Kate Bush – 50 words for snow (2011)

Melting in my hand

Kate Bush is never still, she has previously done concept albums, “The Hounds of Love” and “Aerial”, and now she has somewhat surprising turned a corner again. Gone are the 4-minute pop songs from her earliest phase. Albeit high class, they are still pop songs. “50 words for snow” includes influences from classical music like renaissance choir music and experimental jazz, and it has long complex songs that make me think about the seventies progressive rock bands like Pink Floyd and Genesis. How exciting!

The songs have haunting lyrics about snow and cold things. Those of us that are engaged and listen with full awareness are rewarded with a wonderful experience. The album is a marvel on the turntable. I listened to it with my head phones.

The album ass only seven songs, but three of them are almost ten minutes or more and the remaining four clocks in at six to eight minutes. Many songs are stripped bare, with voices, and piano the only instruments. We also get some jazz settings with voice, piano, bass and the jazz drum.

After some hard thinking, the modern album this reminds me most of must be Bowie’s “Blackstar”. Both give me strange and eerie, but slightly different, feelings. David’s album is full of dread and death, Kate’s is more of longing.

Kate’s voice is mature, and I love the evolution. It is funny enough similar to David’s journey, from brisk and high singing voices to deeper and more mellow matured. They are both more comforting to my ears.

The duet with Elton John on “Snowed in at Wheeler Street” is stellar. What a discovery! It is truly great. It has a great story about two souls that belong together on a journey through history. The song makes me sad and happy. A jumble of emotions as if from the movie “Brief encounter”. Damn it, it may be her best song yet. Easily in the top five at least.

The song “50 words for snow” is so funny and a testament to Kate’s humour. Kate and the best Stephen Fry give us 50 words for snow for the Eskimo, some real and many made up and silly. Hilarious.

The last song “Among angels” gives us Kate and a piano. Very nice indeed, it’s almost as if you were among them.

My rating: 8/10

Side A:

  1. Snowflake
  2. Lake Tahoe

Side B:

  1. Misty

Side C:

  1. Wild man
  2. Snowed in at Wheeler Street

Side D:

  1. 50 words for snow
  2. Among angels

Best songs: “Snowed in at Wheeler Street” and “Misty”

Produced by: Kate Bush

Media: Remastered 180 gram 2 x vinyl, gatefold, reissued in 2018 (part of Remastered In Vinyl III)

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