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Kate Bush - The Dreaming CD (album) cover

THE DREAMING

Kate Bush

 

Prog Related

4.05 | 184 ratings

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rogerthat
5 stars Kate Bush is my favourite female composer in rock/pop and this is in my opinion her strongest work. But it is indeed a matter of opinion. This album can be seriously polarizing as Bush pushes the eccentric side of her music to an extreme that can initially be disorienting. You are either going to find it annoying and cheesy or simply a thoroughly entertaining ride.

It seems to be difficult to find some middle ground with this album. If you buy into the basic idea, you will like just about every track of the album. If you don't, you'd be hard pressed to find a silver lining. The music is conceptualized in a very consistent way without necessarily relying too much on a narrow and repetitive formula. The sheer eccentricity, delivered largely via Bush's vocal capabilities, seems to tightly bind the album together.

So what does the music comprise of? Bush takes the theatre rock of her previous albums and follows Peter Gabriel's lead in assimilating world music influences. All We Ever Look For on the predecessor Never for Ever broadly anticipates the style adopted on The Dreaming. A song like Night of the Swallow further establishes connections to previous material.

But as I described earlier, Bush really pushes the envelope in terms of eccentricity here. It is not even just kinda weird as songs like Fullhouse might be described. Parts of these album are so eccentric it is in your face and grabs your attention. Now whether you embrace such an extreme dose of weirdness is up to your preferences.

For me, it works better this way at many levels. I must admit while I love many of Bush's compositions, I find her singing strictly an acquired taste. On The Dreaming, the sheer eccentricity provides a suitable context for her over the top and often overwrought style of singing. As I said before, this album can be very in your face which does require bold and over the top singing as more restrained delivery might dampen the mood.

In this regard, the production also works specifically for the music on this album. I may not otherwise care for such a saturated and synthesized approach, but it works superbly on The Dreaming. Andrew Powell's lush production was great for her previous work while this calls for a different approach...radically different, as it turns out.

One possible pitfall with this approach could have been the album could have become a rather breathless and repetitive affair. Opener Sat In Your Lap hints that this might be the case, moving at breakneck speed. But Bush effectively adapts the pacing of the songs and there are some that seem to crawl next to the aforesaid song, like All The Love. Overall, she keeps you eagerly anticipating what she's going to come up with on the next track. If you are as in thrall of this album as I am, it's edge of the seat stuff even.

Time for the rating now. I have already underlined the consistency and strength of the material and it all depends on what you make of it. But what are you supposed to make of it? I think the artist has taken pains to give us a very good idea with the artwork. I don't think you need a bigger hint than that to know this is going to be a mad, mad ride. Yes, it may not be for everyone but it's a winner for those whose tastes it is suitable for. Five stars.

rogerthat | 5/5 |

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