The latest news about the musician Kate Bush and her work

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More reviews for Kate Bush Remastered and How To Be Invisible!

Kate Bush Remastered CD Box 1The January 2019 edition of Classic Pop magazine (out now) has ranked the Kate Bush Remastered Part 1 CD Box as the 3rd best reissue of 2018: “The end of the year saw a tremendous reissue of Kate Bush’s back catalogue in its entirety and here was the pick, collecting her albums from 1978’s The Kick Inside to 1993’s The Red Shoes. Fifteen years of insatiable, mystical folk-pop from this most quixotic of artists – here was a dreaming indeed.”  

Meanwhile Billboard Magazine has included Kate’s Remastered box sets in their Top Ten of the best reissues of 2018. Ron Hart writes: “By pop parameters, remastering the catalog of Kate Bush is like trying to do a restoration on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel — how do you improve upon perfection? But across these two extraordinary box sets, the British visionary’s recorded output has never looked or sounded better, while a four-disc collection of extras — though in many ways incomplete with the absence of such crucial fan favorites as the 12-inch mixes from her The Red Shoes era and the material comprising the 1979 On Stage EP — is nevertheless a treasure trove filled with such rare treats as the previously unreleased 1975 composition “Humming” and a version of Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” that was originally recorded in 1994 with Irish musician Davy Spillane and wasn’t officially released until 2005 when it served as the b-side for the Aerial single “King of the Mountain.”

Kate Bush Remastered Part 2

Australian site, Your Music Radar, has a great article on the remasters here by Brian Parker. Brian says: “Kate has continued to make brilliant, inspiring albums, and has recently remastered all her back catalogue on her own record label, Fish People. For a woman that has always seemed reluctant to look back, the remastering of all her albums was long overdue. How can you make perfection, sound more perfect? And the result? It’s a sonic dream. Rather than making the tracks louder, Kate (with James Guthrie) has focussed on clarity, making the albums sound more crisp. Little subtleties like harder sounding drums, clearer backing vocals, crisper synth motifs. It feels as if a fresh breath of air has been injected into the albums, making them sound more vibrant, colourful, and breathing life into all her vignettes abundant from her imaginative mind.

Both the CDs and vinyls are lavishly packaged. They can either be purchased individually, or in four vinyl and two CD boxsets. She has pulled together b-sides, 12″ mixes and some other rarities as well (including a song called ‘Humming’ that has never been released in any format, which was recorded from the same early sessions as ‘The Man With The Child In His Eyes’). For some reason she has emitted the Kate Bush on Stage EP (which contained tracks from her first 1979 tour), and the amazing b-side from ‘The Big Sky’ called ‘Not This Time’ – okay these are only tiny gripes. The thing is the remastered albums serve a reminder of what a singular and extraordinary talent she is – a testament to artists not to compromise, stay true to your muse, whilst at the same time valuing your privacy and giving the corporate-ness of the music industry a two fingered salute. She did it her way.”

Stuart MaconieWell-known UK music journalist and BBC 6Music presenter, Stuart Maconie, has often reviewed Kate’s work over the years, and in his recent column in the Waitrose Weekend UK free newspaper he doesn’t hold back in his praise:          

“As a creator, Kate Bush is as monumental as the Great Pyramid makers and the results are just as awe-inspiring and enduring. Because Kate doesn’t like to rush things, her albums come around at intervals roughly between the Football World Cup and the appearance of Halley’s Comet. This means that its possible to chart one’s life alongside them. I certainly can. I was a music-drunk teenager when I first saw and heard her at the time of Wuthering Heights and The Kick Inside and was instantly besotted. By Hounds Of Love, I was floundering on the dole in Essex and Wigan. The Red Shoes found me actually with her in a studio in North London, chatting about it for a music magazine, my fortunes having changed somewhat. T S Eliot’s Prufrock measured out his life in coffee spoons, I’ve done it with Kate Bush albums.

If you’ve had a similar life with Kate, and if your original vinyl and CDs are getting a little battered, you’ll probably be drooling over a new and highly desirable boxset just released in time for Christmas; Kate Bush Remastered…..conventional critical wisdom has it that the early records, uniquely strange and delicious, like Wuthering Heights, were a kind of gauche apprenticeship for the mature works that came along at much longer intervals and framed in state-of-the-art studio production architecture, albums like Aerial and The Sensual World. For me, it’s the early work here that delights; direct, pure, slightly odd. These are pop songs but filtered and fractured through her uncommon sensibilities. Moving, Delius, Oh England My Lionheart, these are songs utterly unlike what anyone else was doing at the time (although they spawned legions of imitators). Sometimes, as in the case of Them Heavy People or Hammer Horror they are geekily funny, sometimes eerie (The Kick Inside, Wow), elsewhere (In The Warm Room, Feel It) disarmingly, shockingly sexy. Whichever period Kate is your favourite, they’re all here. It’s not cheap. But it’s a very special body of work, unlike anything else in British pop….Wow, as she once sang. unbelievable.”

The Guardian has reviewed Kate’s new book of lyrics, How To Be Invisible. Laura Snapes grapples with understanding Kate through her lyrics, without annotation from Kate herself:

“This understanding (of gender and power) is one thread of How to Be Invisible, which splits selections from her catalogue across 10 newly curated sections, offering no clear framing devices. (Only Aerial’s A Sky of Honey suite and Hounds of Love’s second side, The Ninth Wave, remain intact.) Here is how we might find her, wedding Snowflake and Hounds of Love into a consideration of the perils of succumbing to love; contemplating alchemy and evolution from Cloudbusting, about a child losing faith in a parent, to Bertie, a tribute to how her son transformed her life.

She addresses loss movingly: Aerial’s A Coral Room finds the memory of her late mother in “her little brown jug”; The Fog, from The Sensual World, asks how to love when its objects are transient. Houdini and Get Out of My House bookend her strident interrogation in how to remain open to pleasure but protected from deception. Two sections dwell on gender. Joanni, her portrait of Joan of Arc, is juxtaposed with an indictment of masculine warmongering (Army Dreamers). Later, Bush explores masculine and feminine perspectives, contemplating desire (Reaching Out) and obligation (Night of the Swallow), never reaching trite conclusions.

If there is one to be drawn from How to Be Invisible, it isn’t that Bush is unknowable, but that life is: how much can we ever know about love, ourselves, the things we lose? She is never cowed by the uncertainty. Her songwriting suggests the only way to weather it is with curiosity; applying silliness as courageously as literary seriousness, balancing spiritual insight alongside unabashed carnality, domestic truth alongside fantasy, never concerned by contradictions. Desire runs wild in the final section: Mrs Bartolozzi’s sexual laundry fantasia; the wily, windy Wuthering Heights. This headstrong pursuit has guided Bush. The question is not what we can learn about her, but what we might learn from following her lead.”

A review piece in the New Statesman, “When Song Lyrics Become Literature”, explores four recent lyrics books by musical artists, including Neil Tennant (Pet Shop Boys), Florence Welch and the late Leonard Cohen. The writer, Jude Rogers, reserves particular high praise for Kate’s How To Be Invisible:  

How To Be Invisible“Her book, unlike Tennant’s, works magically, possibly because many of her lyrics are structured so strangely. She also adds, in her brief author’s note: “all the lyrics have been reviewed as works of verse without their music and so in some places are more detailed than how they originally appeared on their albums”. Some digging on my part reveals nothing more than her playing with poetical constructions such as “o’er”. To do this job properly, however, weeks of album listening will be required, promoting a deeper understanding of these songs. Bush clearly knows what she’s doing.

How To Be Invisible also sees Bush grouping her songs, without explaining her methods; it’s your job to spot the golden threads connecting these pages. Here are songs about clouds (“Cloudbusting”, “The Big Sky”, “You Want Alchemy”), drifting in and out with wonder. Here are songs explicitly and obliquely about war (“Pull Out the Pin”, “Breathing”, “Experiment IV”). “Army Dreamers” is also in this set, one of many that reads astonishingly on paper. A number 16 hit in 1980, its lyric about a dead soldier reminds you of the brutal economy of Sylvia Plath: “Now he’s sitting in his hole,” runs the most devastating line. “He might as well have buttons and bows.”

Themes recur at mystical intervals too. The rope that ties lovers together in “Sat In Your Lap” appears, like a ghost, in “Snowed In At Wheeler Street” (songs from 1981 and 2011 respectively; their dates are not listed in the book). The second-side song cycles from Hounds of Love (1985) and Aerial (2005) – “The Ninth Wave” and “A Sky of Honey” respectively – also incorporate pages that go beyond conventional text (the voices murmuring to the drowning woman in “The Ninth Wave” dance across a double-page spread in different typefaces; while in “A Sky of Honey” birdsong is depicted in skittish, angled handwriting). Here is an artist still expanding the possibilities of a form, as she always has.”

New Yorker Magazine on Kate Bush Remastered: “Enduring, Incandescent Power”

New Yorker article

In a high profile review in The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot luxuriates in re-discovering Kate’s work through listening to the Remastered box sets. Wonderfully titled “The Enduring, Incandescent Power of Kate Bush“, the article finds the writer spending “most of a week last month in a Kate Bush-induced reverie—or was it a swoon? I know there were tears: you try remaining dry-eyed listening to “This Woman’s Work” on a cold November night after a glass or two of wine; if you do, I don’t want to know you. There may have been some ecstatic dancing that alarmed the dog; there was definitely some animated texting of lyrics to my children, who, at twenty-two and nineteen are both, bless them, Kate Bush fans…..listening to all the tracks on a complete boxed set is like going to a party and talking to all the strangers you’d normally avoid instead of the friends you already have.”

Talbot concludes this excellent, lengthy piece by summarising Kate through a Virginia Woolf quote (written about Emily Brontë): “Hers then is the rarest of all powers, she could free life from its dependence on facts, with a few touches indicate the spirit of a face so that it needs no body; by speaking of the moor make the wind blow and the thunder roar.” Read the full article at The New Yorker site here

You can buy Kate’s Remastered box sets, her How To Be Invisible book of lyrics and also t-shirts and lots of other new items at the online version of Kate’s Remastered Pop-Up Shop, all profits to the Crisis homelessness charity right up till January 1st. Click here for the online Pop-Up Shop.

Attitude Magazine review Kate’s remasters: “Lavishly packaged and sonically stunning”

Attitude MagazineSimon Button in Attitude Magazine has huge praise for Kate’s remastered catalogue:

“…beautifully done….Kate worked in conjunction with James Guthrie on the remastering and they’ve done an amazing job. Rather than just pumping up the volume, they’ve gone for nuance and clarity so the drums on ‘Running Up That Hill’ pound a little harder and the shattered glass on ‘Babooshka’ is crystal clear….the boxsets have been lovingly curated and they prove that this woman’s work is absolutely second to none.” Read the full review here. Thanks to Simon O’Donovan for the link.

More 5-Star Reviews For Remasters – Classic Pop and Q Magazine

Classic Pop Cover December 2018

More great reviews for Kate’s stunning remasters. Ian Gittins in Classic Pop Magazine gives the project 5 stars and says “this comprehensive reissue of her remastered career works as a salutary reminder of just what an extraordinary artist she is…CD Box 1 (The Kick Inside to The Red Shoes) is frequently staggering…the albums on CD Box 2 are bigger on stylised reflection and lighter on impactful pop hooks, but harbour moments of genius…driven, visceral, thespian, experimental and yet capable of conjuring up sheer pop nuggets, Kate Bush has always been a groundbreaking very British artist like no other”

Q Review

Meanwhile in the new issue of Q Magazine, Victoria Segal reviews the first two vinyl sets, again rating them 5 stars. “Another excuse to embrace Kate Bush’s back catalogue…while Vinyl II catches Bush in her ’80s pomp, Vinyl I….shows her revving up for the full-throttle transformations of ’83’s The Dreaming.”

That Mojo Magazine Kate Bush-starring cover feature includes another big review, giving Remastered a solid 4 stars. It’s the first review to mention *that* hugely anticipated unreleased track: “You could imagine her singing the previously unreleased country-tinged pop song Humming with the KT Bush Band in the ‘70s” Reviewer, Mark Blake, continues: “The musical leaps made in the ‘80’s between Never For Ever, The Dreaming and Hounds of Love sound even more vivid here. Bush and Guthrie’s new cuts put the listener right there: close enough to get cut by Babooshka’s flying glass or trapped shivering under the ice floe in The Ninth Wave. It also gives us the opportunity to reacquaint and re-evaluate. Who else had forgotten The Red Shoes’ Nigel Kennedy-assisted industrial-rock freak-out Big Stripey Lie? Meanwhile the B-sides offer a bewitching sub-plot to the main story. Anyone for synth-pop-meet-French-chanson on Ne T’Enfuis Pas or Brechtian oompah on Ran Tan Waltz? Kate Bush is rarely predictable but if…Remastered is intended as a curtain call, then it also adheres to that great showbiz maxim and leaves you wanting more.”

Finally, in a feature on Christmas records, the Metro newspaper in the UK singles out December Will Be Magic Again from the upcoming Remastered rarities collection as a gift option: “Tucked away in the box-set of remasters out this month, on a final disc of remixes, covers and rarities is Kate Bush’s little remembered, genuinely magical, distinctly Bowie-esque 1980 Christmas single. So too is the gorgeous, brief acoustic number Home For Christmas from 1992. It’s Kate. It’s great. Obviously.” (How lovely to see this single cover appearing in print today – Remasters; job done!)

Read more about Kate Bush – Remastered here.

Reviews of Before the Dawn

10377637_4532352282887_1805158293836365733_nHoly s***. The Kate Bush show is reinventing the pop concert…laughing, crying and wondering what the hell is gonna happen next.” – BBC Radio 6 Presenter Rob da Bank.

We’ll gather the reviews of Kate’s live show here.

Daily Telegraph picture gallery.

Rod McKie’s definitive review.

The Guardian (Alex Patridis and Nick Grimshaw) … Daily Telegraph (Bernadette McNulty) and also on audio and more and moreThe Irish Times (Sinead Gleeson) … Mirror (Gavin Martin and Katy Forrester) … BBC (Gemma Arterton and Anna Calvi) … BBC (Tim Masters) … Daily Express (Simon Gage) … Daily Star (James Cabooter) … ITV (Neil Connery) … Daily Mail (Jan Moir) … The Independent (Andy Gill) … The Times (Will Hodgkinson) and Times Saturday Magazine (Caitlin Moran) … NME  okay – we forgive you for 1979! (Lucy Jones) and also Emily McKayNew York Times (Ben Ratliff) … London Standard (John Aizlewood) … Spectator (James Walton) and comment from John-Paul Marney … Uncut (Anon and then John Mulvey) … Time Out (Andrzej Lukowski) … Mojo (staff) and second night (Jenny Bully) …. Gay Times (Mikey Walsh) … Channel 4 (Anon) … Billboard (Richard Smirke) … Rolling Stone (Mark Sutherland) … Drowned in Sound (Alan Pedder) … Pitchfork (Jude Rogers) … The Quietus (Simon Price) … Financial Times (Ludovic Hunter-Tilney) … Digital Spy (Kate Goodacre) … Louder than War (Dave Jennings and Martin Unsworth) … Hot Press (Hannah Hamilton) … Irish Independent (Bernadette McNulty) … Metro (Anon) … Magnet (Cory du Browa) … The Arts Desk (Russ Coffey) … Prog (Chris Roberts) … Back Seat Mafia (Nickety) … Sunday Express (Charlotte Heathcote) … The Observer (Kitty Empire) … Get to the Front (David Dunn) … PanCakePictures (Fiona Smith) … Huffington Post (Karen Ruimy) and then Victoria SadlerHidden Tracks (Pete Paphides) … The Trio of Oz (Rachel Z) … National Post (Mike Doherty) … GScene (Criag Hanlon-Smith) … Specs (Adrian) … Beige (Collin Kelley) … Clash (Anna Wilson) … Even the Stars (Deborah Walker) … Chris RogersSo So Gay (Jon B) … Gloucestershire Echo (Giulia Crouch) … Plastic Bag (Owen and again) … Coffee-Table Notes (Neil Cooper) … The Woman’s Room (Jane) … The Plashing Vole (Anon) … Candy Pop (Natasha) … The Age (Bernard Zuel) … Lilly in the Labyrinth (Lilly) … Chris n that (Chrisv) … Pedlar’s World (Charlie) … The Monitors (Eamon Murtagh) … Toronto Star (John Sakomoto) … Disorder (Kate Allen) … Melodee Writes (Melanie Hayden-Williams) … Daily Star (Nicole Morley) … Echoes and Dust (Dave Cooper) … The 405 (Robert Whitfield) … Rick Wakeman’s Cape (Wizard of Ooze) … PJ Media (Clay Waters) … John Guy CollickLiverpool Sound and Vision (Donna Lesley Price) … Freq (David Solomons) … News.com.au (Nick Bond) … GigSlutz (Rosie James) … Mr. Haircare (ditto) … Martin BeamChoirBoyMotel (John Forde) … The Examiner (Gillian Gaar) … Gigwise (Andrew Trendell) … The Skinny (Dave Kerr) … Retrocosm (Charles Heady) … Rants of a Bitter Northerner (Helen Richards and again and again and again ) … Put the Kettle on (Mark) … Moving Brands (Phillip Browning) … Minibreak Mummy (Ruth Jenkins) … The Art of Jane Tomlinson (the same) … NotAllWomenAreTheSame (Sue Sherman) … The Morning after the Deluge (Sasha Loske) … Tunnels of Green (Maree) … The Music Chronicles (Stratos Bacalis) … Louder than War (Youth) … All That’s Left (George East) … North Devon Journal (Anita Butler) … Lesley Anne JonesEQView (Roy Ward) … Bloggertropolis (Steve) … Diary Von DavidlyYahoo Music (Lyndsey Parker) … My Bloggywog (Lealoo) … Greenwich Catholic (Tamas) … Strange Times (Dave West) … Waking Life has Blurred the Lines (Casey Stratton) … Liisa LadouceurFrom Beer to Eternity (Paul) …

Through the Wire (Justin Holford) … Dyverse Music (Mike Butler) … The Figure Ground (Alex Dale) … You Tube (Hitler) …. Spiked (Alex Dale) … The Big Issue (original version by Rachel Johnson and reply by Suzanne Barbieri and incomplete “apology” by Johnson) … Brussels Bronte Blog (Marina Saegerman) … The Afterword (Poppy Suceeds) … A West End Whinger (Phil) … London Live (Alistair Foster) … Tiny Camels (Jonathan Gibbs) …

Collections of reviews: GuardianBBCDaily ExpressGigwiseAgendaWashington PostHollywood ReporterHuffington PostITVMetroLos Angeles TimesThe Wild Reed

Suddeutsche.de (Urs Arnold) … Volkskrant (Gijsbert Kamer) … Musik Express (staff) … FranceTV (staff) … Lust for Life (Peter Douma) …

It’s quite stunning, undoubtedly the most ambitious, and genuinely moving, piece of theatrical pop ever seen on a British stage. Which is just what everyone here tonight was hoping for. Andy Gill

Everyone’s calling it a triumph. Everyone’s right. The unconscionably influential Kate Bush could have blown her mystique by returning to the spotlight in such a no-prisoners manner, but from the first minute she is in her element. The prog event of the year. The musical event of the year. The event of the year. Just don’t expect three chords and the mundane truth. Or Wuthering Heights. I put this moment here Chris Roberts

In A Sea of Honey’s long day, nothing particularly remarkable happens, just as nothing really remarkable happens in Ulysses. The sun comes up, and “the sky is filled with birds”, and the Moon rises, and the protagonists swim in the sea, at night. But some people are just more alive than others, all eyes and mouth, and overloading senses – and that’s what Joyce was, and that’s what Kate Bush is. They appear in your life to remind you that to watch a sunrise is to watch a burning star, and that pollen is sperm, and summer is fleeting, and everything on Earth is so unlikely – so improbable – that we might as well live somewhere where Kate Bush can end a concert by turning into a one-winged bird and flying out into the auditorium …Caitlin Moran

Stuart Maconie reviews 50 Words For Snow

An old one this, but nice all the same. Stuart Maconie reviews Kate on The Review Show on BBC 2, this clip from November 18th. (thanks Louise)

[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2la6Qfge9po[/youtube]

“I am enthralled by a musical vision”: The Intercostal Clavicle

8.5/10 from Ben at the sumptuously named Intercostal Clavicle:

It is a calmer, more intimate album than we have come to expect. Of course, intimate moments abound on Kate Bush’s earlier records, but here the dominant sound is piano with fewer embellishments than usual. The layered, spacious soundscapes are absent. This is to be listened to holed up indoors away from winter storms, chilling and warming by turns. The songs are all built around the concept of snow and the music softly echoes its magical fragility. We are never trapped Under Ice … Her voice is captivating, the production lush and meticulous, but I relish most the elements of play and surprise. The ideas are fully formed, the characters speaking as clearly as her Cathy in Wuthering Heights, but we are never sure what will happen next … In 50 Words for Snow, Kate Bush has produced hushed music which gleams in an icy hinterland. Like snow, it invites and unnerves, giving its gift quietly. I am enthralled by a musical vision which has yet to waver or disappoint. How lucky we are.”

“A brilliant and warm ode to the season upon us”: The Alternative Review

4 stars from Mathew French at The Alternative Review:

it strains the limits of belief to think that she’s still able after all of these years to churn out material worthy of note, let alone albums that challenge her heyday masterpieces. But lo and behold: 50 Words For Snow is just as focused, creative, and emotionally conscious as her best albums … Bush just refuses to fall victim to age. At 54 years old her vocals sound a bit burly, taking on a much deeper tone than that of her older wails, but they only helps to service 50 Words For Snow in a positive way. Her voice is very sentimental and comforting here, almost as if she’s singing to us from inside a log cabin in the middle of a dead, cold night — clad in warm garments with a woollen cover draped over her by the fire as she recalls tales of love and loss. … Forsaking grandiosity in favor of snow-inflected landscapes, 50 Words For Snow is essentially Bush’s provocation for wintry surrealism. The songs have a slow, meditative tempo and revolve (mostly) around crisp piano, Bush’s warm vocals, and delicate percussion. More than anything though, 50 Words For Snow works well as something minimal; unlike other releases, Bush really fixates on the inclusion of negative space to make way for drafty ambiance. These songs aren’t aimless in their approach though: they sometimes burst into small sections of unadulterated bliss – just enough to satisfy a craving for emotional fulfilment...”

“A haunting beauty which sends chills down the spine”: The Manc Review

Donna Gorey at the Manc Review:

an album, whose narrative singing and enchanting concept, creates post-modernistic storytelling, reaffirming Kate as an original and experimental artist … a classic album, which nurtures the perpetual willo-the wisp spirit of Kate. Although it takes a few listens to completely appreciate the album, it thinks outside the box, containing a haunting beauty which sends chills down the spine. Its picturesque music, whose orchestral and stripped down acoustics, glide effortlessly across an intense, emotional backdrop. Like snow, on a hillside, “50 Words For Snow”, melts subtly revealing a lush core at its own organic pace.”

“The loveliest work of Kate’s sparse but uncompromising career”: Dirty Impound

Album of the week from Ron Hart at Dirty Impound:

Though the album title sounds like something conjured up by a cocaine-obsessed rapper like Young Jeezy or Ghostface Killah for his next mixtape banger, it serves as a fitting description for the thematic direction of Kate’s label debut on the Anti- imprint. These seven epic compositions explore the sensual tundra of winter’s effects on the heart, mind and loins … There are indeed no words to truly describe the enchanting pulchritude of 50 Words for Snow, except for hailing it as the loveliest work of Kate’s sparse but uncompromising career.”

“Everything that’s lost can return in imagination”: Toronto Globe and Mail

3/4 and ‘Disc of the Week’ from Robert Everett-Green in the Toronto Globe and Mail:

mundane personal experience has never been a big subject for Bush, who prefers situations where her imagination can run without stumbling over too much imposed reality. And why not? Shakespeare had no first-hand knowledge of Venice, Kafka never travelled to America and Jules Verne did not visit the moon. Someone else in her shoes might have made the snow and ice a backdrop for romantic scenarios … Bush prefers to engage with the stuff itself … Bush isn’t playing for laughs. She’s going for the big dead-of-night realization, that comes when the world’s asleep and everything that’s lost can return in imagination, close but unreachable … Bush’s music emulates a jazz piano trio at 3 a.m., without the jazz. It’s reflective and spacious … a few recurring cadences on her piano might have been imported from Arvo Part’s austere religious music. Most of the album has a hushed, night-world feeling to it … But her characteristic soprano yowl is hardly evident on this disc. To really like 50 Words for Snow, you’ve got to be keen on records that just simmer along, and that build a case through time and repetition. I find Bush’s repeated piano tunelets weak fuel for a song of eight or nine minutes, but I respect what she does otherwise, the guts and the focus and – sometimes – the lean beauty of it.”

“A perfect isle of seclusion”: The Tune

4/5 from Alex Hall at The Tune:

For an artist who has recorded for over 30 years, simply staying relevant is no slight feat. For Kate Bush relevancy is not an issue, because 50 Words for Snow molds her body of work just as effectively as some of her great ’80s albums. … and while she plays with the concept more subtly in some songs it is still always present. Snow is what unites this album when it threatens to dismantle itself … 50 Words for Snow finds the measure of its success in how well it can sustain that atmosphere … my appreciation of the album had less to do with the songwriting and more to do with its artistic situation. The listener cannot always be enveloped in a perfect world of falling snow, but for the times when nature would seem to beckon him to imagine it … this record transports him completely. The contrast between Bush’s dark, rich vocals and virginal snow is immense. To emphasize it more these recordings include young, high-range male voices, including Bush’s son Albert, who sings with the beauty only something as transitory as snow could represent … Piano dominates this album, which not only makes it a more gentle work but also helps Bush extend her “art rock” persona to jazz and classical music … That’s another thing: none of these tracks could exist by themselves, both because of the similarity of their content and their length. It’s a treat when an artist releases something so cohesive, because the listener’s only option is to sit down with the record and play it from top to bottom … In my mind 50 Words for Snow was an imagined concert after a long spell of looking out my window to see snow depopulating the streets and sidewalks … Something like this is so perfect now, because an album about snow translates well when there’s actual snow around. In passing time, when months get warmer and drier, I fear that this record may not mean as much. However, it could be that whatever the weather, 50 Words for Snow stands a perfect isle of seclusion, where one can always retreat to when the air gets too sticky or the music too loud.”

“It nails the theme”: Retro/Active

7/10 from Dan Retro/Active:

an interesting album. On one hand, there’s isn’t anything that blows you away, but for what it is aiming for, to be an album in the backdrop of snow, it nails the theme. But it’s also not the most exciting album, with a lack of contrast, and if you’re looking for a pop hit, I don’t know of any that clock over 6 minutes besides Bohemian Rhapsody. The album is solid though, and pleasant nonetheless.”

“Pretty songs can’t make up for long-winded weirdness”: Newsday

Steve Knopper at Newsday:

a song about getting it on with a snowman … one of several jarring, unpredictable moments on veteran British singer-songwriter and pop experimentalist Kate Bush’s second album of 2011 … Frequently the spacey piano arrangements, stately backup choir and Elton John cameo … give these seven long songs a certain ethereal beauty. But the album contains too many interminable clunkers, like the repetitive eight-minute title track…”

“A complete delight”: Howl

Honor Clement-Hayes at Howl:

As one of Stephen’s 10 squillion Twitter followers, I felt like I’d got the inside scoop when he announced that he was recording with Kate Bush. I wasn’t, obviously. But I felt like I’d discovered an incredible secret. That’s kind of how I feel when I listen to this album. It’s like entering someone’s head when they aren’t looking and swimming around in their thoughts. Kate’s music has always felt very close and intimate, like she’s whispering in your ear, singing just for you … She’s over 50 now, but THAT VOICE is still childlike and playful and it’s just a complete delight to hear in this time of Beiber and Chipmunk and all the other thousand dead-faced clones. Robber’s Veil. Ankle Breaker. Simmer Glisten. Deep and Hidden. Bad for Trains. Vanishing World. Lose yourself in this album for a while, and leave it feeling refreshed and separated from the loud reality of life.”

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