Review Summary: It's me; I'm a tree, I'm a wombat. Oh, so cold at the end of your winter.Kate Bush
is best known for being weird, but if you delve beyond her aesthetic and behavioral traits, you find she's a hugely powerful singer with a unique approach to song writing. 1978's The Kick Inside
, Bush's first album and released when she was just 19 years old, is a dynamically varied album which has stood the test of time as one of the defining albums of the 1970s.
When listening to The Kick Inside
, the audience has no doubt of its time period of recording. Rich analogue tone interspersed with moments of digital experimentation defines the aural tone of the album, supported by careful instrument selection and usage. It also goes without saying that Bush's vocals on all the tracks are impeccable; her range and tone is nothing short of astounding. An example being The Saxophone Song's introductory whale singing which segues into piano and acoustic guitar and the gradual layering of drums, guitar and bass, until stabs of saxophone jump out to play call and response with Bush's vocals. Happily though, the sonic qualities of the album don't sound dated to listeners.
One subjectively negative aspect of The Kick Inside
is the pace of the tracks on the album. With all tracks sitting between the spectrum of slow-burner ballads and mid-tempo pop vamps the listener does not encounter variation in pace often, and certainly this will affect some listeners ability to regularly listen to the album as a whole. The counter-argument however being that this IS Kate Bush, and going in expecting anything other than alt-pop is silly.
Wuthering Heights. The penultimate Kate Bush song. The song with THAT film-clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BW3gKKiTvjs). The song that was voted 10th in a poll by Amplifon of the most misheard lyrics of all time ("It's me; I'm a tree, I'm a wombat. Oh, so cold at the end of your winter"). The song that made Deborah Harry's solo career falter start began. You can't discuss Kate Bush without discussing Wuthering Heights. Wuthering Heights is one of the defining songs of the 1970s. A quirky piece based on the Emily Bronte novel of the same name, it's written from the perspective of Cathy's ghost as she floats outside of her [living] partner's window, haunting him. Weird. No#1 in seven countries and one of the top three played songs of 1978. Clocking in at 4:29 and including both the extensive use of synthesizer, orchestral percussion and a 90 second guitar solo it was a breath of fresh air to the pop world. A risky single that solidified her fan-base in one quirky, asparagus-dance move.
For those looking for an example of where female-driven pop music started to get momentum, where it began to define itself, you can go no further than The Kick Inside
. Lyrically sophisticated, aurally dyanmic and with flawless production, Kate Bush's mark on the pop would would've been amazing if this was her only release, however and happily, this was just the start of something special.