Rich Juzwial reviews the new album for The Daily, an iPad newspaper here. “Not since 1982’s “The Dreaming” has Bush been as gloriously goofy as she is on her 10th album, “50 Words for Snow.” On it, she courts a snowflake, covers the tracks of a yeti to keep him safe from scientists and builds a snowman with whom she has an affair. Her duet with Elton John, “Snowed in at Wheeler Street,” plays out much like the hilariously clueless audition duet of “Midnight at the Oasis” in “Waiting for Guffman” (“Just two old flames keeping the fire going/ We look so good together,” growls John.) Even loopier is her collaboration with Stephen Fry on the album’s title track, which finds him listing off increasingly unlikely synonyms for snow (“swans-a-melting,” “faloop’njoompoola,” “creaky-creaky,” “Zhivagodamarbletash,” “bad for trains,” “blown from polar fur”) with Bush interrupting intermittently (“Come on man, you got 44 to go!”). If Bush isn’t having a laugh here, she’s at least plowing the way for everyone else.
Unfortunately, “50 Words for Snow” is more fun to think about than it is to listen to. While Bush retains her interest in brushed drums and upright bass that was apparent on “Aerial,” completely new to her aesthetic is an abandonment of pop structure, which is a shame. These seven tracks come in at 65 minutes, and one of them, “Misty,” runs 13 maddeningly chorus-less minutes. Bush’s piano playing is more a drizzle than a flurry: Repetitive themes just trickle out, leaving plenty of space between. The album crystallizes in the middle, finding a more upbeat structure (“Wildman” even has a hook!), but this is Bush at her most musically obtuse.