All right, Kate: What’s with the birds?
I almost wasn’t going to continue this review of Kate Bush’s Aerial. Once I started Disc Two: A Sky of Honey, I realized something. Something bad.
“This is starting to sound a lot like The Wall.”
Oh, nasty! Pretentious double albums with needless studio meandering! But birds chirping? Listless synths? This is like Pink Floyd if The Wall was just “Mother” and “Goodbye Blue Skies”. BARF!
And those birds! Just so you know the disc you’re listening to, we get the chirping of birds, soon eerily looped to form the bird-words “A SKY. OF. HONEY!” Creepy!
Too much of this disc just happens. Five tracks go by with nothing to distinguish it. At least on Disc One we could get slishy-sloshy when Kate got splishy-sploshy. Only towards the end of “Sunset”, which previously featured some distasteful David Gilmour-esque male vocals, do things start to get interesting. Some cool jazz combo stuff floats to the surface toward the middle—and then it ends with castanets and acoustic guitar jamming? Ole!
Then ignore Kate scatting along with the birds on “Aerial Tal”. And her duet partner on “Somewhere In Between”. He sounds like Burl Ives!
And then a kid comes in to say “Goodnight, Mum” just before “Nocturn”! What the Hell?! Now I’m totally going to have to sync this up to The Wizard of Oz!
Kate Bush: “We tire of the city.”
Well, Kate, that’s only because there’s some funky kicks going down there.
But at least “Nocturn” gets groovy; the last two minutes of the song become a total jam session! If the guitars aren’t quite Phish and the harmonies aren’t quite CSNY, it at least becomes like Days of the New. “Look at the light!”
And luckily the last track of A Sky of Honey is the strongest: “Aerial” pulls out the electric guitars, crazy Kate laughter, and starts to rock! It almost makes you forget that there was no need for a second disc.
So bravo, Ms. Bush! But what’s with the birds?
I’m a believer. After I talked smack about Kate Bush and confessed my unfamiliarity with her work, I finally heard a single off her new album Aerial on the radio. Papa likes it!
I now have the album in my hands, though I’ve only listened to Disc 1: “A Sea of Honey”. It’s not perfect; I can use some of the same insults I use against Tori:
- Too many solo piano numbers.
- Her voice ain’t good!
Bush sidesteps a lot of these problems, though. She’s got awesome synths and a good pop sensibility that makes her very listenable.
I’ve listed the tracks off Disc 1 and my thoughts below. This time I’ve crossed out the tracks I just can’t deal with. It’s our URGH way of saying, “beware”!
- “King of the Mountain”—The synths are great, the tempo is groovy, and that touch of guitar is hot! This is the single currently on the radio; good choice!
- “π”—He does love his numbers. A little trying, but the change-offs between the acoustic guitar and synthesized bass keep things interesting.
- “Bertie”—Too English! That’s OK; it happens to the best of us, even The Zep!
“Mrs. Bartolozzi”—Sorry; this one’s a deal-killer. The opening ain’t bad, but Bush doesn’t do nearly enough on her solo piano to make it worth sticking around for six minutes. Tolerable only if you play the Mrs. Bartolozzi Drinking Game: Drink every time Kate Bush says “Washing Machine”. You’ll be passed out by the time you get to “Splishy Sploshy Splishy Sploshy, get that dirty shirty clean.” Hell yeah!
- “How To Be Invisible”—This is more like it! I don’t care if it baldly lifts from Depeche Mode, it works! And whoever plays guitar for KB deserves a medal.
- “Joanni”—It’s not bad, though there’s no way I’m going to approve that Muppet-esque grunting at the end of the track. Not to be confused with “Gimme Hope Jo’anna” by Eddy Grant.
A Coral Room—Another six minute solo piano number? You can let me off right here.
Stay tuned for Disc 2: A Sky of Honey!