måndag 8 augusti 2022

Kate Bush – Never for ever (1980)

I’m coming honey

The cover of the album “Never for ever” shows us Kate in a dress standing on a small hill. Cascades of magical beings are shot out from under her skirt. There is a swan, a goblin, an angry bat, monkeys, a toad, a cat and many more fantastical creatures. Where do they come from? How long have they been there? Why did they leave?

Her third album is her darkest yet. Any record ending with such a dark song as “Breathing” is not a very light album. As taken pointers from Roger Waters, “Breathing” is an angry cry from a little child inside her mother’s womb for clean air to breath. It’s about the fallout from nuclear bombs, but the song may have a new meaning today with the pollution all around us, in the oceans and on the lands.

By this record Kate has taken over the main responsibility as the producer and she hasn’t left it since. I think it is glorious that she owns all important steps in the creation of her world.

The lyrics are dark and often inspired by films. The fantastic “The infant kiss” is inspired by the 1961 film “The innocents”. A governess suspects that the boy child in her care is possessed by a dead man. A fan-made film of shots from the film to the song was appreciated by Kate who said it was exactly those scenes she thought of when she wrote the song.

Almost as great, “The wedding list” is inspired by Truffaut’s 1968 film “The bride wore black” about a bride that avenge the murder of her dead groom. It’s a sad and dark song. It’s chilling.

“Delius (song of summer)” is inspired by the 1968 tv movie “Song of summer”. Sadly the song is not the strongest on the album.

The single “Babooshka” is a nice intro to the album. I love the singing, and the story is ironic and dark. The wife is sad and afraid that her husband is unfaithful. She sends him letters to prove he is in the wrong. He is attracted by the anonymous woman sending him letters, as she is reminding him of his wife before she got sad. In the end the relationship is destroyed by the paranoia.

“Blow away (for Bill)” and “All we ever look for” are also dark. “Egypt” is dreamy and a nice tune, one of the better songs on side A.

The first side of the LP is eerie and gloomy, but it is the second side of the LP that makes this album one of her greatest; four favourites “The wedding list”, “The infant kiss”, “Army dreamers” and “Breathing”.

I am not a big fan of the rocker “Violin”, I am not sure what she was thinking there. The sixth track is a short instrumental that prepare us for the majestic ending of the album. A nice touch.

The two last songs are very strong, “Army dreamers”, a sad lament over a dead son and the nightmarish “Breathing”.  Strong indeed.

Through the record Kate mostly sings with her early career high tones. I like them a lot, but you can hear her voice slowly maturing and I do love her older matured voice later in her life… Anyway, it narrowly beats out her debut album. Could it be Kate’s best album, ever for ever? Only time will tell…

My rating: 8/10

Side A:
1. Babooshka
2. Delius (song of summer)
3. Blow away (for Bill)
4. All we ever look for
5. Egypt

Side B:
1. The wedding list
2. Violin
3. The infant kiss
4. Night scented stock
5. Army dreamers
6. Breathing

Best songs: “Babooshka”, “Egypt”, “Breathing”, “The infant kiss”, “The wedding list” and “Army dreamers”

Produced by: Kate Bush, Jon Kelly

Released: September 8, 1980

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

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