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Kate Bush - The Red Shoes CD (album) cover


Kate Bush

Crossover Prog

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2 stars For me, the most dated, anonymous and least interesting album of her career.

Following her innovative work on 'The Hounds Of Love' and 'The Dreaming', 'The Sensual World' seemed to suggest that KB had found herself in something of a creative rut. Her production techniques hadn't progressed from the Fairlight inspired sonic surprises of the early 1980s, and a slightly hackneyed Rock influence hinted at a retreat into more conventional areas ('Rocket's Tail'). However, the writing and playing remained strong, and in the title track, 'The Fog' and 'Deeper Understanding', the album possessed some of KB's finest songs ever.

Coming four years later, 'The Red Shoes' frequently showcased a fairly dull Rock and Soul style that at times sounded like a second-rate Prince or Eurythmics. For the first time in a distinctive and distinguished career, Kate had produced an album that could have been by made by countless others.

The strangeness of 'Big Stripey Lie' (like an outtake from 'The Dreaming') and the beauty of 'Moments Of Pleasure' offer some highlights, but mostly this is fairly dreary stuff made worse by the cliched playing of high-profile guests such as Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

Her lowest point by far and one that the excellent Aerial avoids repeating.

Report this review (#56599)
Posted Wednesday, November 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In defence of this album, it's not as bad as some people would have you believe. I prefer it to "The Sensual World" but it's not as good as "The Dreaming". Rubberband Girl - The first single from the album, if I remember correctly. A bouncy little number (excuse the pun). A good start to the album

And So Is Love - Slows things down a bit. A reflective number featuring some tasteful guitar from Eric Clapton.

Eat The Music - This has a kind of South American feel to it. Another up-tempo number with some great vocal work and horn section towards the end.

Moments Of Pleasure - one of my favourite Kate tracks, similiar in feel to "This Woman's Work". A very emotional ending and some nice lyrics ("every old sock meets an old shoe"). Brilliant.

The Song Of Solomon - features the Trio Bulgara, but not one of the best songs on the album.

Lily - another slightly below par number in my opinion.

The Red Shoes - the title track is an Irish jig number.

Top Of The City - another atmospheric number, great drum sound.

Constellation Of The Heart - slightly poppy number.

Big Stripey Lie - written with Prince, this is a bit of a wierd one. A love-it or hate-it kind of track.

Why Should I Love You? - Kate goes funky. Features a great keyboard riff and Lenny Henry on backing vocals. One of the best tracks on the album.

You're The One - a slow track to finish off the album. Another atmospheric one.

Probably still suffering in comparison to the almight Hounds Of Love, this is still a good album. Overall I would like to give it 3.5 stars, but I'm going to round it down to 3.

Report this review (#56830)
Posted Friday, November 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
2 stars As much as I love Kate Bush, this album was a huge disappointment to me. I listened to it over and over again, trying desperately to get into it, but to no avail. Mind you, I'm not the kind of person who got horrified by her collaboration with Prince - he's not my favourite musician by any means, but I see myself as a very open-minded person, and if the results are good, then who cares? Unfortunately, though, "The Red Shoes" is very weak, especially if compared with Kate's monumental '80s achievements. As always, the musicianship on the album is excellent, she sings wonderfully and the lyrics often rather intriguing - but somehow all these factors don't gel together, and the result is a definitely boring, far from memorable record. In my opinion, the only really great song on it is "Song of Solomon", with the Irish-flavoured title-track and "Moments of Pleasure" also worthy of mention. The rest, however, is quite forgettable. If this had been Kate's last album, she would really have gone out with a whimper - luckily for us it was not so.
Report this review (#56991)
Posted Saturday, November 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Kate's most commercial album, but also her weakest. There are exceptional moments: "Moments of Pleasure" is beautiful, and "Big Stripey Lie" an incredible experiment, whilst her lyrics are heartfelt and moving throughout. However, for the first time ever there appear to be tracks which are "fillers" such as "Constellation of the Heart". As Kate has admitted recently, the album is simply too long (CD has a lot to answer for).
Report this review (#59407)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2005 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "To those we love, to those who will survive..."

The Red Shoes was something of a comeback after The Sensual World. Kate seemed to have found some new energy and passion. The sound was big and the production was ambitious. She also released a very Kate-like video to go with the album and proved again that she can still dance.

While now less "progressive" and more conventional rock, the songs within succeeded quite well. "Rubberband Girl" and "Eat the Music" were positively alive and joyful. "And So is Love" and "Moments of Pleasure" were melancholic yet lovely. I found the vocal performances on those songs to be very touching. The title track is quite good with its anxious energy. "Big Stripey Lie" is quite weird and cool with that eerie descending into the depths feel. "Constellation of the Heart" is really the only clunker on board and should have been dropped on the editing floor.

Red Shoes has improved with time in my eyes and I now consider it essential Kate. It is just as good as the art rock singles from side one of Hounds, and it slaughters albums like Aerial and Sensual World in immediacy and passion. Kate had nothing to be ashamed of here and I think many of her fans missed the boat when they wrote this off.

Report this review (#120003)
Posted Friday, April 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Excellent release from Kate Bush. Not sure why but for this reviewer her music gets better and better and The Red Shoes is no exception to how her sound and music matures over the years. No-one is going to argue that it would not eclipse Hounds Of Love but it is definitely up there in terms of quality. The low point on the album is the single IMO ' Rubber Band Girl', good psych prog though, I guess it is mean't to drive the listener nuts with the repetitive chorus. After that though the polished sound of the album kicks in, great production. The title track is great lyrically as well as musically, poignant would be a good description ( reminds me of A Coral room) off Aerial. Other great songs are the sombre ' And So I Love', 'Moments Of Pleasure' and the closing ' Your'e The One'. I get the feeling KB wants to be taken even more seriously here on The Red Shoes, ' Rubber Band Girl' excluded and is a natural progression The Sensual World. John Giblin as usual on bass gives that distinctly important ingredient to the KB sound. An almost everpresent with her music. Four solid stars.
Report this review (#180402)
Posted Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Red Shoes is the seventh studio album from Kate Bush and her last before her long ( and much needed) hiatus. Kate Bush previous album, which was released in 1989, called The Sensual World didn´t excite me much despite it´s potentially interesting title, and I can only say the same thing about The Red Shoes.

The music has become even more superflous and trivial than was the case on The Sensual World. During the opening song Rubberband Girl I´m even reminded about Madonna. That´s how low Kate Bush had sunk on The Red Shoes. There are virtually no highligts on the album and much too many lowpoints. The worst is probably Eat the Music with its disgusting calypso mood. Top of the City is my favorite here even though it sounds like a second rate version of the songs from Hounds of Love. It´s the only song on The Red Shoes that gives me just a tiny bit of satisfaction. The album ends with the banale love ballad You're The One. It´s almost impossible to believe that Kate Bush was once the master of sensual love ballads when you listen to this cold and generic song.

The musicianship is as always top notch even though nothing out of the ordinary is being played. Kate Bush delivers her worst and most uninspired vocal performance of her career on The Red Shoes. She sounds so indifferent and burnt out.

The production is a mess. Terrible empty sound.

Even though I´m really annoyed with The Red Shoes it´s not a definite 1 star rating in my book. There are moments like the above mentioned Top Of The City that saves the second star for The Red Shoes. But my recommendation is that you stay away from this album until you´ve listened to everything else that Kate Bush has done, because the chance that you´ll be as disappointed as me about The Red Shoes is very big. 2 stars and I´m stretching.

Report this review (#187784)
Posted Monday, November 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Ladies and gentlemen, introducing BRITNEY BUSH!!!

OK, it's not quite that bad, but it is bad. Despite the big names on this release, like Clapton, Beck, and Prince, Kate Bush's handlers at Sony/Columbia Records have succeeded in removing just about any trace of originality from what was once one of the best performers on the major labels. Even her sexuality, which previously oozed deliciously from track after track, here comes of plastic and forced.

After listening to this for the first time since it's original release, it is no surprise to me that I waited over two years to get her most recent CD, Aerial.

Report this review (#220454)
Posted Tuesday, June 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars When The Red Shoes was released, I had high expectations after Kate Bush had released two really good albums: Hounds of Love and This Sensual World. For the third time she had taken her time to make an album. About 55 minutes later these expectations were cut down to size. The opening track, Rubberband Girl, shows a rocking Kate and is an average tune. It does not disappoint, but it is not outstanding either. This track is followed by a rather boring tune, And So Is Love. More interesting is the third track, Eat the music. This track has some exotic instrumentation, with instruments like the valiha and the kabossy playing a guest role: first I thought that the valiha was a self-made string instrument named after its player. I was wrong, but that prevented my fantasies from taking a free ride: it is Madagascar´s national instrument, made of strands of bicycle brake cable strings around a bamboo tube. The kabossy is also a string instrument from Madagascar. The trumpets give this song a mariachi sound. A bit exotic, but it does not make me go bananas. Moments of Pleasure is my favourite track on this album and one of my overall favourite Kate Bush songs. It is a slow song on which Kate is accompanied by piano and strings. Song of Solomon does not rise above the level of boredom, but more annoying is Lily. Here she has summoned a certain Lily, apparently the most trusted local witch from her home town, to throw up some paganist spiritual crap; the singing bowls used in this song are also irritating. The Red Shoes, the title track, is a nice, funny rendition of a fairytale I knew from an attraction park and my second favourite track on this album. The next song, Top of the City, is also worth mentioning in a positive way. Hereafter one has to wrestle his way through three songs that mark the nadir of Kate's musical career: the first two songs are just poor compositions; in the third one Prince appears as a guest vocalist and musician and his dominant influence becomes increasingly hearable as the song proceeds: it starts as a Kate Bush song and it ends as a Prince song. I regret to say that I do not count myself among his fans... The last song, You're the One, saves this album from leaving a bad aftertaste, thanks to Gary Brooker's Hammond organ. Having said this, I can recommend this album only to collectors of Kate Bush albums and to anyone else who want to hear how poor compositions cannot be saved by good musicianship. I feel tempted to give this album just one star, but commanded to give two, just because there are some moments of pleasure as well: use a programmable CD player, enter the numbers 1, 4, 7, 8 and 12, and enjoy.
Report this review (#267248)
Posted Saturday, February 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars THE RED SHOES, from 1993, is by far the lowest rated album by Kate Bush on this website. And for good reason. Instead of the using charming mix of fun funky numbers, screaming numbers, and quiet numbers, that make Kate so great, we have a bland mishmash of what seems like Kate copies. Going through the motions? Jeff Beck, Prince, and Eric Clapton can't even save this record. Most everything on here is now dated and boring. Only "Song of Soloman" holds any interest for me. I have all of Kate's work and this is the one I rarely put on the player. THE SENSUAL WORLD and THE DREAMING get much more airtime around my place! 2 stars. It is not horrible, but it ain't that good either.
Report this review (#451618)
Posted Tuesday, May 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Something of a career nadir, The Red Shoes was produced during a period of instability and tragedy in Kate's life, with a number of bereavements taking their toll. Not even a swathe of high-profile guest stars can save the album from being the plastic, soulless disaster which it is. For the first time in her career, Kate no longer seemed to be calling the shots and following her own vision; instead, she appeared to be chasing current fashions as opposed to dictating them, particularly on songs such as Rubberband Girl which seemed to be aimed at the sort of quirky female singer-songwriter Tori Amos market which Kate had created and moved on from in the first place. Easily the least essential of Kate's albums.
Report this review (#613994)
Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 | Review Permalink

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