SOUNDTRACK: KATE BUSH-Director’s Cut (2011).
Kate Bush has re-recorded eleven songs from her two least-loved discs, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes. According to the story at NPR, this seems to have been inspired by the Joyce estate’s granting Kate the right to use part of Ulysses as the lyrics for the song “The Sensual World” (in the original version she paraphrased the book). So, she decided to re-record a bunch of other songs from those two albums as well.
I admit that neither one of those discs is high on my repeat play list, with The Red Shoes being a particular disappointment. (Although there are some great songs on each). When I read that these songs from those two albums I wasn’t terribly excited to hear them. But I must say that these new versions have really reinvigorated these tracks.
I’m surprised by some of the choices (redoing “This Woman’s Work” is something of a shock, as is redoing her only real hit from The Red Shoes, “Rubberband Girl”), but whether it’s that she chose the best songs, or the new version have more life to them, this is a wonderful collection of songs.
Actually, rechecking the track listing, it does appear to be the best tracks from both discs, but I’m pleasantly surprised to seen how many good songs were actually on The Red Shoes to begin with,
from The Sensual World
- Sensual World (retitled “Flower of the MOuntain”)
- Deeper Understanding
- This Woman’s Work
- Never Be Mine
from The Red Shoes
- The Song of Solomon
- The Red Shoes
- Moments of Pleasure
- Top of the City
- And So is Love
- Rubberband Girl
For the most part, the music seems to be the same (although there are some glaring exceptions). I admit to not remembering the originals for all of them all that well). But she has mostly rerecorded her voice (and possibly other lyrics, if NPR is accurate). Her voice is unmistakably Kate, but in some places she sounds noticeably older (which she is, so duh). She doesn’t seem to be able to hit quite the highs of before, but her voice has a throaty excellence to it now that brings something new to the songs. It’s not noticeable on every song, although it is most notable on “This Woman’s Work,” which began with high sopranos, and now begins with lower alto notes. But she can still hit some of the cool screechy notes on “Top of the City”
There are some tracks that are very different, “A Deeper Understanding” (a song about love via modems) replaces the earlier style of singing with a heavily autotuned computer voice. It’s unsettling but very cool sounding.
The biggest changes come in “This Woman’s Work” and “Rubberband Girl.”
“This Woman’s Work” is a far more sedate track now. It doesn’t have any of the soaring moments of the original. It seems to have more depth in this version, but I miss the “Oh darling make it go away” moment. Nevertheless, it sounds really pretty in this more mature version. It’s simply a very different song now.
As for “Rubberband Girl,” I’ve always had a real fondness for the original, so I don’t know how I feel about the rerecorded version (which is so very different). The original is very elastic with cool music and weird vocals and is kind of trippy (and may not even be all that good), but I have grown quiet attached to it. The new version is a simple guitar sound (it reminds me of a sort of unplugged Rolling Stones song now).
Overall, this is an exciting revitalization of Kate’s back catalog, and I hope it inspires her to make another new album in the next few years or so.
[READ: May 14, 2011] Austerlitz
I read about Sebald in Five Dials. And the glowing talk about him made me want to read one of his books (specifically, this one).
Austerlitz is a strange novel which I enjoyed but which I never really got into. I feel like rather than absorbing me into its words, the book kind of held me aloft on the surface. As such, I have a general sense of what happened, but I’d be very hard pressed to discuss it at length.
The basic plot summary is that an unnamed narrator runs into a man named Jacques Austerlitz. Austerlitz talks to him at length about his life. They run into each other at various points over the years, and Austerlitz’ story is continued. And literally, that is the book. Now, of course, Austerlitz’ story is multifaceted and complex. But we will never forget that this is a story within a story (it’s impossible to forget because the phrase “said Austerlitz” appears about 500 times in the book. (more…)
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