Kate Bush Returns with 'Aerial'

Detail from Aerial

hide captionKate Bush's new album is her first in a decade.

Kate Bush's new CD, Aerial is her first recording in more than a decade. Bush was best known for her 1977 smash hit song, "Wuthering Heights." Christian Bordal offers a review of Aerial.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. KATE BUSH: (Singing) I love the way that you spin the ball. Sweet. Roll that ball...

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

Kate Bush was still a teen-ager when she unexpectedly burst onto the pop music scene almost 30 years ago with the smash-hit song "Wuthering Heights." Now she's put out her eighth CD. It's called "Aerial." It's her first new release in a dozen years. Music critic Christian Bordal has this review.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. BUSH: (Singing) I found a book on how to be invisible.

CHRISTIAN BORDAL reporting:

When she first arrived at the age of 19, famously discovered by David Gilmore of Pink Floyd, Kate Bush was like a beautiful alien, a wild, untamed musical creature. With her literate lyrics and her high-pitched wailing voice, I don't think even her label, EMI, expected her to be anything more than a fringe artist. But Bush's very first single, "Wuthering Heights," went straight to number one on the British charts and stayed there for four weeks. She never looked back.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. BUSH: (Singing) ...stay with me. I'm happy as ...(unintelligible). Ho, ho, ho, ho. (Unintelligible) no, ho, ho, ho, ho.

BORDAL: In the last 20 years Kate Bush has grown up. Her music has become more sophisticated. It's taken on a kind of Peter Gabriel gloss of perfection. And just like Gabriel, who she's worked with on a number of occasions, she famously spends more and more time in the studio on each record getting exactly what she wants.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. BUSH: (Singing) Ooh, who is that girl? Joanni, Joanni wears a golden cross. And she looks so beautiful in her armour.

BORDAL: Of course, there's a tension between the wild, untamed Kate Bush of her early career and the craftsman she's become. At first listen, her latest record, "Aerial," has a muted, suppressed quality. There's a high gloss that feels like it's laying everything down, like a TV actor with not a hair out of place. And being a fan of the early Kate, I admit to at least a temporary frustration with this painstakingly crafted music.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. BUSH: (Singing) And her completed infatuation by your calculation. Why...

BORDAL: But if "Aerial" is at first blush frustrating to old fans, the album rewards subsequent and more careful listening. If you're willing to really sit down and pay attention, all kinds of subtle beauty and inspiration will begin to unfold for you. One of my favorite songs on the record uses the mathematical symbol "Pi" as its title. In it, Bush describes a man who loves numbers, and she actually sings about a hundred decimal places into the famous fraction.

(Soundbite of "Pi")

Ms. BUSH: (Singing) 3.14159.

BORDAL: It's been 12 years since Kate Bush's last release, but the famously reclusive artist certainly hasn't spent all that time working on this new record. She's become a mother. In fact, the CD contains a rather cloying love song to her son, Bertie. And she's been, by her own description, living a normal life, and gentle, poetic insight into normal life is mostly what fills up the two CDs of this latest Kate Bush album.

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. BUSH: (Singing) Somewhere in between the ...(unintelligible) wait and wait.

CHADWICK: Music critic Christian Bordal reviewing Kate Bush's new album, "Aerial."

(Soundbite of song)

Ms. BUSH: (Singing) ...the day arrives. Somewhere in between the sea and darkened clouds, somewhere in between what the ...(unintelligible) silent say.

CHADWICK: I'm Alex Chadwick. Stay with us on DAY TO DAY from NPR News.

Copyright © 2005 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Purchase Featured Music

Aerial

Purchase Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: Aerial
  • Artist: Kate Bush
  • Label: Sony
  • Released: 2005
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.