Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by P'NutButter, Mar 4, 2019.
Good God everyone, what are you doing to Lionheart?
Gah - well, I sent mine in. In my defence it's still Friday where I am in Canada so fingers crossed they'll be counted.
This has given me hope that 50 Words for Snow might click with me, one day. But I'm still not there yet.
Since the voting is closed I'll post my averages and the random observations I noted/wrote down as I was working my way through the rate.
The Kick Inside - 7.6
Lionheart - 7.4
Never for Ever - 8.6
The Dreaming - 9.5
Hounds of Love - 9
The Sensual World - 7.9
The Red Shoes - 6.1
Aerial - 7.6
Director's Cut - 5.5
50 Words for Snow - 7.4
The Kick Inside and Lionheart feel like companion pieces. The Kick Inside is clearly superior as an overall album but Lionheart wasn't far behind.
From an outsider perspective in terms of Kate Bush and her discography (I've only listened to scattered tracks and The Kick Inside once before this rate) I have never heard anybody mention/praise Never for Ever like I have The Kick Inside, The Dreaming, or Hounds of Love. Definitely a bit underrated in my opinion
The Dreaming absolutely blew me away upon the first listen. I knew this album was highly praised but I wasn't expecting anything like it actually is.
Around this point (Never for Ever – The Sensual World) in my listening I started giving out 10s like candy so I set a personal restriction. 3 10s per album only except for where I stretched and gave out 4 10s on my favorite album.
The Red Shoes was such a drop in quality from everything before (but especially the string of Never for Ever through Hounds) that it shocked me. It picks up a bit in the middle but the start is rough. At least it's her best 90s album... :) :) :)
Aerial was a return to form but as a full album it's a bit of a commitment to listen to due to its length.
Director's Cut is ugly and I don't know if I'll listen to it again much if at all after this challenge.
50 Words for Snow was a bit of a mixed bag but it had pretty high highs. Can't help but feel like this wasn't the ideal time to be getting into it weather wise. I'm sure it will grow on me when I return in the winter.
I'm abael, and have had an account for about a month, and yes, I had to look up the answer to that question about Girls Aloud.
Coming into this, Kate Bush to me was a person with a lot of name recognition and that one song that was at least a 6/10. Armed with such knowledge, I decided to undertake a ~150 track rate...
So here's MY opinion.
The Kick Inside 6.26 4>8
A lot of people agree that The Kick Inside reveals an artist mature beyond her years; but poor pacing, over-willingness to explore controversial subjects and Kate's fervor to exhibit her vocal ability at questionable times all belie the artists age. As such, production has difficulty tying all of these elements together into something palatable.
Lionheart 5.45 3>8.5
There's improvements across the board with Lionheart, which given the short space between it and the first album is impressive. Unfortunately the songs themselves, which are generally inferior to the first, hold this back from being the step up it should be.
Never For Ever 5.91 3>7.5
While the album itself was alright, As a new listener it left me relieved about the future path of Kate. Personally Baroque Pop is NOT a genre that she should lean too heavily into as it doesn't suit her. A possible future littered with Kate Bush wailing over some decadent orchestral pieces was not one I wanted to listen through. Luckily, she went down the synthesized path further to a more measured style.
The Dreaming 4.50 2>7
Dreaming is the big gamble, Kate Bush is doing it for herself, and as such is doing the most. It's an album which separates the converts, the ones willing to put the time in to transcribe musical genius from the barrage Kate sends at you, from the skeptics, who with one run-through, there's only alarms being heard from this track list, and they're screeching AVOID.
Hounds of Love 5.83 3>9
Hounds of love is a much appreciated refinement on Kate's previous album, and is considered her iconic album. Personally, while much better than Dreaming, track-wise it is clearly split into a nice if somewhat standard beginning, brilliant middle and poor ending. Of all releases it was this one that I came away with a better understanding of both Kate as an artist and what her fans enjoy about her music.
The Sensual World 5.91 4>8
This album was pretty good throughout... That's all.
Red Boots 7.75 5>10
This is as mainstream as you will find Kate Bush, and compared to her contemporaries the album seems a bit dated. Screw all that though, coming from a casual newcomer, it's her best release. Kate retains many of her individual quirks, but allows herself to work within conventional production creating some of her best songs in the process. People who connected with her earlier work may find it a bit lightweight though.
Aerial 5.34 (4.14/6.55) 3>9
12 years... The most interesting aspect of this album is contemplating how spicy it would be if broadcasted live album reactions were a thing in 2005. Just imagining watching a big, old-time fan of Kate Bush, after waiting 12 years, putting disk 1 of Aerial on. The mediocrity of this 38 minutes is AGGRESSIVE. I was shocked at how shocked I became over a disk this lethargic. Starting Disk 2 and I was shocked again. It was as if this was Disk 1 after signing a recording contract and working with capable writers and producers. I suppose it speaks to Kate Bush's legacy that she could release a double album with the leading half relying on sentiment and nothing else. Unfortunately, it casts a pallor over disk 2, who's instrumentation choices and use of naturally occurring sounds suiting much better this pared back, near-easy listening version of Kate. Beholding it all as a unified release is just strange. From my perspective, she released a double album where you're supposed to throw the first half away. Who says Kate Bush isn't avant-garde anymore?
Director's Cut 6.73 2>11
This album reworks albums which, in my opinion, are some of the least in need of reworkings. Only a select few tracks actually are improved in the rework, and just as many deprecated; one extremely so.
50 Words for Snow 4.29 2>8
Kate leverages her legacy of critical admiration for some cheap laughs at the critics that need to contort acclaim out of an album which contains Kate ominously ordering Stephen Fry to name 50 words for snow and a 13 minute song about banging a snowman.
Lets have a fun rate everyone! :)
P.S. I don't know how to use a VPN, so please don't come around and throw things at me.
‘Red Boots’ though.
I'm gutted I didn't manage to get my scores in! Stupid real life getting in the way of PJ life. I will still be following the rate with much enthusiasm though.
My 11 would have been either Cloudbusting or the new vocal version of Wuthering Heights, probably very unoriginal picks but I hope they both do well.
Do ya'll hate Kate in Australia or
Welcome! It's really nice to have a new member in Charts & R-
Ooooooh what some of you have done to these songs. Yikes!
Anyhoo. Voting is officially closed now, I'll accept the scores that came in overnight and the results will kick off Monday afternoon.
I am looking forward to it, and not so much looking forward to being shamed am sure for some of my personal choices!
I think I had to look up the answer to the Girls Aloud question, too. The only songs of theirs I've heard are 'Jump' and 'Sound of the Underground' (or whatever it's called... and can't remember how it goes).
Well after this morning, it seems y'all hate Australian Kate so...
Some of y'all really gave Director's Sludge a higher average than Aerial/50WFS, I-
Oh, by the way, my 'not saying' for 'The Dreaming' is a good 'not saying'. I think you'll be pleased with my scores for that album.
Now that the voting is closed and our messy opinions are coming out might as well join the fun! I'll start by saying I adore Kate and literally made a different scoring template for this rate so I didn't just give everything a 9 or 10. 10's were strictly 11 contenders and 9's were perfect 10's. So if my averages seems off for how gushingly I talk about the albums that's why. Also my averages do not include the extras of the errors. To make sure I wasn't biasing towards one album, I made a whole spreadsheet ranking every song next to each other so I could make sure what I was calling an 8 from the Kick Inside was what I was calling an 8 for Aerial. I think that process really helped me make sure my absolute favorites were well represented and I wasn't giving out a 10 per album just to feel "fair."
The Kick Inside 8.42
10 x 2, 6.5 x 1
This is the first Kate album that I bought after discovering her through my older brother's copy of The Hounds of Love. High school me immediately fell in love and I've never fallen out. It was a hard album to rate cause while it's one of my absolute favorite records, I can also see the growing pains of the debut. "Moving" is probably one of my favorite songs ever, "L'Amour Looks Something Like You" and "Kite" are two of my go-to car sing alongs. Weirdly, some of the oft-cited songs from the album are ones I'm less grabbed by.
9 x 1, 3 x 1
Despite obviously loving early Kate, Lionheart has simply never clicked. A lot of the story telling doesn't land for me and I've always felt he rushed side B feeling of it. I'd take four songs ("Don't Push Your Foot on the Heartbrake," "Fullhouse," "Kashka from Baghdad," and "Hammer Horror") and easily forget the rest. "Wow" can sometimes join that list but other times it feels too trite/on the nose for Kate. I do love the way she takes a bite out of the delivery in "Hammer Horror's" chorus which I see now as a sign of what more she would do later.
Never Forever 6.54
10 x 1, 3 x 1
Opening with that Kate Bush bop, Never Forever is an album in three parts for me. The opening is solid Kate exploring new sonic textures with "Delius" and giving us that piano Kick Inside pop with "Blow Away." "All We Ever Look For" closes out this section in classic Kate fashion: melodies everywhere, heart-wrenching lyrics, and sublime vocals. We then enter the next section, the big sagging middle. I simply don't have a need for any of these songs. "The Wedding List" is the best of the bunch and if I'm in the mood for a good murder narrative I'll give it a spin. However, most of the time I skip right to the last songs. "Army Dreamers" and "Breathing" are stunning examples of Kate's powerful and idiosyncratic writing that face down huge concepts with a distinctly female point of view.
The Dreaming 7.90
10 x 1, 5 x 1
I'm so thankful for this rate because it's when I've finally fallen in love with The Dreaming. Just, wow. "Sat in Your Lap" is a force. I played it recently in my school gym on our big ole speakers before the before school program started and it rattled my whole body. The storytelling throughout the album is imaginative and captivating from the tension of "Pull Out The Pin" to the build of "Night of the Swallow." I think I originally scored "Houdini" a 7 and it just slowly climbed more and more as I listened. The break of "With a kiss, I pass the key" moves my heart just to be walloped by "With your spit, still on my lip." "Get Out of My House" was another challenging song to score. I think on my first few listens it was in a sub 5 area but as I allowed the madness in I fell in love. The donkey bit still takes me out, but gotta love an artist who commits.
Hounds of Love 9.00
10 x 5, 7 x 1
Okay, the stan jumped out a bit. This was a transformative album in my life. It felt like the root of all the artists I loved at the time. It stands shoulder to shoulder with Blue for the most influential album in my listening canon (and in overall favorite albums). Kate's vocal delivery is a pure rush. No matter how grand or thundering the production becomes, she cuts right through with straight emotion. Scoring the Ninth Wave was a test as each piece is so hard to separate from the whole. "Jig of Life" is probably her best moment of using her Irish influence and "The Morning Fog" has made me cry multiple times. In short, a triumph.
The Sensual World 8.45
10 x 4, 6 x 1
Okay, so the stan jumped out and didn't really go back in. As any good arty gay in high school, I finished off my Kate trilogy by buying The Sensual World. After hammering the youthful sensuality and playfulness of The Kick Inside, I was completely knocked for a loop by The Sensual World. The opening of the title track is the aural equivalent of a sexual awakening and didn't really land for me until I had embraced my own sexuality. Speaking of coming to terms with my sexuality: "Love and Anger." I mean what closeted Catholic wouldn't live for lyrics like
If you can't tell your sister
If you can't tell the priest
Cause it's so deep that you don't think you can speak about it
And you tell it to your heart
And you find it in your heart
To let go of these feelings
Just ouch. The middle of the album can definitely hit a point of very good to great without reaching up to the heights of her discography but boy does she bring it all home in the end.
The Red Shoes 6.62
10 x 1, 2 x 1
I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed The Red Shoes. Back in high school when Kate slowly took over my life, I got The Red Shoes after The Sensual World and gave it about three spins before putting it on the shelf and not touching it again. I wanted "Eat the Music" and "Rubberband Girl" to be unstoppable bops but they just weren't. Even now as I've come round to the album more, something in the production in both songs (but "Rubberband Girl" especially) keep me from loving them. I think the lyrics and conceit of "Rubberband Girl" are classic Kate but it simply falls short. Speaking of terrible production choices: "Constellation of the Heart" and "Big Stripey Lie" are an affront to Kate's discography, It's actually when the album goes deeper and more sentimental that Kate shines. "Moments of Pleasure" hit me like a ton of bricks with this re-listen. It's funny to think how unaware high school me was with how soon I would be able to relate to this song.
9 x 2, 3 x 1
Aerial really benefited from me giving every album multiple listens but also definitely suffered from me being sure to compare songs and scores across the albums. This is definitely Kate at her most Adult Contemporary which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but can be a dangerous thing. When her songwriting is as sharp as it is on "King of the Mountain" and "A Coral Room" it's sublime. But when she starts singing about laundry I simply can't get on board. Also can we talk about "Sunset?" What a moment! I really hope it doesn't suffer from being part of A Sky of Honey.
Director's Cut 5.63
9.5 x 1, 0 x 1
I just don't understand this project. Like why? So many of the songs she chose were in no need of a re-do and many of the tweaks she made were a hinderance. Like I understand the excitement of putting out "Flower of the Mountain" but like @1991 said her original lyrics are better. The re-works of "This Woman's Work" and "Moments of Pleasure" are powerful and really lifted the album average out of the dust. I mean the topics those songs touch upon are already so moving but to have an artist revisit them with the space and experience of time shades them with even more meaning. On the flip side, I didn't think I'd use a zero in this rate but then I heard that.
50 Words for Snow 6.00
9 x 1, 2 x 1
I thankfully got to give this a listen during the winter months and found myself opening up to the record much more than I have in the past. There's a strong jazz influence that feels akin to some of Joni's best work that melds jazz, folk, and idiosyncratic singer-songwriter tendencies all together. "Lake Tahoe" and "Misty" stand head and shoulders above the rest of the album while "Snowed In At Wheeler Street" and "50 Words for Snow" are its true nadir. Overall, it's an expected album for an artist like Kate to make at that point in her career. She got to explore the sounds and themes she wanted and stretch the songs to the place she wanted. I wonder how much the winter theme was the strike of a muse or a self-imposed constraint. Now like any good Kate Bush fan, I sit and wait and hope for another offering!
I will scream when Rubberband Girl (New Version) will be the first to fuck off.
This is me giggling at the anxiety my doubts for my 11 have fuelled these past couple of days.
And rightfully so too.
I... don't mind the reworked version of Rubberband Girl, dd
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