Audio post with 2 notes - Played 69 times
Kate Bush, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” 2012 Remix
Cut from the NBC broadcast, a weird Director’s Cut-like castoff. Happy to have it, I guess. *shrug*
Gabriel and the Hounds covers Kate Bush’s “Hounds of Love” (if you were at last week’s Largehearted Lit event, you saw Gabe Levine perform a solo version of this).
Audio post with 22 notes - Played 59 times
Kate Bush, “Moments of Pleasure” (Director’s Cut)
The snow, the view of Manhattan across the river, the feeling wistful for nothing and no reason, et. al., have had me listening to both the original The Red Shoes and reworked Director’s Cut versions of this one today. I’ve rather successfully avoided playing favorites between the tracks on DC and their older counterparts, but I think I’m ready to say that I decidedly prefer “Moments of Pleasure” 2.0.
Aside from the obviously stripped-down arrangement (lush strings have been eliminated, the piano is played delicately), the lyrics of the chorus have been excised entirely. “Just being alive/it can really hurt/and these moments given/are a gift from time/Just let us try/to give these moments back/to those we love/to those who will survive.” That’s a lovely bit of writing, and I missed these lines on my first few listens of the new version.
But the music remains, and over it comes a warm (yet distant-sounding) swell of humming. While singing along, these passages inevitably trip me up; I don’t think of or intuit the notes as hums, but rather default to my memory of the removed lyrics. The problem is that the melody here is not analogous to the old chorus; the suggestion of those lyrics and their sentiment exists, but only as a vague astral, and a line can’t really be drawn between the two. By the second iteration of the hums, I don’t bother to sing along. Rather, I just give myself over to the sweep of their oaky timbre, so in harmony with the way Bush extends her phrasing and really allows herself to inhabit each line of lyric and bar of music. I’m never not reminded of Mass.
Which, in many ways, is correct. The new cut of “Moments of Pleasure” embodies the ceremony of memory, whereas the original had more to do with a pledge to it. Another lyric that has been dropped is “Here come the hills of time,” excised, I would posit, because those hills have come and gone in the eighteen years since the song was first recorded.
Appropriately, that line (and now its palpable absence) comes directly following the infamous “I can hear my mother saying/’Every old sock meets and old shoe.’” Popular opinion has it that “Moments of Pleasure” was, in part, written as an elegy to Bush’s mother. In interviews promoting Director’s Cut, though, Bush made clear that her mother was still alive when she wrote the song, and she only included the line because of her attachment to the sentiment. (The true elegiac song mourning her mother is “A Coral Room,” from Aerial.) In the reworked version, though, it’s clear that this line is doing the work now that so many thought it was originally, and it’s bracing.
The whole affair is bookended by touches that further suggest that this “Moments of Pleasure” is indeed the product of compulsive (rather than forceful) reverie. Before the first chords are played, there is the faint sound of a needle running across worn vinyl; quiet cracks of warped imperfection as memory marks, creating a psychic filter to enhance the production, rather than something technical.
At the song’s end, after Bush’s resume of dear ones in small, specific memories, another key lyric is dropped: “Hey, there, Bill, would you turn the lights up?” In the original, this line marks a definitive end to what’s preceded—Bush is stepping away from what she’s been considering. But on Director’s Cut, she instead progresses the penultimate lyrics (“Hey, there, Michael, do you really love me?”) with a reiterative adjustment: “Did you really love me?” The final syllable is held, plaintively, and the last pensive strokes of the piano resonate softly into silence. The change of tense in that question indicates that an answer will never come, and Bush (along with the listener) seems destined to be suspended in that state of unknowing indefinitely. The chords may resolve, but the mysteries that even memory can’t answer never do.
And, yes, the buildings of New York do look like mountains through the snow.
Photo with 32 notes
JFF, Kate Bush’s beautiful kook of a short film, The Line, the Cross, & the Curve, created for Fake Criterions’s “Double Threats” series.
Post with 8 notes
On December 28, 1979, BBC TV aired something called Kate: Kate Bush Christmas Special 1979. While the actual content of the program has very little to do with the titular holiday, it has surpassed my other holiday favorites (Batman Return, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, the Christmas episode from the first season ofthirtysomething) to become my one absolute “must” every year.
This is for a multitude of reasons (I love her! Bush performances were a rare creature that’s now entirely extinct! Peter Gabriel guests!), but mostly because it is an hour of rippling, unchecked insanity.
With her third album Never For Ever wrapped, Bush was on her way to recording 1982’sThe Dreaming, which is infamous for eliciting flummoxed “UM EXCUSE ME”s from even her most dedicated listeners. Years later, in fact, Bush herself would refer to it as her “I’ve gone mad” album. Viewing and reviewing Kate, it’s fairly obvious that the unhinging was already well underway. So, why don’t we celebrate this cacophony of crazy’s thirty-second birthday by taking a peek at how absurd things actually got, on a scale of one to five Babooshkas, song-by-song? Follow me!
There’s no coming back from this.
Kate Bush, “December Will Be Magic Again”
Here we go again!
Audio post with 2 notes - Played 30 times
Kate Bush, “Among Angels”
This is exactly what I needed.
Thanks for releasing this early, iTunes. See you guys later.
Some Music For Your Morning: NPR Music is streaming Kate Bush’s 50 Words For Snow in its entirety. Enjoy!
Everything is different now.
Photo with 6 notes
Hammered Horrors: Hound of Love & Slaughtered Ohio Cheetah
What a fucking nightmare.
Page 1 of 3