Volume 94, Issue 39
Wednesday, November 8, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Hounds Of Love
In terms of modern music, Kate Bush may be the most important female artist who has ever lived. Without her, Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan and countless others simply wouldn't exist.
Discovered at the age of 16, she released her first album in 1978 and the several others that followed, shared the same essential problem. Despite her endless ambition, Bush was unable to realize her musical goals. The result produced a series of releases that contained some good music, but ultimately fell short of excellence. The 1985 release of Hounds Of Love changed everything.
Divided into two sections, the record is a concept album in the truest sense of the word, detailing a story like Alice In Wonderland. Although Bush narrates the fantastical events that befall her, the biggest selling point remains her voice, which is in fine form throughout the record.
A daring and wildly unfocused album, Hounds Of Love succeeds because, although obtuse, Bush's arrangements are always perfect. Experimenting with new technology at the time, Bush created an adventurous album, which built its own soundscape. This is elaborate, forward thinking dance pop at its best.
"Running Up That Hill," with its distinctive synth sounds, is stunning and boasts an instantly accessible hook. Likewise, the lush bed of strings on "Cloudbursting" are marvellous.
"Watching You Without Me" and "The Morning Fog" are both equally dazzling, combining inventive rhythmic foundations with solid melodies, while experimenting with sonic manipulation.
Drawing on her Scottish heritage, Bush incorporates elements of traditional music into the mix on "Jig Of Life," the album's most danceable number. Immediately followed by "Hello Earth," a haunting number with Gregorian chants, these two songs best illustrate the full range and diversity of Bush's vision.
Since the release of LHounds Of Love, Bush has not been very prolific, recording only two albums. It's been suggested she won't ever record again, feeling unable to ever top the juggernaut she created with Hounds of Love.
-Aaron St. John
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