You may have met Kate Bush after getting emotional about “that scene” from the fourth season of Stranger Things, or you’re a new fan who wants a little push to discover other songs in the singer's discography. That's why we've selected 5 songs from different moments in Kate's career, so you can get to know a little more about the artist's musical facets, which include features with Prince and Peter Gabriel, as well as unusual lyrics and eccentric productions.
Before we give 5 suggestions besides Running Up That Hill — which returned to the Billboard charts after 37 years of its release thanks to Stranger Things —, let's get to know a little about the singer, songwriter, and producer. Kate Bush was born in a small town in Kent, England in 1958. At the age of 11, she started writing song lyrics and a few years later was discovered by Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who helped her produce demo recordings of her songs. Her debut song Wuthering Heights reached number one on the UK Singles Chart for 4 weeks, making her the first woman to achieve that with a self-written song.
With more than 100 songs released, which portray the most diverse themes, including tributes to important characters in her life to invented stories and metaphors, here are 5 songs for you to know a little more about Kate Bush:
During her nearly two-year contract with British label EMI, Kate recorded over 200 demos which, after a meticulous selection, became her debut album The Kick Inside. Moving is one of the most outstanding songs on vinyl, either because of Kate's vocal flexibility, which fluctuates between middle and high notes that border on whistles, or because of the lyrical creativity, always very well crafted by the singer. Impressively, in live performances, Kate, who at the time of release was only 19 years old, reached the notes without any apparent difficulty, which since the first glance impressed a large part of the audience.
Moving is an explicit homage to Lindsay Kemp, Kate’s mime teacher. According to the singer, it was inevitable to talk about him in the song, since her body expression and the act of moving were extremely influenced by the mentor, almost molded like a liquid. In addition, to contextualize the liquidity of the being, Kate added a sample of humpback whale sounds to the first 10 seconds of the song. This introduction works as an immersion into the universe conceived by the composer not only in this track but also for the entire album, considering that Moving is the first track of The Kick Inside.
2. Hammer Horror
Hammer Horror, the lead single from her second album Lionheart, from 1978, tells the fantastic story of two friends. One of them, an actor slated to play the hunchback of Notre Dame, spends a lot of time rehearsing for the play and unexpectedly dies before the show. To replace him, his friend steps in and plays the protagonist. The narrative construction of the song is somewhat curious, considering that the narrator of the story is cursed by the late actor, who was jealous of his replacement. This story was inspired by James Cagney, who played Lon Chaney in “Man of A Thousand Faces”.
On her third album, Never For Ever, Kate sought to explore her independence as a co-producer, unlike her second album, Lionheart, in which EMI producers influenced the creation of many songs, making the artist feel like in a cast.
The story of Babooshka, the main track of Never For Ever, is a third-person narrative about a frustrated wife who believes her husband is about to cheat on her. As a kind of fidelity test, the woman writes letters to her husband signing with the pseudonym Babooshka. According to the plot created by Bush, this mysterious woman in the letters would be much younger than the wife and would have easily attracted the man’s attention. To understand a little more about this narrative, the creation of a music video was essential, using light and shadow, as well as visual and sound effects—such as the breaking of glass to symbolize the ruptures of the relationship. Babooshka was part of the UK Charts for 10 weeks and was among the top 20 selling singles of the year 1980, making Kate the first British solo artist in history to reach No.1 album.
4. Get Out of My House
Considered Bush's most experimental album, compared to her other creations, The Dreaming can be considered a necessary album in Kate's career that, in many ways, was underrated by critics. Many tracks on the vinyl released in 1982 include criticisms about politics and social conflicts, such as There Goes A Tenner which talks about gun crime, and Pull Out The Pin, with direct references to the Vietnam War.
The closing track of the album, Get Out of My House had a different context for the creation. In one of her writings to The Garden, a magazine focused on the singer's testimonials, Kate revealed that she was inspired by reading The Shining, which according to her was the literary work that made her fear the most. To recreate the feeling of unconscious but present terror that Kate felt whilst reading the book, the artist created metaphors relating one to a house, giving the idea, throughout the song, that someone is about to enter, with no previous warning.
The participation of Paddy Bush, Kate's older brother, was essential in creating the song. His backing vocals, in conjunction with the work of sound engineer Paul Hardiman, created sounds similar to those of a donkey. This sound design has the objective of causing estrangement to the listener, by giving the sensation of something unknown approaching, without projection of removal. Because there is no visual feedback created by a video clip, the listener's imagination is very welcome, as the entire narrative is around the listener themself and how they perceive their interpersonal relationships.
5. Why Should I Love You?
Part of her seventh album, The Red Shoes, released in 1993, Why Should I Love You? is one of the songs that took the longest to get the way Kate had envisioned. During the beginning of the album's production, the singer's life was beset by many losses, which influenced not only her personal but professional life as well. The death of loved ones and friends, including her mother and members of her band, interrupted Kate’s creative process, and even after resumed, these events were still present as irreparable marks. The Red Shoes is above all one of Bush's most intimate albums, considering the vulnerability she found herself in during the creative process.
Regarding Why Should I Love You?, we can have a slightly lighter view of the narrative proposed by Kate. During the lyrics, the composer wanted to work on romantic love and how it, even if irrational, can be explained with small metaphors. The production of this track is one of, if not the longest in Kate's discography, considering the more than two years that it took to complete. After recording the basic instrumental and vocals at Abbey Road Studios, the singer sent the demo to Prince — star of Purple Rain and Kiss — to add back vocals. When given back, the track was completely modified. To return to the planned form, rearrangements were made, in addition to back vocals made by comedian Lenny Henry, a good friend of Kate.
The article above was written by Isabela Tumolo and edited by Carolina Azevedo. Like this type of content? Check out Her Campus Cásper Líbero for more!