album, with lots of interesting tracks. The album suffers somewhat from a lack of coherence. Still, songs such as "Night of the Swallow" makes up for any lacks. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While I like Never For Ever more, I recognize that this is KaTe's masterpiece. An emotionally intense recording that pushes the boundaries. Commercially unviable for a reason. (email@example.com)
1985—EMI—KAB1, EG24 0384 1, CDP 7 461642
Must have. (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Neile, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kate Bush—voices, Fairlight, piano
Del Palmer—bass, handclapping, backing vocals, Fairlight bass
Paddy Bush—balaika, dijeridu, backing vocals, harmonic vocals, violins, fujare
Charlie Morgan—drums, handclapping
The Medicci Sextet—string
Dave Lawson—string arrangement
Brian Bath—backing vocals, guitar
John Carder Bush—backing vocals, narration
Donal Lunny—bouzouki, bodhran
John Sheahan—whistles, fiddles
Kevin McAlea—Synthesizer sequences
Danny Thompson—double bass
Liam O'Flynn—uillean pipes
The Richard Hickox Singers—choir
Michael Berkeley—choir vocal arrangement
This is best considered as two separate albums. The first side (The Hounds Of Love) is a collection of well-crafted and inventive pop songs, while the second (The Ninth Wave) is a series of songs telling the story of a girl who has been cast into the sea, floating and waiting to be rescued, and following her thoughts as she drifts into and out of consciousness. The Ninth Wave is perhaps KB's most engrossing piece of work, and demonstrates the perfect use of an album-side as a music form. (email@example.com)
This is one of the first three things I bought for our new cd player in 1985, even though we had a vinyl copy. An amazing combination of pop sensibility and experimentation. (Neile)
I found "Running up That Hill" and "Hounds Of Love" a bit too poppish, but the rest of the A side makes up for it. The other side, The Ninth Wave is just absolutely wonderful.... (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hounds of Love is an excellent collection of songs that deal with love in its myriad forms. The Ninth Wave remains KaTe's most ambitious effort to date. An essential recording. (email@example.com)
Hounds of Love still remains my ultimate musical experience. Also, "The Big Sky" is my favorite of all of Kate's singles. I simply adore that song and its accompanying silly video! In fact, I love the song "The Red Shoes" so much because it reminds me of "The Big Sky!" (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Must have for completists or the folk who only want one Kate cd. (Neile)
Generally a good compilation covering material from The Kick Inside through The Hounds of Love. Has new vocal for "Wuthering Heights" and includes "Experiment IV" which is not included on other albums (Neile)
This album is mostly for completists. On the other hand, get this album on LP, just for the cover photo! (email@example.com)
1989—EMI (UK), Columbia (USA)—CDP 7930782, CDEMD 1010, CK 44164
Must have. (firstname.lastname@example.org, Neile)
Medium to high. (email@example.com)
Kate Bush—vocals, backing vocals, piano, keyboards
Del Palmer—bass, percussion, rhythm guitar
Davey Spillane—Uillean pipes, whistles
Paddy Bush—whips, valiha, backing vocals, mandolin, tupan
Nigel Kennedy—solo violin, viola
Alan Stivell—Celtic harp, backing vocals
Michael Kamen—orchestral arrangement
Michael Nyman—string arrangement
Belavescu String Quartet—strings
The Trio Bulgarka—vocals
Yanka Rupkhina—solo vocals
More uneven than some other Kate albums, and while some Kate fans found it a disappointment, I like this a lot—and if only because of the brilliance of the music and lyrics of "The Sensual World" and the music of "Rocket's Tail." I would call it a classic, even though there are some songs like "Deeper Understanding" I could live without easily. (Neile)
A collection pop songs similar to the first half of The Hounds Of Love, but with a more "World"-ish flavor. The music is, for the most part, uninspiring and some of the lyrics are downright embarrassing. There are still some very good songs and, were this by some other artist, it might deserve a rating of "good", but for Kate Bush is capable of much much better. This album was made all the more disappointing by the ridiculous amount of time she took making it. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This album is quieter than the previous ones, with more emphasis on the lyrics and some very intensive singing. It is not as immediately impressive as The Kick Inside or Hounds of Love, but perhaps the best album of them all, in the long run. (email@example.com)
the sensual world is a bit more ethereal (firstname.lastname@example.org)
While not instantly stunning like most of KaTe's previous work, this album subtly won me over. KaTe's inventiveness is still there, just subdued in the more traditional pop trappings of most of the songs. There are a couple songs that I have not warmed to, but the majority of them are very good. (email@example.com)
A desert island disc for me. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I must express pity for anyone who thinks this album is lacking in any possible way.
When The Sensual World first came out, I really dug "Deeper Understanding", then I lost a lot of interest in it. Just the other day, though, it occurred to me how utterly spectacular it is. A lot of it is simply in KaTe's mind-boggling delivery, but also things like the timing of it...given things like today's
commentaries on internet addiction, it's amazing to think that KaTe was contemplating this a full decade ago, before the 'net was a pop-culture phenomenon. (email@example.com)
While it may not be her finest work, it's the Kate album I return to
most, since it has my favorite of her songs, "Deeper Understanding"
(track 6). (firstname.lastname@example.org)
1990—EMI—E2 0777 7 95238 2 and E2 0777 7 95239 2
Only available with the This Woman's Work boxed set released in the U.K., Canada, and Japan
Volume I quite high, volume II for collectors.
NOTE: This refers to the two discs that are part of the This Woman's Work box set, which includes all of the albums from The Kick Inside to The Sensual World as well as these two discs of b-sides and remixes.
These two discs are collections of b-sides and remixes from the The Kick Inside to The Sensual World. Volume I is the best, and has some wonderful songs, like "Under The Ivy", "My Lagan Love", "The Handsome Cabin Boy" that were before this only available on hard-to-find singles. Volume II is mostly remixes. There are two more volumes only available as promos with post-The Sensual World b-sides and remixes.
I recommend seeking out the box set. It's got all the CDs except The Red Shoes, plus two discs of B-sides and oddities. It's available in multiple versions, the most expensive being the Japanese and the cheapest being the Canadian. I got mine when the Canadian box came out and it was really cheap. (Good thing, since all I needed were the 2 bonus discs, but my friends who received all the extra Kate discs were quite happy.) (neal)
the extra two TWW discs, which are *well* worth
it... some of my favourite tracks are on those. (damon)
1991—Mercury (U.K.)—TRICD 2
Great cover of Elton John and Bernie Taupin's "Rocket Man", with a not so interesting cover (and instrumental) of "Candle in the Wind". If only the instrumental had been of "Rocket Man"...Sigh! (email@example.com)
The single appears on The Two Rooms tribute to Elton John and Bernie Taupin.
1993—Columbia/Sony (U.S.)— CK 53737
Kate Bush—vocals, backing vocals, piano, keyboards, fender rhodes, guitar, bass
Stuart Elliott—drums, percussion
Gaumont D'Olivera—bass, drums, percussion, FX
Paddy Bush—mandola, whistles, musical bow, vocals, valiha, fujare, singing bowls
Justin Vali—valiha, kabossy, vocals
Nigel Hitchcock—tenor and baritone saxophone
Steve Sidwell—trumpet and flugel horn
Nigel Kennedy—violin, viola
Prince—keyboards, guitar, bass, vocals
The Trio Bulgarka—vocals
At this point, The Red Shoes is my least favorite of all Kate's albums. That's not to say I don't *love* it though, because I do. It's just that it contains more songs I'm not crazy about than any other Kate album. However, the songs I love more than make up for the songs I would prefer to skip over, and I'll likely get used to the songs that I'm not crazy about. Kate's still my all-time favorite artist, and any year that brings a new Kate Bush album is a wonderful year indeed. Besides, the song "The Red Shoes" has become one of my very favorite Kate songs and is my favorite *song* of the year. The wonderful song "Moments of Pleasure" is beautiful, simple, and moving. "Moments of Pleasure" will take its place alongside "This Woman's Work" and "Reaching Out" in my heart. This song is from one of the many, *many* Kates I know and love. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I never thought a Kate album could place so low. I do love the album, but it just hasn't touched me emotionally. I love it because it's Kate, and it's great to hear her from her again, but the actual material just doesn't move me nearly as much as I expected it would. (email@example.com)
I loved this album on first listen, probably because I was in the right mood for it. Then there came a period when I liked some of the songs and wasn't too impressed by the others. I've played it a lot again recently, and I think it's beginning to grow on me as a whole. My favourite song is still "Lily". (firstname.lastname@example.org)
My favourite Kate album. Remember I didn't like The Dreaming until 1990, so I don't share the dedication to old-KaTe that most KaTe fans have. This album has everything from absolutely brilliant songs ('Big Stripey Lie', 'Song of Solomon' and 'The Red Shoes') to pop gems ('Rubberband Girl', 'Why should I love you?') to songs that grow on you ('Eat the Music' works if you hit the FF button at the 3 minute mark :)). (email@example.com)
i wasn't all too taken with the red shoes. it is okay and for me (being a bit of a KaTe freak) i had to get it but others might say it is worth skipping...i rarely listen to it. and in truth, i would not have put the red shoes on the list of 90 of the best '90s albums. i thought it was subpar and a bit bland in truth. sorry. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ah, Kate (swoon). I must admit that it wasn't what I expected, but if it were, that would have been boring. Much of Kate's attraction for me is her willingness to step out of the mainstream and experiment. I also love that she can make me cry...that's always the sign of a great song for me. (email@example.com)
I *really* like approximately half of The Red Shoes. There are a couple of other songs that are ok, but pale in front of the really good ones, and a couple of other songs that really do not do anything positive for me. (MIHARKI@indsvax1.indstate.edu)
A nice, varied, entertaining Kate Bush album. Title track is a killer. I like to see Kate expanding her musical style, even if it is into Top 40 pop! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Some of us *love* The Red Shoes. It *is* a good album, and I might have to rank it higher than Lionheart. (email@example.com)
As a pop album, this blows the socks off all but 6 records to come out this year. As a Kate Bush album it really rather sucks, but that's all relative. "Lily", "The Red Shoes", and "Big Stripey Lie" save it for me, and I really do hope it breaks Kate for real in the States—the law of averages states that some of the people who are introduced to her through this album will go on to discover her other material and be hooked for life. I do remember that some of you love this album, but that doesn't mean I understand why. :) I have to rank Lionheart above it because when I listen to Lionheart I don't skip over anything. When I listen to The Red Shoes (which isn't often, but then again I don't listen to KaTe much at all these days) I skip over half of the tracks on it. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As everyone points out. Mediocre for her, miles above the masses. (email@example.com)
Yes, there are some disappointing tracks here, but there are also some wonderful ones...I find I simply pay less attention during those songs which I like less and they make fine background music :) The only song I really dislike is "Why Should I Love You". (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It's not her worst (Lionheart gets that honor), but it's definitely one of her weaker efforts. Nevertheless, it's a new Kate album, and that's reason enough to put it in the year's top ten. Besides, "Top of the City," "Lily," and "The Red Shoes" are becoming favorite Katesongs. (email@example.com)
Deeply personal music that's sometimes almost painful in its intensity of feeling. Not an easy album to live with, but rewarding for those with a taste for emotional honesty. Gary Brooker's organ on the outro to "You're the One" provides a chilling conclusion to what may be KaTe's last album for a long time (even by her recent standards). (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lots has been said about this album, so I won't say much. Some of the tracks still don't work for me ("Eat The Music", "Constellation of the Heart", "Top of the City"), but some work extraordinarily well; Kate's emoting on "Song of Solomon" (esp. in the "I'll do it for you" section) gets me every time. Certainly not a groundbreaking album like The Dreaming, but generally much better than most of the pablum on the charts. (dixon@physics.Berkeley.EDU)
Breaking another of this list's long silences, Kate's new album is probably her most accessible, most varied and most commercial, but it is also irrepressibly, unmistakably, brilliantly Kate. (email@example.com)
My friend Cheryl introduced me to Kate with "Sat In Your Lap." Liked it, but let it go. Then came Hounds Of Love, and I was hooked. I agree with the PR folks who said this is Kate's most accessible album. But I don't think she's selling out. She's still experimenting, doing what she feels. I love her most, I think, because she's vocally descriptive. What's it feel like to be a "Rubberband Girl"? Well I guess "rub-a-dub-a-dub-a paints part of the picture! What about losing a lover? When she lets loose with the banshee cry of "Just forGET IT ALRIGHT" in "You're The One I Want" I feel her loss right down to my toes. I guess "Life is sad, and so is love." But, "whatever happens, what really matters? It's all we've got, isn't that enough?" And "The Red Shoes" (the song) keeps me dancing to a rather tragic tale. It's probably easier (and briefer) to mention what I DON'T like. "Why Should I Love You" starts promisingly, but deteriorates quickly into a simplistic funk groove. Maybe I'm just disappointed because it's not what *I* would have done. Ah well, she can do whatever she wants, because even on Ecto, she is. SHE REALLY IS!!!! (I_SW@zis.ziff.com)
Having been a Kate fan from years back, I was shocked that I took so long to pick this one up until now. I guess less-than-favorable reviews kept me away. My liking of Kate waned for awhile. Well, opportunity presented itself, and the purchase was made. It's not as bad as everyone was letting on. Sure, it's not as great as The Dreaming or Hounds of Love, but it's worth listening to. (Matt.Bittner)
While as an album The Red Shoes is a little disappointing, I think the title track is one of Kate's best songs—it's a knockout. There are a few songs on this disc that I don't like that much, there are songs I adore in the centre of this album that I think stand up to Kate's best music and which I love to hear any time: "The Song of Solomon", "Lily", "The Red Shoes", and "Top of the City". I love the emotional progression in them. And "Big Stripey Lie" is kinda fun. (Neile)
wellll...my original thought was that the red shoes didn't compare to her other work, but since then i've listened to it in different moods and situations, and found that there's really a lot to like in there. i'd still rank it as one of my least favourites, but it's something i pull out every so often! (damon)
The Red Shoes is a *good* album, and, actually contains some of Kate's best work. If you can find The Line, The Cross, The Curve, which is the
mini-movie Kate did based on that album, you'll gain an even greater appreciation for the sheer amount of work she did for The Red Shoes release. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
2005—Columbia—82796 97772 2
Kate Bush—vocals, piano, keyboards
Peter Erskine, Stuart Eliott, Steve Sanger—drums
Eberhard Weber, John Giblin, Del Palmer—bass
Dan McIntosh—electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Gary Brooker—Hammond organ
Rolf Harris—vocals, didgeridoo
Lol Creme, Gary Brooker, Paddy Bush—backing vocals
Michael Wood—backing vocals on 1 track
Richard Campbell, Susan Pell—viols
Eligio Quintera—Renaissance guitar
Robin Jeffrey—Renaissance percussion
First impressions: Disc 1 is supremely silly lyrically, but musically it's gorgeous. I think if I can concentrate on ignoring the lyrics (e.g. "Pi": I know I said I could listen to KaTe sing the phone book, but I wasn't serious!! The numbers are initially cool, but I think it goes on too long—maybe it will grow on me), everything with this disc will be all right. "The Coral Room" is overall beautiful, though—I think it's by far the strongest and most moving track on the disc. Regarding the silliness, I was mainly thinking of "Mrs. Bartolozzi", and to a certain degree "Lovely Bertie", though I know it's pretty much sacrilege to diss on a song that is obviously so personal for her.
It occurred to me that if I think of "Mrs. Bartolozzi" as a late version of one of the Cathy Demos (which it really does resemble musically), it's much easier to digest...so I'll just do that. :)
Oh yes—I think "How to be Invisible" is one of the stronger tracks on the disc.
Disc 2 is, in a word, stunning. Time will tell, but it may just prove to be the best thing she's ever done—which is saying something, considering that we're talking about the same woman who gave the world The Dreaming. When it was over, I had chills.
Most impressive, though, is her voice. She's still got it, even after all this time. :)
I think this is the nicest packaging she's had, too—I love the artwork in the booklet. (email@example.com)
I don't see how you can call "A Sea of Honey," and especially Pi "supremely silly." To my reading, it's KaTe's take on unrequited love in much the way Innocence Mission tackled it with "You Chase the Light." I hear the protagonist of "Pi" as someone who wishes she could be as enchanting to the object of her affection as he finds the mysteries of pi. Further, I think the imagery of the song conveys the ideal of love as circular—endless, infinite, and yet, through the magic of the number, endlessly varying and unpredictable. I find it to be incredibly lovely.
I really dig the imagery of the chorus of "How to be Invisible" with the list of things that are seen yet unseen, part of our daily existence yet walked all over.
And yeah, "The Coral Room" pretty much makes me want to cry my eyes out.
The vocals and the piano on "Mrs. Bartolozzi", so immediate and simple, really sound just like something off the Cathy Demos (albeit with decent sound!) Lyrically, I'm not quite sure how to take it—the first verse makes me think of nothing so much as Mommie Dearest. I can just see Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford, down on her knees with Diana Scarwid, singing "it took hours and hours to scrub it out—I cleaned and I cleaned!" But the second verse seems almost scandalous, particularly the thrusting of the waves and the "little fish between my legs." I've gotten the impression from KaTe in interviews that she intended the song to be an ode to domesticity, but it seems more like an ode to the horny daydreams of a lonely housefrau.
Ooh. I love this album. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On first listen, it's as good as I had hoped, if it didn't strike me immediately with the force of, say, "The Ninth Wave." But there's a lot of depth to dig into, and I have a feeling that it will grow on me even more. I find "Bertie" quite charming, and enjoy it. So far nothing on the album has really bugged me, except perhaps for Rolf Harris's singing (and I might be missing some extra-musical resonance that its presence might have for some). (email@example.com)
My first impression: If this is so good, then WHY AM I SO BORED???? Seriously, I would like to know. I am not being sarcastic—this is seriously the core of my problem. It's not that I think the music is terrible, far from it!—it's just that apart from "Bertie" and "Pi", which I definitely don't like, I find myself unable to form any kind of emotional response to most of it. And that is bad, bad news.
"Bertie" is so icky and squishy I am fairly certain I will *never* play it again. "Pi" is over six minutes long, much of it consisting of Kate singing the digits of Pi. I read somewhere she wanted to see how much emotion she could put into singing each digit, and now we know the answer: not much. OK, failed experiment is still a valid experiment—fair enough—I just don't think I will ever want to hear it again, either.
The rest of it? Just kind of is, leaving no particular impression on me so far, except for a general 'I've heard it all before, and it grabbed me more back then'.
I listened to the first CD only, because I just couldn't be bothered to play the second one just now. It felt like I'd be wasting my time...
I reserve the right to change my opinion at any time. But right now I'm thinking not. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
well,it's uneven but it's kate...the wait was partially worth it. I like some of
the songs...she could have left the birdsong out. but "bertie", "king of the mountain" and "joanni" are great. As long as I try to forget the lyrics to "bertie"...eww. Oh well..it's still good to have her back. (email@example.com)
i don't dislike "Bertie" but it doesn't really appeal to me much. i like the
music on that song—kinda vaguely early music-ish (sorry, i can't place the period)—but the lyrics don't really reach me in any way. i appreciate the fact that KaTe loves motherhood and her son but, though i can live without it, i won't begrudge her expression there of. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I do think Aerial is all that, though not as good as The Dreaming, and ok, I'd make "Bertie" a B-side. "Bertie" is a lovely song, and catchy too (I find myself humming it), I love the instrumentation, the vocals, the lyrics and the sentiment.
I think "Mrs. Bartolozzi" is one of the saddest songs I've ever heard. In the song a grieving wife who's having to wash her just-died husband's clothes is having a reverie while watching the washing machine. One of the hardest things when someone you live with dies is the aftermath of gathering up their belongings, especially their clothes. Few people die immediately after doing laundry. There are going to be dirty clothes to gather up and wash, before giving them away or whatever it is you're going to do with them. This is something I had to do when my mother died, and I have never heard this topic even touched on in a song.
It's also a very erotic song. Is the thought of having sex with a spouse who's dead icky (or just nudge nudge wink wink) because they're gone now? Is a spouse supposed to forget about those times and thoughts? That's somethingelse that's rarely talked about.
So anyway, I see Mrs. B as being about a lot more than just washing machines and sex. (email@example.com)
This has to be #1 [of the year]. Kate's best since Hounds of Love, I think. For me, it will not replace Hounds of Love or The Dreaming as her best works, and it has several 'filler' cuts, but it is a wonderful album full of lovely music, and attention to detail, down to the beautiful packaging. If this is her last album, what a better way to go than with The Red Shoes. I could listen to Cd2 every day. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I must say that Aerial is a fabulous album, and I have had it on pretty constantly since it was released. I play the second disk (Sky) the most and I really like "Sunset", beautiful melody, enhanced by the wonderful Celtic rhythms that kick in halfway through. At least I think they're Celtic. Margreta thought they were Spanish! I can hear echoes of all of her previous albums in this one too, which is interesting. "Mrs. Bartoluzzi" reminds me of The Kick Inside, for example. (email@example.com.OZ.AU)
I took a long time to buy Aerial, and even longer to listen to it, long enough so that I wasn't part of the conversation on ecto when it came out. I wish I'd gotten to it earlier. It's one of my all-time favorite albums by anybody, ever. What a tour de force! You sometimes hear a fan of, say, Margo Timmins (Cowboy Junkies) insist that they'd pay admission to hear her sing the phone book, but here you get to put such fantasies to the test—and you realize that yes, it is worth it to hear Kate sing a hundred and fifty digits of pi. Or rhapsodize on a washing machine. Or gush about her son. Or carry on a hysterical conversation with a bird. It's amazing. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aerial's well worth having; Kate took forever making it but obviously lavished a lot of craftsmanship on it. (email@example.com)
slow to make, and, for me, slow to appreciate. with a few exceptions—Robin Holcomb leaps to mind—i struggle with solo piano and voice. this despite the fact that many of my favorite artists, certainly those most ectoid, tend towards such settings. i have some reasonable reasons, involving the competing tonalities of piano and voice, the tendency towards rubato, etc. but it's also the fact that a piano and voice arrangement leaves nowhere to hide; if you are going to risk that exposure, you better have something worth showing.so, i waded slowly and cautiously into Aerial. but, the farther i went, the deeper it got, to stretch a metaphor. when i play it now, i have to stop any other activity and just listen. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aerial is tough tough tough to get into, but it's got its charms. (the . walking @ gmail . com)
One of my favorites of 2006. (email@example.com)
so far, i've decided that i quite like "king of the mountain" (was sort of
on the fence watching the video on my laptop), am enjoying "Pi" quite a bit
(parts of which remind me more of happy than of kate), and am sorta
appalled by track 3. "Mrs Bartolozzi" will take a few listens to form an
i'd have made "Bertie" an instrumental—the music is fantastic, and could have said far more eloquently by itself what she is expressing than the (in my opinion) insipid lyrics do. as it is, i have a hard time listening to it. (i have the same reaction to the Police's "da doo doo dah" and "shamoli" songs, for much the same reasons.) (brni @ kappamaki . com)
Recommended for Kate Bush fans
Kate Bush—vocals, backing vocals, keyboards, piano, Marion
Guest artists ("Cast"):
Steve Gadd—drums (1-5, 8-11)
Del Palmer—bass (1)
Davey Spillane—pipes, whistles (1)
Paddy Bush—canes (1); Fujare (3); mandola, mandolins, whistles, musical bows, backing vocals (5)
John Giblin—bass (2-5, 9, 10)
Dan McIntosh—guitars (2, 3, 8, 9, 11)
Trio Bulgarka—vocals (2, 4, 8)
David Crofts—Gabriel (2)
Remi Butler—toll (2, 4, 7, 9); spinning toll (8)
Mica Paris—backing vocals (3)
Lily Cornford—narration (3)
Albert McIntosh—computer (4); additional vocals (5); vocals (6); sock puppeteer (7); rook (7, 9, 10)
Brendan Power—harmonica (4, 11)
Hazel Pethig—Beryl Van Heem (4)
Terry Jones—Professor Needs (4)
Colin Lloyd-Tucker—backing vocals (5)
Jacob Thorn—additional vocals (5); vocals (6)
The Waynflete Chamber Choir, Michael Wood, Jevan Johnson Booth, Ed Rowntree—choir (7)
Jud Charlton—Michael (7)
Eberhard Weber—basses (8)
Nigel Kennedy—violin, viola (9)
Eric Clapton—guitar (10)
Gary Brooker—Hammond, keyboards (10)
Danny Thompson—bass (11)
While it was wonderful to hear the lyrics Kate Bush originally intended to use in the song "The Sensual World", here renamed "Flower of the Mountain," I'm less convinced by the rest of the album, and much to my surprise, I like her lyrics better than Joyce's (though I loved reading that section of Ulysses. Huh). I almost always prefer the original versions of the songs, sometimes not by much, at least. These versions seem somehow less energetic than the earlier ones. While I like the collection overall more than I thought I would, these new versions don't seem as essential to me as their originals. I think I may like the version of "Moments of Pleasure" here better than the original, as I found the original a little too pretty and expected; this one feels softer but somehow more raw and vulnerable, maybe more tentative. Perhaps also "And So Is Love"—interesting that these two were never favourites of mine, and so maybe I'm more open to new versions of these ones. Whatever the case, it is interesting to hear someone reimagine and revisit their work in this way, and I admire her for doing this. And I love the booklet artwork! (Neile)
A few random reactions:
On "Flower of the Mountain" I really miss her trill when she sings "yes."
It's hard to let go of that as something essential to the song.
"Deeper Understanding"—after listening to the song numerous times I still find that the computer voice detracts from the song, and doesn't achieve what she said she was after with it.
On "Red Shoes" her voice sounds a lot thinner than on the original.
I don't necessarily like "This Woman's Work" better than the original, but I think it's a strong alternative.
"Moments of Pleasure" plays like a lost track from Aerial.
I miss Kate's wail in "Never Be Mine." I think the original version communicates the anguish a lot better.
Finally, "Rubberband Girl" made me think of a strangely-muted Aretha Franklin backed by the Rolling Stones. Ha! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The whole track ("Deeper Understanding") is kind of dark, and just tumbles along, and there's no real singing except way back in a chorus or two and while I didn't *hate* it hate it, I can't much find anything to like about it either.
It certainly doesn't hold a candle to anything on Aerial.
This puts me in kind of an odd place. Director's Cut was a total miss for me. (email@example.com)
Kate Bush—vocals, backing vocals, piano, basses, keyboards
Albert McIntosh—vocals (1)
Steve Gadd—drums (1-6)
Del Palmer—bass (1); bells (4)
Dan McIntosh—guitars (1, 3, 4, 5, 6)
Stefan Roberts, Michael Wood—vocals (2)
Danny Thompson—bass (3)
John Giblin—bass (4, 5, 6)
Andy Fairweather Low—vocals (4)
Elton John—vocals (5)
Stephen Fry—Prof. Joseph Yupik (6)
Odd in a very Kate Bush-like way, and mostly pretty wonderful, 50 Words for Snow is a cycle of songs about snow and winter: a romance with a snowman, about yeti, about 50 strange names for snow. There are a couple of decisions I'm not stuck on—like the duet with Elton John (I just don't like his vocal style these days), and using her son as lead vocalist on the first track—but they don't ruin the songs for me or anything egregious like that. Others may not enjoy the title track with Stephen Fry much either, though I find it charming. While this isn't going to be my favourite album of the year, it's highly listenable, intriguing enough to pay full attention to throughout, creative, and an album only Kate Bush could have made. It's reminiscent of "The Ninth Wave" (the second side of the Hounds of Love album) and the second disc of Aerial. There are many, many, gorgeous moments. (Neile)
This album, I think more than any of her others, shows Kate Bush as a true storyteller. Even if you don't listen to the songs, just read the lyrics to "Lake Tahoe", "Misty" or "Snowed in at Wheeler Street" and you'll be taken on a journey. This is a dense album that requires some patience from the listener, and I love that. Definitely rewards the effort put into it. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Love the idea. There is much to love in the execution, but having cycled through it several times, I think that Bertie's vocals on "Snowflake" are too clearly untrained and unsteady to help the song, however much his mother loves him, and Elton John is overripe and trying too hard. Even with its faults, in the right mood, this is a pretty mesmerizing album. (email@example.com)
Kate and her quiet reflectiveness—love parts of it, but it does get a bit monotonous. If you like Aerial you'll like this album, but I wished she sounded like she was having more fun. I miss her vocal abandon. This is very controlled. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
One of the best albums of the year. (email@example.com, JoAnn Whetsell, Alexander Johannesen, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Has sung with Peter Gabriel, Roy Harper, Big Country, Go West
Thanks to Jen P. Tagore Brage and woj for work on this entry.
Return to The Ectophiles' Guide to Good Music