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Kate Bush - The Kick Inside CD (album) cover


Kate Bush


Crossover Prog

3.92 | 350 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars One of the most enigmatic POP debuts all time! What a surprise I haven't reviewed this long ago.

Yesterday I listened to this album after a long while, and I felt a good deal of the same magic that fulfilled me as a teenager. At the time, around 1986, I already had all Kate Bush's studio albums up to that point. Being a debut of a very young and unexperienced performer, in the artistic measures The Kick Inside understandably loses in several ways to masterpieces such as Hounds of Love and The Dreaming, but it also has unique charm, or indeed magic if you like, that is hard to find elsewehere in any popular music. It is starry-eyed romantic, very melodic, a little naiive in a good way, and most of all deeply sensual. (I know people who have made love while playing this album... I haven't, perhaps to avoid competition of my attention.)

It has 13 songs. I have never much enjoyed 'Kite' or 'Them Heavy People' (slightly silly, merry songs that I rather skip), and 'James and the Cold Gun' is a bit boring melodically until the final vocal line and the following guitar solo of Ian Bairnson. The remaining ten songs are either extremely lovely or very enjoyable. I was too young to be bothered when the smash hit 'Wuthering Heights' was heard everywhere, so to me it's just a great Kate Bush song among her other great songs; in fact, as fascinating as this Emily Brontė inspired song is, it's not among my most definitive highlights. The three first songs 'Moving', 'The Saxophone Song' and 'Strange Phenomena' set the atmosphere to the magical level, finished with dreamy details such as whale song or words in a strange/unidentified language. 'Kite' stops that bliss, but 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes' is a beautiful, orchestrated soft ballad.

The overwhelming sensualism continues on the vinyl's B side. 'Feel It' has very sexual lyrics. (How sad that sex in today's pop music is usually very banal and commercial, not sensual and intimate like this.) 'Oh to Be in Love' and 'L'Amour Looks Like Something Like You' are beautiful love songs, while the final tracks 'Room for the Life' and 'The Kick Inside' have always appeared as a pregnancy-themed pair of songs to me, the first having a joyful chorus, the latter a more passionate one.

Kate Bush (b. 1958) had been writing these songs since the age of 13, and there were dozens to choose from when her debut was finally recorded. That undoubtedly explains the certain naivism, or child-like sense of wonder -- not that it would be a bad thing in the first place. Later she became more and more self-sufficient as her own producer, but for the success of the debut's music, the work of well chosen collaborators is invaluable. Arranging and producing were on the hands of Andrew Powell who had worked with The Alan Parsons Project (as well as several musicians playing here). The following album Lionheart -- which is pretty good -- was quickly made within the same year, and its 10-song cycle is less captivating than this 13-song cycle. The album cover for The Kick Inside is not very convincing with all the orientalism that would suit better for a Chinese restaurant.

Matti | 4/5 |


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