“Very self-indulgent”: Strange Things Are Happening

David Flint doesn’t (yet) like Kate’s new album. But then he does describe Aerial as “two CD’s worth of generally forgettable music” so perhaps we shouldn’t hold our breath:

I reserve the right to completely change my mind about 50 Words for Snow, in whole or part, on subsequent listens. For now though, I can’t match the predictable gushing from other writers … the problem with the album as a whole – it feels very self-indulgent, and while that’s not necessarily a bad thing, when you combine that with the remarkably one-dimensional nature of the music here, it’s just too much … There isn’t a single song with any kind of hook. Stripped of vocals, it’d probably make a decent soundtrack album. But it sorely misses the incredible, infectious, left-field pop that made Bush a household name … But this is by no means a bad album. It’s just not good enough.

About Peter

My Kate CV: Kate fan since 1978. Saw Tour of Life at the London Palladium 1979. Went to first KBC Convention 1980. Founded Homeground with Dave 1982. Worked on 1985, 1990, and 1994 Kate Bush Conventions, and the 1986 Video Party with Dave, Lisa of KBC and Krys. Appeared in videos for The Big Sky and Experiment IV. Wrote Introduction, Chronology and Discography for EMI Music Publishing's 1987 "Kate Bush Complete". Wrote the sleeve note for the remastered 1998 reissue of "Hounds of Love". Invited to write sleeve notes for other reissues which never happened. My other CV: born 1955 in Bermondsey London, educated at Galleywall Primary, Walworth Comprehensive, and London School of Economics BSc(Econ)(Hon) 1976. Currently an Officer of the Crown Court determining legal costs in crminal cases. Met Krys in 1982 through Homeground, we were engaged on Glastonbury Tor on Kate's birthday in 1983, and married in November 1984.
This entry was posted in 50 Words for Snow, Aerial, Kate Bush news, Reviews. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “Very self-indulgent”: Strange Things Are Happening

  1. Neil Mayor says:

    Hooks are conventional and predictable…there are more subtle ways to get a musical fix without the time weary verse and chorus writing by numbers approach to song writing,but i agree it has perhaps more in common with a music film score .

  2. Brandon says:

    Don’t you love when critics call an artist “self-indulgent” when he really means, “you didn’t give me the catchy pop songs I wanted! so you must have only pleased yourself!”

    Hahaha….far from self-indulgent, Kate has given us a huge gift! It is so subtle and beautifully done.

  3. He’s one of those Kate fans who has actually grown out of her music, but can’t let go. Nothing she’s done since The Sensual World is any good and nothing will ever be as good as her 80s output, so it must be labeled as “self-indulgent” because she’s not made More Hounds of Love or The Dreaming 2.

  4. John Sands says:

    To a certain degree one can easily agree. At first listen this album left me certainly with mixed feelings instead of awe and wonderment like some other in the interwebs claim to have experienced.

    This is quite different than anything mrs. Bush has done so far. It’s obvious that she did not care too much how many albums she’s going to sell when she recorded this album. And She clearly is quite adventurous because of that. And yet, it seems that She is not pushing the borders as far enough as she could. The whole album sounds kind a disengaged (maybe its intentional). It’s kind of experimental album that is not so experimental. Somewhat it reminds me the great two last albums Talk Talk made, but this album is not anywhere as close to experimental, nor is it as detailed and complex. It’s not even as experimental as The Dreaming, the most underloved Kate Bush album. Maybe She should have collaborated with someone like Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois to really make this album shine.

    Fortunately it’s not an “experimental” album that some overrated rock stars with pockets filled with cash sometimes put out that make you shake your head in disbelief and embarrassment when you listen to it. It’s not an album one would toss into a trash can after first listen. Actually, it’s very enjoyable and there’s no filler here (except maybe Elton John). Kate’s songwriting is as good as it ever was, and that there are no catchy hooks or pop hits is definitely not a problem here – its way better than all the pop crap out there. The problem is that in the end one is left with the question: could this album have been even better?

    • Fragecat says:

      I agree with this. It’s all a bit dull and samey. It seems sometimes people almost force themselves to like her work. Some of the gushing comments about anything to do with Kate borders on sycophancy. There is nothing wrong with not appreciating one of her albums as much as you did an earlier one. She’s never made music to please her fans (which is great) but I’m now out of sync with what pleases her, which is quite gutting for me. Quite disappointed over all. At least I still have her older work to relive the genius.

      • Keith says:

        Why do you make a comment like, “It seems sometimes people almost force themselves to like her work?” I love 50 WORDS… and didn’t have to push myself at all! By the middle of “Snowflake” I actual had a tear running down my face–is that forcing something? Trust me: Going to work on a train packed with people is the last place I want to get teary-eyed. Be disappointed, stick with her old work, don’t worry about not being on the Kate Bush bus anymore; but let lose of this generalization that those of us who are loving this work are forcing ourselves.

        • Fragecat says:

          “Seems” and “sometimes” are the magic words. Just personal opinion like every other opinion here. Plus a few reviews do mention the effort needed of repeated listening and it being a grower. I’ll still gush over “Under the Ivy” anytime anywhere;)

  5. giulio says:

    ‘Wild Man’ hasn’t got ”a shockingly bad chorus” 🙁
    It’s a wonderful song and the choruses are priceless. 😉

  6. Neil Mayor says:

    Aerial to me pushes Hounds very close for her best work.I dont get the same buzz from this one only in parts exept for Among Angels which is gorgeous.A bit overstretched in many instances,but still love her voice

  7. Gabriella says:

    always a negtive,..well finlt shant ,..spoil it for us,…

  8. Gabriella says:

    Kate in a good light is her best at self-indulgent work….

    didnt someone asked Freda Kalo,..why she paints herself ,..in reply Feda said iam the only one i know best in my heart,…

    that is true,…and thid kind of self-indulgent,…is the thoughtful kind,…..best works are dont that way by artit,..

    peace love Gabi

  9. Mr Chris. says:

    Kate’s music and her voice,
    gets right to the heart of my soul,
    and I for one,
    couldn’t wish for more.

  10. karen says:

    I’ve loved every album she’s ever made. even as a depressed teenager when i put the kick inside on my portable turntable in my bedroom she blew me away-I’m going to be a grandmother next year and nothings changed .Much love Kate keep on indulging.xx

  11. Anonymous says:

    i agree that this album is one dimensional and disappointing. if this album wasn’t by kate bush i wouldn’t listen to it. it has the same monotonous looped rhythm throughout as in aerial. that was ok for aerial but after a double disc “concept album” of it, another sounding so similar strikes as uninspired. like the above commenter mentioned, maybe it will grow on me.

  12. Neil says:

    There’s a lot to take in all at once .Best to take in each track and get to know it .Lake Tahoe will prove to be amongst her very best with repeated listens i am sure

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