tisdag 13 december 2022

Kate Bush - 50 Words for Snow (2011)

Melting in my hand

Kate Bush is evolving, slowly but still evolving. Her most recent album is breaking new ground. She has previously done concept albums, “The Hounds of Love” and “Aerial”, and now she has somewhat surprising given us a concept album about snow. Seven songs "set against a background of falling snow". The album title is inspired by the Eskimo people who have 50 words for snow.

This feels like such a mature album. Gone are the 4-minute pop songs from her earliest phase. Albeit high class, they are still “only” pop songs, you know. An evolution of the format was maybe not needed, but welcomed.

“50 words for snow” includes influences from experimental jazz and classical music like renaissance choir music. 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. It was like walking into a snowy meadow together with Kate. The mood of the album putted me into something like a trance.

The album has only seven songs, but with a total run time of 65 minutes there are songs running longer than ten minutes and the remaining are all at least six minutes each. Many songs are stripped bare, with voices only accompanied by a piano. We also get some jazz settings with voice, piano, bass and the jazz drum.

After some soul searching I am struck by the realisation that this album reminds me of Bowie’s “Blackstar”. Both give me a strange and eerie feeling, but in a slightly different way. 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 similar to the journey of David’s, from brisk and high singing voices to deeper and mellower matured. Their older voices are both more comforting to my ears.

The duet with Elton John on “Snowed in at Wheeler Street” is stellar. What a discovery! 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

Released: Released 21, 2011

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

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