Kate Bush
The Dreaming


5.0
classic

Review

by Fluorine USER (5 Reviews)
June 13th, 2011 | 6899 replies | 51,999 views


Release Date: 1982 | Tracklist

Review Summary: HEEE-HAAAAWWWWW HEEE-HAWWWWWWWWW

8 of 8 thought this review was well written

One thing that has often impressed me in the songwriting of Kate Bush is how form always seems to match function. Whatever she may be singing about, whatever character she may be evoking, the songs really come to life in the production and compositional extras thrown in. It was in The Dreaming that Bush’s songwriting acumen came into fruition. The Kick Inside and Lionheart featured Kate as a young artist still under the thumb of her record label. She was thankfully given more freedom for her 1980 album Never For Ever, and it showed. There was a greater eclecticism in the instrumentation and more unconventionality in the structure of these songs (see: Delius, Army Dreamers), and while many of these songs were still rooted in piano-led theatrics, Bush brought in the spanking new Fairlight CMI sampler to flesh out the songs in more interesting ways.

By 1982, Bush was in almost full control of her music and had amassed enough experience to make something truly phenomenal, so she did. The Dreaming, more than any other album in her discography, demonstrates what is so amazing about Bush and why she remains a great inspiration to many songwriters today. While these songs are certainly forward-thinking, they are also very individualistic and expressionist in a way that was very unusual in the world of popular music at the time. Kate was always expressive in her voice and performances before, but never like she was here. These were songs only Kate Bush could have conceived, yet many of these songs remain very impersonal.

This was the last Kate Bush album to be free of any sort of theme. Instead, these songs read like standalone character studies. We have the paradoxical lamentations of a scholar in Sat in Your Lap, the story of a bank robbery gone awry in There Goes a Tenner, and the plights of a Vietcong resistance soldier and Aboriginal Australians in Pull Out the Pin and The Dreaming respectively. Meanwhile, Kate, like a true actress, gets underneath the subject matter of these songs and immerses herself and her arrangements in these themes. Sat in Your Lap evokes a sort of chaotic atmosphere with its jerky rhythms and abrupt transitions as its speaker restlessly tries to pursue knowledge and truth while constantly being sidetracked and intimidated by just how much there is to find out. The title track finds Bush taking on authentic Australian vernacular among a hazy drone of didgeridoo, uncomfortable chanting voices, and stomping percussion. In There Goes a Tenner, Bush becomes a cockney Englishman, and the music is simultaneously swift and subdued, suitable for a bank heist.

These sorts of affectations make their way in every song across the album to the point where they become perfect, if not literal, representations of what these songs stand for. It would then be easy for this album to slip into a sort of cheesiness, but it never does. It’s far too crafty and beautiful for that. The prime cases go to the last three cuts on the album. These songs are about as dramatic as Kate gets. That’s not to say they’re grandiose. In fact, All the Love and Houdini are among the simplest, quietest, and most unassuming songs here. However, the former features a beautiful piano line, haunting and isolated background singing, and a longing and regretful refrain backed by multiple sighs behind Kate’s singing of “All the love we could have given.” Houdini, in contrast, accomplishes the stunt with beautiful string arrangements, the Fairlight, and great storytelling. Both of these tracks are very affecting, and then the album hits you with the wallop that is Get Out of My House. This song brings back the chaotic nature and pounding drums of Sat in Your Lap, but this time in a more sinister environment. It’s actually a very unsettling portrayal of denial and reclusive escapism to the extent that Kate imagines herself to be a mule to plead total ignorance as the opposition (disturbing male voice provided by her brother) inevitably imposes himself on her. Donkey noises ensue.

In a sort of collective retrospect, her subsequent album Hounds of Love found Bush at her commercial, critical, and artistic peak. I’ll admit that Hounds of Love is an untouchable album, but The Dreaming is just as astounding. It is a testament to Kate Bush’s unique talent and her innovative and evocative approach to songwriting. The Dreaming was unrivaled in its time, and remains a beacon of influence now. The songs here are each perfect, insightful creations from Kate Bush’s wandering mind, the beginning of something great.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Fluorine
June 13th 2011



104 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

For years I've felt that this album desperately needed a review. I finally stepped up and did it myself. If it reads like a college essay, that's beause it's all I know.

My first review. Yeh...

foreverendeared
June 13th 2011



14678 Comments


Great review.

Jethro42
June 13th 2011



12386 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Very well written, keep it up. Kate is a goddess.

Gyromania
June 13th 2011



15459 Comments


Very good review, my friend. Also glad to see a Bush fan writing about Bush =] pos.

Fluorine
June 13th 2011



104 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks, peeps.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
June 14th 2011



17920 Comments


this is a great review

Hartley
June 14th 2011



7 Comments


Kate Bush is all kinds of awesome, and this is a great album

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
June 14th 2011



3765 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh hey, very nice.

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Chrisjon89
June 14th 2011



3468 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. Crazy album but I love it.

Fugue
June 14th 2011



7352 Comments


this needed a review so badly, nice job!

Fugue
June 14th 2011



7352 Comments


Also Get Out Of My House is the best Kate Bush song hands down.

Fluorine
June 14th 2011



104 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'd say it's on the same (top) level as Running Up That Hill and Cloudbusting.

yots
June 21st 2011



5 Comments


Finally a review of this one. Definitely one of my favourite Bush albums.

KILL
October 1st 2011



71100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

only heard that 1 album

Digging: David Axelrod - Song of Innocence

KILL
October 1st 2011



71100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

are the riffs tech or metallica esque

KILL
October 1st 2011



71100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

dude no he was with annie haslam back then

Fugue
October 1st 2011



7352 Comments


She did one tour in 1979/80, that was it.

KILL
October 1st 2011



71100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i bet it ruled

jefflebowski
December 3rd 2011



7549 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this has dated badly in many places

Digging: Dungen - Ta Det Lugnt

KILL
December 3rd 2011



71100 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fuck you



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