Friday, 15 April 2011

Kate Bush - The Director's Cut

Hold the front page!  It’s another Kate Bush album and it’s only been, what, six years since the last one?  What’s the matter with the woman?  The next album isn’t due until 2017.  Ah, but on closer inspection, it turns out to be a compilation.

But Kate being Kate, it’s not quite that simple.  Out on 16th May and entitled ‘The Director’s Cut’ it comprises a selection of songs from her late period albums, ‘The Sensual World’ and ‘The Red Shoes’ that have been er…‘re-imagined’.  Finally released from her EMI contract, it appears she now has full control over her back catalogue and has decided to re-engineer parts of songs whilst retaining the basic skeleton to give a definitive edition – hence Director’s Cut.

The track listing will be:
1. Flower of the Mountain (The Sensual World with new lyrics taken directly from Ulysses)
2. Song of Soloman
3. Lily
4. Deeper Understanding
5. The Red Shoes
6. This Woman's Work
7. Moments of Pleasure
8. Never be Mine
9. Top of the City
10. And So is Love
11. Rubberband Girl

Hmm.  I have to say that despite being a BIG KT fan, ‘The Red Shoes’ is her weakest album by some margin and ‘The Sensual World’, although much better, does not enter my top three Bush product either so I’m not expecting too much from this.  As a taster, she has already released the re-constituted version of ‘A Deeper Understanding’, a song that I like very much and blogged about over three years ago! Interestingly, its lyrical content about computer dependence and lack of human contact seems even more relevant today than it did when it was first released in 1989.  This 2011 version is interesting in the way that all re-mixes are interesting but I’m not sure it improves on the original.  In particular, it replaces the eerie ‘computer’ voice of the original with a vocoded sample of her son’s voice and this doesn’t work half as well as it chops up the timing of the song.

Quite by chance, I was watching her video for ‘There Goes A Tenner’ on YouTube the other day and it got me to thinking about originality, a word that is bandied about in the media all too often.  It occurs to me that far too many new artists from the last 20 years have been feted as ‘the new Kate Bush’ or compared to her in one way or another, but watching this video just kills all those assertions stone dead.  No one is like her.

In the video her young self looks other-worldly, beautiful, enigmatic, funny and serious, welcoming and aloof.  The song is like no other – a kaleidoscope of melodic fragments, rhythmic shifts, 80s synths, brass bands and a myriad of voices.  The video itself is a concoction of part dance, part drama against set piece backdrops, dripping with imagery.  No one since comes close to creating the wonderfully weird world of music, lyric and presentation that Kate managed (and largely by herself - no teams of writers, arrangers and ‘advisors’ doing the donkey work.)

But having achieved true originality, it would be a crying shame if she insisted on unpicking it at this stage of the game.  (Now read part 2).


Jayne said...

Oh Kate Bush... I do admire her. The only female singer that I thought compared, in a truly original semi-bonkers sort of way, was Bjork - moments of genius mixed with moments of musical madness, but all of it original.

music obsessive said...

Jayne - Quite right. In fact I think the trio of PJ Harvey, Tori Amos and Bjork all have that undercurrent of complete insanity that makes them the true heirs of Kate Bush, but she still rules supreme. Let's see what the Director's Cut brings.

luminous muse said...

Thanks for reminding me of Kate. Never seen that video, good batty fun.

I think she peaked with Hounds of Love. I wore that one out (I think it was on cassette.)

Speaking of originality we must not forget Nerina!

music obsessive said...

Hi Luminous. Yes, 'The Dreaming' and 'Hounds of Love' are the two to have. My initial thoughts on the Director's Cut will be posted soon.

And I have Nerina's new album on pre-buy from Amazon - due in June. Can't wait.