How could you leave me, when I needed to possess you.

15 May

Kate Bush: Director’s Cut Album
***

She bewitched fans in the late seventies with her wild eyes, porcelain skin and bizarre vocals.

She won my heart when she spoke on Vegetarianism in an interview with Delia Smith saying: “I didn’t really know what to eat for a while so I just stuck with chocolate.”

Now Kate Bush is back, re-working some of her most famous songs after 20 years of The Sensual World album hitting the charts. It’s almost like a tongue in cheek gesture towards her ghostly alter ego in the Wuthering Heights video, “how could you leave me, when I needed to possess you?”

And the ghost of Kate’s musical past is more than welcomed; in an age where many wistfully play with feelings of nostalgia. We are living in a time where the economy and future of the country is unstable, and many yearn for the familiar. In the spirit of the recession, Bush has taken the term “mend and make do” whole heartedly.

The re-working’s are a pick and mix of subtle and daring. Regardless of the fact that all of the songs are copies, Bush has every right to call the Director’s Cut her “new album”, as she throws new lyrics and sounds into the mixing bowl, spicing things up for both avid fans and new listeners.

Flower of the Mountain is a fascinating restoration of The Sensual World. For those who never managed to wade through James Joyce’s Ulysses this is a pleasing shortcut with remarkable results. Through intimate vocals, Bush harps out Molly Bloom’s soliloquy.

Yet This Woman’s Work was almost like, “what did you do with Kate?” She lacks the youthful sincerity she had in the original, and sounds weary and constrained. She has her own home studio, and has managed to avoid having a producer for many years. Yet the keyboard notes sounds like something from a class for “beginners”, where someone has taken a particular liking to the dreadful ‘organ’ sound. It would have sounded far better for the minimal amount of keyboard sound to be played on a piano.

The heartbreaking original, along with the devastating video of a man waiting for his dying wife in a hospital waiting room, had many moved to tears. It’s been used countless times in films and television, and perhaps Kate is making a conscious effort to move away from the repetition.

Yet who could have imagined 20 years ago that a wild woman wearing a leotard would capture the hearts of many. I recall the first time I heard Wuthering Heights; a brave entrant was imitating Bush’s weird warbling on Stars In Your Eyes. Frankly, I thought it was rather strange. I never would have thought I’d be winning a bottle of cheap champagne ten years later as I imitated it myself in a village karaoke contest. So maybe this one is a grower.

As a whole, the songs are warmer than their originals, with a more reflective tone. The good thing is, if you’re not a fan of the remakes, there are always the originals.

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