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At last the Director’s Cut bad review …

… and it’s from Record Collector no less. Two stars and a grump from Jason Draper:

“the tracks feature ho-hum touches that largely result in reducing the songs’ power. A sparser This Woman’s Work … lacks the emotionally crippling dynamics of its predecessor; Deeper Understanding’s vocoder duet is one knowing conceit too far; Rubberband Girl’s complete re-record sounds like it’s sung from the bottom of a well as a Stones tribute act bangs out Brown Sugar from an adjoining cave … Hopefully Bush, who’s currently in the studio working on fresh material, will have re-connected with the muse in time for her new album proper.”

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16 Comments

  1. Seán

    What a relief! Thanks Record Collector – was getting worried there! 🙂

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    giulio

    Listen and enjoy this album….with an open heart. 🙂

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    another swede

    Well, though i think the new album is far better than this review he might have a point.How much i do love the new versions i get tired listening to them quite fast as i already have heard about the same songs before.This has never happened before for me with any Kate Bush album ever…..
    I know this is a taboo-question on a great site like this, but are we becoming to non-judgemental just because its Kate?I mean she is a smart and very very wealthy business woman, not a frail little creature, and she surely take can take critisism…anyway i am sure her next album will do it a bit more for me.But all this buzz is mostly lovely so we should maybe indulge the most before she retreats again.

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      Mikael Sjödin

      I agree with your points about taboo-questions. Maybe Swedes (I am one too!) give themselves greater liberty for dynamic criticism, I don´t know. But my personal bad reviews of DC comes mainly from being a recording musician and sound engineer myself. I was horrified the first time I heard Flower Of the Mountain on the web. I was thinking there must be something wrong with my ears, Kate couldn´t have intended this strange sound mix. And today I got the CD and it sounds the same on my home Hi-fi system. So it has to be intentional, but I just don´t get the point, because it sounds like a demo at best. On FOTM, Kate´s voice sounds so muddy and boomy, and totally unintegrated with the backing instruments. Like she is singing karaoke in a bad budget microphone with the music playing somewhere in the back of the room. It sounds like bad mixing to me.
      In several other songs on DC, Kate´s voice is surprisingly muddy and lacks clarity, and sounds over de-essed too. Heavy de-essing (to the extent of sounding unnatural) was introduced already on Aerial.
      On other DC tracks, the production makes sense, like Never Be Mine which is a great aural experience. But Rubberband Girl must be an intentional gimmick in this regard. It cannot count as a proper professional studio mix!
      The thing I really like about DC is Kate´s new vocal performances, especially the new components which differ from the originals.

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    another swede

    As i am a swede forgive me for spelling so badly in my comment above….

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    Jari

    another review I read today was totally opposite.

    my mate is a subscriber of The Wire magazineand the review was overall positive. (they don’t give stars).

    Some quotes:

    “…new versions of Song Of Solomon and ANd so Is Love are subtler and more effective than the originals in terms of arrangement, instrumentation and vocal performance”

    “Another song from The Red SHoes, Rubberband Girl is more radically improved. If the previous transcended its goofy pop-funk treatment through chutzpah alone, its rearrangement as Sticky Fingers stomp seems entirely apt demonstrating playfulness as well as a keen ear for fresh possibilities”

    “More significantly altered,the grief-stricken Moments Of Pleasure materialises as a subdued vocal/piano piece, the absence of orchestration gesturing towards the loss in 2003 of her friend and collaborator, arranger Michael Kamen. Likewise the hummed refrain replacing the chorus of “Just being alive it can really hurt” adds a note of quiet resignation absent from 1993 version. ”

    and finally it ends in words
    “UNUSUAL AND UNEXPECTED TRIUMPH”
    (Joseph Stannard, The Wire)

    Greetings
    Jari

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      Richard

      I read The Wire review in the newsagents. It’s very complimentary and quite well written. I don’t mind negative reviews as long as they are honest, if a reviewer doesn’t like a record they should say so.

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    Thomas

    Well, one mans meat, etc, etc. We would all love an album of new material, but lets not get beyond ourselves and enjoy DC. I’ve been listening to the originals and DC and find them both moving and interesting. “Never Be Mine” on DC is – IMO – much better than TSW version. I love DC’s “Moments Of Pleasure” and find DC’s “TWW” still heartbreakingly beautiful. DC’s “Rubberband Girl” was the only track I initially did’nt get, but now I love the bluesy approach, because it is different. “TOTC” was not a track I played over & over, but on DC, I do. It’s just great to have these pieces of work, brought to my/our attention again, to have another listen and revel in a new interpretation / sound. IMO, these are how they would be presented to an audience IF Kate were to stage a gig.

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    Clearly he wasn’t listening to the album on high volume through headphones – that’s pure magic.
    Well I loved it and that’s what’s important 🙂

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    Gabriella

    Jason need , get some new pair eyes .. and walk away …..2 stars for him ,..

  9. Avatar

    The devastation of waiting for my copy of The Directors Cut to arrive is disturbing.
    I pre-ordered!After my breakdown when I heard Deeper Understanding without nerdly speakers attached to our laptop,Im not sure I can cope…yes I live in Tasmania and yes it is thousands of kilometers away,but still in a world of instant everything,this wait is horrid!
    However,amongst my trials and tribulations,Ive really enjoyed all the interviews and comments on this site,but,Madame Kate Foo-Foo Bush,is trying my impatience,that gorgeous image of her holding the cat is beautiful,but IM STILL WAITING!

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    Re:Record Collector’s comment that Rubberband Girl sounds like it’s at the bottom of a well – I always thought the drums on the 1986 WH sounded like that!

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    Like music I always end up liking the most, it is growing on me. I went into this with no expectation other than to have a new interpretation.

    I’ll admit that there are things about the originals that I have preferred thus far. I, too, prefer the original chorus to Deeper Understanding and its Trio plus Kate ending. I have, as a matter of fact, already created my own new mix of the two, over seven minutes long.

    What I really appreciate about this whole undertaking is that, once again, there is evidence of Kate’s, how should I say, lack of enthusiasm for cymbals. I share this feeling.

    I also really like what sounds like a bit of Aerial-isation of this group of songs. Like it or not, ‘Director’s Cut’ is without a doubt a new album. And I like it. A lot.

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    Mike H

    The new version of Rubberband Girl is absolutely hilarious! I can’t listen to it without laughing. I liked the original, too, but I think the off-the-wall state of mind of the lyrics comes across way better this time. Obviously the way the vocals are recorded is no accident. I can’t help but think that the people who don’t get the humour of it are either thick or just don’t have a sense of humour.

    The one that I’m having trouble swallowing is the new And So Is Love. The original is one of my all-time favourite pieces of music. The change from “but now we see that life is sad” to “…life is sweet” seems a bit cheap. Not to say that melancholia equals greater artistry, but still. Maybe it’s just that I’m more sad than sweet at the moment, who knows. Also, the whole mix of that track doesn’t quite feel like it fits, but maybe that’s because I was listening to it on cheap, small headphones.

    Anyway, I think Director’s Cut is stunningly beautiful. I find it amazing just how much better the new versions of the songs are, considering how carefully the originals were crafted.

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    Gio Willis

    I do not care about good and bad reviews… Kate is an artist and has demostrated her great talent again. Thanks.

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