NOW I get all the hubbub for Kate Bush.
Mind you, I’m not instantly transformed into a far greater fan of her music than I have been. I have no intention to start swimming in her music. But having seen the new BBC doc on her, I can understand why some people are moved to.
Although I soon morphed into a huge collector, early on, Elvis Costello’s songs struck me in some similar ways. The lyrics were heavy on the obtuse, were rife with Britishisms, and I didn’t consider it worth the effort to understand many of them. The difference being that I was extremely drawn in by the music of the Elvis songs, and with the Kate music prior to Hounds of Love, not only was I not drawn into it, some aspects of it majorly put me off. The high-pitched vocals can be wince-ably painful to me, and I prefer melodies which I can apprehend at once and engage with, and Kate’s earlier melodies tend to stray. If she’s going to compose songs that are written “straight through” they need to grab me, such as Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” does, written, notably, when he was 16.
I found Tori Amos’s comments in this Kate doc reinforced some points I made back in March in a blog post pertaining to Kate’s music, and why I am convinced Tori was never copying Kate as many are convinced. Tori said the radio had not been playing much Kate early in Kate’s career, then Tori described when she was in her car when she first heard “Running Up The Hill” and was so struck by it she had to pull over and listen to it. Wikipedia says the RUTH came out in November 1985 when Tori was 22, so there’s some further evidence that Tori never and in no way ever constructed her style in the mold of Kate.
Why some people had become as taken by the music of Kate Bush has long been a mystery to me. I won’t be joining them anytime soon, but I get it now.