Saturday, April 15, 2006

Out On The Wiley, Windy Moors

One of last years most welcome and pleasant surprises was Kate Bush’s lovely and heartfelt Aerial album. Over the last 20 years Bush’s music has managed to carve out a very specific and cherished niche in my music listening universe. Albums like The Kick Inside,The Dreaming, Hounds of Love, the best-of The Whole Story and The Sensual World all managed to swooningly fill that niche. I think one of the most endearing and enduring qualities about these albums is their fierce romanticism, the murmuring undercurrent of something vaguely misty and mythological-- a fairytale whiff of unicorns, witches and rainbows. All is forgiven when you hear what she's done with this. Kate Bush was and continues to be the coolest lady at your local Renaissance Faire-- she knows a little about the black arts and she plays a mean harpsichord. And she won't be handing out Elephant Ears, golden and delightfully doughy though they may be.

When her debut album, The Kick Inside, was released in 1978 she was just a wee 17 years old. Its first single, Wuthering Heights, was a big hit on the International charts, another way of saying it didn’t make much of splash in the U.S. Still, the Germans and various other European countries were hungry for expressive dance in soft focus, so Kate made a video for it.

Now, I honestly adore the video. Really, you should too. Did you check it out? You honestly should. You don’t have to watch it all, just try to make it through first minute to the chorus when things call for a few cartwheels. There’s a Talent Show histrionics about it that I find incredibly charming. There’s also a sweetness and light in witnessing a dreamy teenager bursting onto the scene with a song as odd and rich as Wuthering Heights. It moves her this way.

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