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Thursday, July 10, 2014

50 Words For Kate: # 48 - Kicking

When Kate Bush began writing songs as a young teenager she had one simple ambition: to make an album. She wasn't interested in fame and fortune, didn't care about chart positions and celebrity status, she just wanted to hear her music professionally produced and pressed into grooves on a piece of black vinyl. Her wish came true and The Kick Inside stands as one of the most individual and remarkable debuts in the history of pop.


It was a different time, the road to stardom for young artists did not lie in a gargantuan queue for an X Factor audition. EMI signed Kate at 16, alerted to her talent by Dave Gilmour, but chose to let her develop as an artist rather than thrust her into the spotlight at such a tender age. Can you imagine that happening today? This wise investment would pay huge dividends, as Kate amassed a vast number of songs to choose from and honed the dance skills that would have such an impact on how she presented her material to the world.

One of the joys of Kate's music is the weird and wonderful places she takes you to through her songs. She has a magpie ability to steal inspiration from a myriad of sources, from the everyday mundane to the deeply spiritual. A big misconception about Kate is that she is a creature of fantasy, when her songs are firmly rooted in the reality of our own world; it's just that Kate sees it in her own special way.


On The Kick Inside we move with whales, hang out in a seedy Berlin nightclub, fly high as a Kite, plead with gunslingers and drop our stockings on a parlour floor. Each song is perfectly crafted, every melody distinct and unique and unorthodox. Every lyric is honed, succinct, elegant. Kate's voice is at turns ethereal and visceral, she is channeling rather than singing.

The title track closes the album and is a touchstone of Kate's special talents. Kate plays the part of Lizie Wan, from the traditional ballad about an incestuous relationship between brother and sister. The kicking she feels is their illicit baby, growing inside her. It is haunting and beautiful and deeply unsettling. This breathtaking performance was from a special filmed for Dutch TV.


Incest, Brontëan ghosts, strange phenomena... Kate had arrived and music would never be the same again.


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2 comments:

  1. I just want to say thank you for writing this blog. I know we are only 3 days in, but I find myself looking forward to reading each new post, love the concept counting down to Before the Dawn. It's already becoming the best part of my day, can't wait to see what comes next, great writing! I feel the excitement building already (I have tickets for September).

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    1. Thanks Brandon, I really appreciate the feedback, it means a lot!

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