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ONE WAY Recommends [Issue #18]
Kate Bush
By

Aerial (CD Columbia)

Lovers of Kate Bush (fan is too banal a word) have waited 12 years for this latest album and they will certainly find it worth the wait. For everyone else, it’s worth a listen.
This is a concept album - yes, the concept of concept albums seems to be coming back - and it’s a double-disc album which brings back memories of when vinyl releases had two sides, each devoted to a different view. Aerial is split into Disc One, on which individual songs speak to earthly issues and Disc Two, a musical suite dealing with the relationship of humans, art and nature.
Disc One, “A Sea of Honey,” offers substance, with Bush’s delicate yet forceful voice weaving through songs about enduring cultural legends - Elvis (“King of the Mountain,” easily the most memorable track), Joan of Arc (“Joanni,”) motherhood (“Bertie”), and believe it or not, songs about mathematics (“Pi”) and laundry (“Mrs. Bartolozzi.”)! If it seems bizarre for Bush to be singing numeric sequences or a child’s laundry rhyme, well, Kate Bush could sing the phone directory with that voice of hers. But more to the point, while macho rock critics may sneer at the subjects of these songs, they are reminders that the world is made of many small things and a true artist can make small things seem much larger.
Disc Two, “A Sky of Honey,” is more of a mini-opera, in which birds play a major role. There are samples of bird songs and sounds of the sea. This section seems more like the Kate Bush of the mid-80s with her penchant for fairy-tale atmosphere and early Genesis-style arrangements. The title song refers to that amazing effect we’ve all seen when birds sit on a telephone aerial looking like musical notes.
The production, by Bush herself, is gorgeous. One should turn up the sound while listening to this album - there’s no need to fear cacophony. Kate Bush has delivered a work that stands with her best work from the past and we can hope she’s back for a while to come.


Kate Bush Aerial


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