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Hi Stateside Galore girls! This list is written specially for you. As you may know, the whole of the UK is going batshit crazy for Kate Bush right now. We are currently in the grip of certifiable Bush Mania!
Last week saw the premiere of Ms. Bush’s ‘Before The Dawn’ live residency – her first live shows in over 35 years. She has not staged a concert since her 1979 ‘Tour Of Life’. No one truly knows why she has remained absent from live music (so ignore anyone writing claiming they do!) all that matters is that she’s back! And we are LOVING IT!
All 22 dates of her ‘Before The Dawn’ show sold out in less than 15 minutes after the complete surprise of their announcement. Critics are running out of stars to assign to their reviews of her shows. She made chart history yesterday by being the first female artist to have eight simultaneous entries in the UK top 40. And a new documentary about her (in which she did not appear, because, duh, she didn’t have to) proved so popular the number of viewers trying to catch it again online crashed BBC’s iPlayer. Here are five key reasons why Kate Bush should be your queen:
Kate Bush educates you
In comparison to all other music artists, no one understands, translates and transmits their cultural references more effectively than Kate Bush. Lady Gaga trying to channel Andy Warhol? Pah! Miley Cyrus calling her ‘Bangerz’ tour “educational”? Ha! Beyonce quoting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Hmm. Well done for trying to convince us you’re all cultured and shit, but this shallow magpie stuff doesn’t fly with Kate Bush fans. Listening to Kate Bush will not only make you book smart, she will also increase your existential and linguistic intelligence. She will teach you to sing pi to 138 decimal places (‘Pi’), she will introduce you to Wilhelm Reich (‘Cloudbursting’), Gurdjieff (‘Them Heavy People’) and generally make you question the limits of human knowledge (‘Sat In Your Lap’).
No one tells Kate Bush what to do
Being told by my father that Kate Bush was the first female artist to have a number one single with a self-penned song is what sparked my interest in her. That song, of course, was 1978’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, a song she insisted her record company release as her debut. After that, there was no way any music executive could act like they understood her artistry better than her. Her refusal to play the fame game is a defining quality of her career – her one-off UK tour, the limited number of interviews she gives, the time she takes to make records (there was a 12 year gap between ‘The Red Shoes’ and ‘Aerial’), her selective public appearances – and it’s a shame no artist since has been brave enough to believe that their art is strong enough to withstand restricted exposure.
She is the riskiest of risk takers
‘The Dreaming’ is her infamously experimental album. It came as a great shock due to its break from her established melodic, piano style. It did not sell particularly well and undermined many people’s ideas of who Kate Bush was as an artist. But, in hindsight, it was a risk worth taking as it now plays as a key stepping stone towards her ‘Hounds Of Love’ masterpiece. At the time, it seemed like self-sabotage and proved to be difficult recording process for her, but it can now be understood as a necessary wall of fire that elevated her already lofty musical ambitions. Yet another lesson – do not be afraid to explore your own creativity.
Innovation should be her middle name
Kast Bush’s ‘Tour Of Life’ set a whole new standard for music concerts – she sang every track from her first two albums, changed costume 17 times, incorporated elaborate magic tricks and dance routines, and introduced the world to the headset microphone. And even before anyone had seen her new theatrical ‘Before The Dawn’ shows, she had already eradicated the plague-like problem of ticket touts (through a simple but timely bit of administration that requires the ticket holder’s name being printed on their tickets and being matched with ID at the concert – WHY ARE NO OTHER ARTISTS DOING THIS!?), and even stopped people from using their camera phones via a polite but strongly willed letter to her fans saying, “I very much want contact with you as an audience, not with iPhones, iPads or cameras”. Hooray for stamping out arseholes who make you watch gigs through their phone screens!
“Original” is the only appropriate genre title for Kate Bush
In the beginning, she was pop’s most unconventional star. As her music progressed she took on elements of prog rock and mastered the concept suite with ‘The Ninth Wave’. However, no musical genre comfortably encapsulates Kate Bush’s arms-open-wide approach to songwriting, from the characters she embodies to the stories she tells and the sweeping song structures she houses them all in. There really is no word worthy of her, but “original” is as close as one can get.
Written for GALORE