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Kate Bush

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Kate Bush The Dreaming album cover
3.15 | 8 ratings | 2 reviews | 25% 5 stars

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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

A. The Dreaming (4:09)
B. Dreamtime (instrumental) (5:32)

Line-up / Musicians

Releases information

7" vinyl single. EMI 5296.

Thanks to Matti for the addition
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KATE BUSH The Dreaming ratings distribution

(8 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(25%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (12%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KATE BUSH The Dreaming reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
4 stars -- First review for this single -- Kate Bush's fourth album The Dreaming was released in September 1982. The making process of that highly innovative and experimental album, produced sovereignly by the artist herself, lasted about one year and a half, so obviously some singles were released beforehand. The first one was 'Sat in Your Lap' (June 1981) but the next one featuring the album's title track came no sooner than thirteen months later, July 1982. That speaks volumes of her uncompromising artistic dedication to the album project.

'The Dreaming' is about the destruction of Aboriginal Australians' traditional lands by white Australians in their quest for weapons-grade uranium. Rolf Harris is guesting on the didgeridoo, and bird impersonator Percy Edwards provided animal noises. The title is based on the concept in Aboriginal mythology. The original title 'The Abo Song' was changed because it made use of a racial slur.

Musically the song pretty much abandons the conventional charasteristics of a pop song, although it does have a chorus with a melody and a powerful drumming of Stuart Elliott. Apart from that, the melodic substance is minimal, and the whole soundscape far from the usual pop instrumentation. Percussion and a steady shamanistic rhythm is very central, and of course the didgeridoo is crucial for creating the Aboriginal Australian colour, as well as the bullroarer played by Kate's big brother Paddy Bush. Kate uses the digital synthesizer Fairlight CMI. Most of her vocals are radically distanced from her normal feminine singing. The lyrics are awesome in their meaningfulness, containing lines such as "Erase the race that claim the place and say we dig for ore". I admit this song has never been among my Bush favourites, but it is a very strong artistic statement, a totally uncommercial piece of art-rock comparable to some works of e.g. Peter Gabriel, David Byrne & Brian Eno or Laurie Anderson. Despite its demanding nature 'The Dreaming' made it to No. 48 on the UK Singles Chart.

The B side has 'Dreamtime' which is the same track minus the main vocals. It's however not quite right to call it an instrumental version because it still has most of the backing vocals, most notably the repeated line "See the light ram through the gaps in the land". The single's cover art was drawn by Del Palmer, bass player and Kate's partner at the time. It features a depiction of the Wandjina, a sky spirit in Western Australian traditions. Wandjinas brought the law, culture and language.

The song deserves a good rating, despite the fact that it's definitely the whole album that every Kate Bush fan ought to have and this single remains rather non-essential per se. 'Dreamtime', despite being a rare B sider, is in the end pretty useless in its own right.

Review by DangHeck
2 stars Definitely one of the more interesting tracks (especially as a single) is "The Dreaming", uncharacteristically un-English (despite the put-on accent) and sung for the most part in her lower register. I most love the refrain, for sure, but the song overall isn't one of her finest, despite being the title track of, in my opinion, her absolute strongest album. In the music video, uhhh.... reanimated [space?!] mummies(?) dance along with Kate, striding a beam of light, as though it were a horizontal metal pole in a dance studio. They dance in front of a rather creepy, beating sun. A dove leaves a cave (someone's soul departing?), and the dancers are found dead and dying therein, eventually being covered by sand and dust. Pretty cool video, to say the least, even if I have no clue what in the hell happened in it. The lyrics, which allude to some kind of future race-war (or governmental subjugation of "the other"), imply this may be space. Like a new Mars? And with that, too, it feels my suspicions about a possible visual homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey were warranted. Interesting.

Our B-side is the more-than-thematically-similar "Dreamtime", which actually picks up with the sound and tribal drumming of our A-side; effectively the backing track. Really very interesting choice. I certainly wasn't expecting this (like an anti-80s-Dance-version-B-side). It's basically the pre-chorus of "See the light ram through the gaps in the land" repeated over and over, as the rhythm shifts slightly and intensifies. I guess I haven't really thought about it before, but that's a didgeridoo, right?! [Oh, wow, and please believe me, I spelled that right on the first try?!]. Since it's basically the same song as the first, though simplified, I don't feel any which way about it, really.

A rounding up from a True Rate of 2.5/5.0

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