Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kate Bush: 50 Words for Snow (2011)


(Anti-)

We all love NPR but did you ever think what would happen if the radio dial in your car got stuck on it? You couldn't change the channel or even turn it off.

I think I like Kate Bush. I'm pretty sure she's up my alley. But I've somehow never been able to be certain about it. I couldn't even estimate how much modern idols of mine like Merrill Garbus, Sufjan Stevens, and Joanna Newsom owe to her. I can hear wisps of that here, like in the opening minute and a half of "Wild Man," but everything just seems overloaded and too much -- like the record is so obsessively determined of its own emotional substance and carefully structured that it forgets to have any kick or liveliness or sense of unpracticed beauty. It's all so arranged, so formal. But look, this is an extreme minority opinion, so much so that I'm suspicious of it myself -- and I keep going back to make sure it's not my mood.

Sometimes I just don't hear what everyone else hears, but maybe I've just been overtired and overly pensive every time I've listened to this. I can't fall under its spell and I don't really like the operatic voice Bush affects in certain places, nor am I riveted by the drama she draws from the quieter moments. The average length of a song on this LP is about 9:20. And the song about having a fling with a snowman and oh geez. I'm just... I'm sorry.

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