Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Red Shoes - Kate Bush

I wrote this article for the Rutgers College newspaper (The Targum), nearly 100 years ago (several years after the release of The Red Shoes); a little childish, it seems to appreciate The Red Shoes more than I remember. What I do recall is dismissing the LP for quite some time, finding it disappointing, even subpar. It has only been in recent years that the album and I have reconciled, particularly incredibly textured songs like "Moments of Pleasure": 

There are two types in this world - those who get KB, and those who don't. Bjork produces similar polarity, and if Ms Gottmasdottir doesn't have the complete KB in her collection, I'll eat my own head. People who don't get Kate should, of course, be rounded up and sent to Camp CT-Scan, just to see if something is there (never mind, we don't want you anyway). NOT getting Kate is like saying, "I don't like The Beatles". Whenever I hear someone say those 5 words, a red mist descends and I want to pull out hair (not mine, theirs) or say what I really think: You are a stupid asshole. Those who say, "Oh, isn't she all witchy-woo and weird?" as if that's cause enough not to listen, are bobbing up and down with their car radios blasting [replace 90's equivalent with Taylor Swift]. Kind of like saying that Kraft American Singles are your favorite cheese.  Kate is not witchy-woo (I don't even know what that means), she's an innovator, a true soul singer (in that what she does touches a part of you that very few others reach) and the Greatest Living Englishwoman. Sorry, carried away [Today she may tie J.K. Rowling]. 

Anyway, The Red Shoes. Kate (may I call you Kate? Please say yes, I'm not a stalker or anything, though I have collected hair from your drain cover, but only for personal use) has this habit of entering  a studio, making endless cups of tea, twiddling about with her piano for, say, 8 years, and then eventually releasing an album. Time between LP's has become greater and greater and now we're still waiting for a follow up to this, her last. At Kate's current rate, we can expect something by the time monkeys rule the earth and Charlton Heston's throws a hissy fit at the Statue of Liberty. Kate, I love you, but with all due respect, get your finger out. We're desperate out here. In an age when Madonna is considered the great creative female force in music, you are sorely missed, you selfish thing. What do you want? A life? Sorry, love, you've made your bed and now you've got to get out there and show everyone else what they should be doing. And if you don't, by thunder, I'll put on a brunette wig and do it myself (oh, if only I had talent, I'd show the bitches). Oh, The Red Shoes: The Red Shoes is a concept album, or if not, then it's a....keep with me, I'm thinking...a "themed album based around the feelings of loss, pleasure and ecstasy." It's an extremely accessible collection of songs, more so than any other album in her canon (more so than even Hounds Of Love, I'd say, but then, I do have a chronic personality disorder). 

Once again, an array of sonic armory (I nicked that phrase off Lester Bangs) is at hand to highlight Kate's already Technicolor palette. Ethnic instrumentation, vocal ticks, strings, Prince, you name it, it's probably there somewhere. So we go from the title track, a Celtic-Middle Eastern bonkers-athon that's as catchy as anything Miss B's ever made, to the high point of the album, and certainly one of Kate's highlights full stop, "Moments Of Pleasure." Here's Kate singing about purely personal, well, moments of pleasure, from her life, but somehow making them part of your life by the time the song is over, and you don't even know Smurf. (I do hope it's a real Smurf; it would be truly avant-garde if Kate were recording with tiny blue Scandinavian gnomes. Sweeping, private, accessible,intimate, commercial, arty, worldly, English. Everything that Kate Bush is, of course.