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.