Friday, May 13, 2011

Kate Bush - Director's Cut

After the forever and a day time it took to finally get Aerial, Kate Bush is seemingly back to her previous work load schedule of releasing an album every half-decade now. This must mean her son is now becoming either a bit more self-sufficient or perhaps a bit more irritating as children can often be.

Except this time, Mommy went back to the studio to rework some music that she’s already released before.

The music is restricted to The Sensual World and The Red Shoes-two efforts that I’m not exactly smitten with, particularly The Red Shoes. It seemed to be the last thing we would hear from Kate for a time, but then surprisingly the wonderful Aerial finally identified Shoes as “the mediocre record before Kate’s drought by childrearing.

The idea that Director’s Cut would merely be an album of “reworked” material-one where Kate uses much of the original material while re-doing the vocals and some minor instrumentation (mainly piano) was a bit unsettling.

What’s the point, really? And would Kate turn into the George Lucas of music, turning the material into a veritable Greedo by incorporating a fucking autotune voice during “Deeper Understanding.”

Shame on Kate?

Shame on me for doubting her!

Director’s Cut has turned the material into a more emotional event. Gone are the woefully dated drum and synthesizer sounds, a complaint that I heard from many non-Kate fans when trying to turn their attention to her material a quarter-century ago.

And those twenty-five years have deepened Kate’s voice, perfectly meshing with the more atmospheric approach that she began with Aerial. What this does is make the Red Shoes material seem more like they should have been when first released, an audio tribute to her late mother who passed shortly before Shoes was recorded.

With that deeper voice, the Red Shoes songs sound more human connective and with the scaled back instrumentation, the rest of the material sounds emotionally connective. It’s a remarkable feat, one that manages to eliminate almost every concern that you may have had going into the album.

The good news is that it also gets better with each listen.

I will admit that my favorite Red Shoes cut-“Top Of The City”-doesn’t take to the new arrangement as well as the original. And I will express disappointment that the worthless Eric Clapton solo on “And So Is Love” wasn’t admonished from the mix on the updated version.

But a pair of missteps aside, Director’s Cut not only exceeds my limited expectations, it nearly exceeds The Sensual World for me and it manages to redeem The Red Shoes, transforming it from a half-hearted effort before retirement into a nice rebound to what is turning out to be a fine second-wind from Ms. Bush.


DJMurphy said...

How do "Love And Anger", "Rubberband Girl", and "This Woman's Work" fare in the rework process?

Todd Totale said...

"Love And Anger" isn't on Director's Cut. Not a tremendous amount of difference on "Rubberband Girl." And "This Woman's Work" is contentious. Our man in Amsterdam-Maarten from the GloNo boards-absolutely HATES the version of "This Woman's Work" on Director's Cut. Me? I dig it. It's just her voice and keyboards. Utterly vulnerable. The way her voice whispers "Make it go away," is just so defeated it tears me up in a way the original didn't. It's a divisive effort, for sure, so your mileage may vary. It's the re-working of The Red Shoes material that did it for me, and the title track for The Sensual World-listed as "Flower Of The Mountain" for Director's Cut-is good too.

PDFM said...

//Not a tremendous amount of difference on "Rubberband Girl."//

Whaaattt?? Have you listened to old and new side by side? Recently? The new RBG is the *most* mutated track on the album!

Todd Totale said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Totale said...

You're right. I was thinking about "Eat The Music" for some reason. Like PDFM points out, "Rubberband Girl" is totally different. It turned into a rootsy stomp, complete with a harmonica. It's awesome. Thanks for the catch!

Ed Depends said...

Autotune is troubling. Even Gangstalicious knows that.

Greg Cower said...

The autotune here sounds like A Clockwork Orange more than Black Eye Peas. I approve of it. It makes Kate sound weird.