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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

50 Words For Kate: #14 - Bouncing

As a music addict who was also once involved on the retail side, I have always been interested in how an artist chooses to market their work. It is a pretty universal rule that ahead of an album, you release your strongest and/or most radio-friendly track as a single. The hope is that you will have a big hit, which will then translate to interest in the album and, most importantly, more sales. So selecting which song should be an album's cheerleader can be a tricky task. It clearly was for Kate Bush when it came to selecting the first single from The Red Shoes.

When the official release was finally announced, the plan was for Eat The Music to be the first single. In the UK, EMI duly sent out promo copies and began pressing the single.

Then, at the eleventh hour, Kate changed her mind. EMI tried to recall all the copies of Eat The Music it had sent out and halted the presses, but seventeen 7" singles escaped. These precious discs are by far the most desirable Kate collectable. It is on my eternal Christmas list! 

The song itself is a bouncy little number, with Kate using fruit as a metaphor as she explores love, relationships and all the squishiness that implies. Kate's brother, Paddy, had introduced her to Madacasgan music and their national instrument, the valiha, is prominently featured on the track. The rhythms are very unusual to a Western ear and perhaps that's why Kate thought it might be risky as a single. Eat The Music remained, as planned, the first single in the USA and would eventually get released in other territories (but not the UK), including with a scratch and sniff sleeve in Australia!

Kate had been playing the new album to friends and they had been taken with a jolly number that opened the album, called Rubberband Girl.

EMI scrambled to change their promotional plans, which might explain how this curiosity ended up being sent out to radio stations a few weeks before release...

When we finally got to hear the song itself, it had a pretty straightforward (by Kate's standards) band sound. The lyrics were a witty musing on how hard it is to stand by your beliefs, when it's so much easier to bend your will and, well, twang like a rubber band. Kate made a special music video of the song for the US market, which is perhaps the closest we'll ever get to seeing her as a rock chick!

The song peaked at number 12 on the UK charts, a respectable showing. We had now heard three wildly different tracks from the forthcoming album, Kate was clearly in an experimental mood. No change there then...

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