My 2012 started with Kate Bush. More accurately, my 2011 ended with it, as the last album of that year I truly immersed myself in was her frosty, avant garde pop album 50 Words for Snow. And it’s kind of a weird album—there’s a song about having a sex with a snowman that comes to life, just for reference. But it’s also gorgeous, and it reminds me of Talk Talk’s more atmospheric records. It also reminded me that I needed more Kate Bush on vinyl.
I ended up picking up The Dreaming early on that year as a random but fortuitous find. Just the year prior I had spent a lot of time listening to Hounds of Love while working on a list of the Best Songs of the ’80s, and when another writer nominated “Sat In Your Lap,” which features a pretty wacky video that includes strange choreography and sets, I became drawn to this album. And it’s a very weird album, I should note (as did a friend and former boss of mine recently).
The Dreaming balances a lot of really ambitious ideas in some of the most progressive pop songwriting of the ’80s. It’s art-pop wherein the “art” is the part you emphasize. There’s a conceptual thread about Houdini, a song with donkey noises, references to Australian aboriginal music, and a bank heist. There’s also a song about war called “Pull Out the Pin” that stands as one of her most chilling compositions, particularly when she yells “I love liiife!”
It’s a weird album, but it’s also innovative in a way that other artists would unlikely be bold enough to attempt. I repeat: donkey noises. Having recently resumed writing songs, however, I find myself mesmerized by Bush’s lyric writing ability. If I ever manage to put together a set of words that sound as amazing as hers, I’d probably consider it a fluke, but it’s a goal worth pursuing, anyhow.
As beginnings of years go, you could do worse than to have Kate Bush mark the occasion. It wasn’t the only album of hers I picked up in 2012 either, but I’ll get to that later.
P.S. I got a new phone so my pictures are going to be so much better from now on.
Sound Quality: Great