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Kate Bush - Breathing / The Empty Bullring CD (album) cover


Kate Bush


Crossover Prog

4.91 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Kate Bush's third album Never For Ever (1980) marked a transitional stage in her career, a logical link between the first two albums of a young singer-songwriter backed by a band and producers with their own wills, and The Dreaming (1982) in which she took control firmly in her own hands and produced a difficult "she's gone mad" album that was a nightmare to the record company. I love them all. One of the best songs on Never For Ever is the closing track, 'Breathing'. As a composition, it's a magnificent leap in artistic depth compared to na´ve, starry-eyed balladry of songs such as 'In Search of Peter Pan' or 'Oh England My Lionheart'. And technically it's a perfect example of the way Kate strived for new soundscapes with the aid of modern devices, especially Fairlight.

I bet there aren't many Kate Bush fans that fail to be moved by this dystopic and mysterious song. One doesn't even need to be aware that the protagonist is an unborn child inside the mother's womb. The outside world has faced disaster: "Chips of Plutonium are twinkling in every lung". Here Kate starts to show her real capacity as a widely expressionistic vocalist instead of a high-pitched pop sensation so easy to make fun of. 'Breathing' is simultaneously both soft, beautiful, and haunting, dark-toned. Worth noticing is the goosebump effect of the mid-section featuring the male voice-over, and the increase of the tension. Also the silent, extended ending is bravely against the pop norms. This definitely is a five-star song for me.

'The Empty Bullring' on the B side is a fairly good non-album song, so no need to lower my rating! It's just Kate and her piano, a bit like 'In the Warm Room' (on Lionheart) but slightly livelier and brighter -- at first it may bring 'Oh To Be in Love' in mind, only without band-backing or a clear chorus -- and the piano work is more decorative. Not so far from the classical lied, actually. Funnily I originally mistook the white mushroom on the cover for a figure of a lady wearing a large white hat, before having a closer look...

Matti | 5/5 |


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