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Hounds of Love - Kate Bush
I left school in nineteen eighty-four and at that time, just as at this time, I had a varied taste in music.
In nineteen eighty-five Kate Bush released 'Hounds of Love' album. I already liked Kate as an artist and a person but at seventeen, going on eighteen, I was blown away by the album. I'll talk about what this album meant to me and how I feel about it later on in the review, but first I would like to discuss each album track individually and then move onto the albums commercial success and the work Kate Bush put into producing it.
The review may turn out to be long but it will all be relevant and for an album that is still brilliant nearly thirty years later, I think a few paragraphs would be doing it a major injustice. I suggest that the people who don't like long reviews or think they are written merely to gain higher ratings should give it a miss if that's how they feel. Each to their own, but just know that I write from the heart and purely for my enjoyment and hopefully other people's enjoyment; if it turns out to be long then so be it; it was meant to be.
Individual tracks and my thoughts on them
The first track on the album was also the first single to be released. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) is probably one of the most covered songs in recent years. Not so much other artists covering the whole song, as many do, most notably 'Placebo', but more the actual synthesizer samples being used. Dan Black is one of the latest new wave artists to use it in his Cloudbustin remix which includes the famous synthesizer from this song and the tune of Madonna's Into The Groove. It is the perfect start to the album. Kate's voice is brilliant and fits to the beat exquisitely. I love the lyrics too. One line states 'If I only could make a deal with God'. The song caused controversy amongst pro-religious sectors and anti-religious movements alike. The original title to the song chosen by Kate was A Deal With God but EMI, Kate's record company, refused to release it in that form. Kate eventually changed the name to Running Up That Hill Although she did get her own way to a certain extent as the album title added the 'A Deal With God' in brackets after the initial wording. EMI were so worried by the fact that it might be took off the airwaves and banned from shops that they almost didn't bring it out. EMI wanted to release Cloudbusting as the first single but Kate could not agree as Running Up That Hill was the first track written for the album and she felt that it was the basis of the whole album and therefore deserved to be the first single. EMI eventually relented and the single was released on August the fifth, nineteen eighty-five. It got to number three in the UK charts and number thirty in the American billboard two hundred, which for an English female artist was unprecedented at the time.
The second track was the title track Hounds of Love and what a track it is! Another uber-famous song with an opening line that most people will know. 'It's coming, it's in the trees'. This line comes from a nineteen fifty-seven horror movie called The Night of the Demon and the actor shouting the line is Maurice Denham. Anyone can Google or wiki this and there is more information on the movie if one feels inclined to do so. I still love that opening line as much today as I did as a teenager. This was also the second single release from the album and was released on seven and twelve inch vinyl with The Handsome Cabin as the b-side on the twenty-fourth of February, nineteen eighty-six. Amazingly, in my eyes anyway, it only reached number eighteen in the UK charts. I find that absolutely unbelievable, even to this day, as the song still holds up now. There was some good music around in the eighties but there was also a lot of dross, so it is surprising that Hounds of Love didn't fare better in the charts. Kate directed the video herself and it was her first try. She is a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock and she based the video loosely on his The 39 Steps, even managing to place Hitchcock in the video. Anyone who knows Hitchcock will know that he always made a cameo appearance in his movies, so this was Kate's tribute to him.
The third track on the album is The Big Sky. This happened to be the fourth single released from the album on April the twenty-eighth, nineteen eighty-six. It reached number 37 in the UK charts. Another great, chanting melody that exudes the lust for life of a child in its upbeat tempo. It alludes to a pastime that many children and adults have indulged in over the years; that of looking up into the sky and making shapes out of the clouds and broadening their imaginations. The seven inch vinyl included Not This Time as the b-side and the twelve inch also included The Morning Fog which is also a track on the album. The video was nominated at the MTV awards for 'Best Female Video' but unfortunately, for Kate, did not win.
The fourth track is Mother Stands For Comfort and continues along the theme of songs that people can relate to. Mother Stands For Comfort is, as the title suggests, a tribute to all mothers and therefore essentially Kate's own. The song starts off with broken beats and smashing glass. The piano kicks in and Kate starts to sing. A daughter speaks of her own attitude and her Mother reacts to her. Mother Stands For Comfort is the only track of the first five tracks or side one of the vinyl album, to not be released as a single. It is more a ballad and therefore a lot slower paced than the other four. It is quite a haunting track and one that is filled with emotion and angst.
Track five is one of my all-time favourite songs Cloudbusting. It has an even more recognizable synthesizer sound than the albums first two songs if that is possible and there can't be many people who don't recognize it as a Kate Bush song, if not the name of it. I have been listening to this song for twenty-seven years and I will never tire of it, not ever. It is such an uplifting song and the line 'I just know that something good is gonna happen' is challenging to even the most miserable pessimist. The story is based on Wilhelm Reich and his relationship with his son, Peter. Reich designed a machine, which he called a 'Cloudbuster', which he pointed at the sky and, as he would tell his son, should make it rain. Reich was lambasted as a charlatan and a fraud but he was an intelligent man who was a psychologist and a philosopher. His peers viewed him with contempt and he was eventually arrested by the government for trying to mess with nature and charged with, what virtually added up to witchcraft. In nineteen seventy-three, a grown up Peter wrote his memoirs, which was published as a novel. Kate read this and was deeply moved and affected by the story. In tribute to Peter Reich's book, she wrote 'Cloudbusting'. The video starred Kate herself as a young Peter and Donald Sutherland as Wilhelm Reich. The video plays out the story of Wilhelm and Peter trying to get the Cloudbuster to work. The young Peter is forced to watch as his father is taken away by government officials. Peter runs to the top of the building and uses the Cloudbuster. It works and as his Father is driven away he sees the rain start to fall and is delighted as the government officials look on in wonder. The single was released on October the fourteenth, nineteen eighty-five and I remember getting it three days later for my eighteenth birthday. It was actually the twelve inch and I remember the picture of the Cloudbuster on the cover. It only reached number twenty in the UK charts, which to me is another travesty. I still love the marching, pumping electronic beat to this song and it will always be one of my favourites.
The original album on vinyl obviously consisted of two sides and this is where side one ended.
Side two was meant as a complete one track story and started with track six And Dream of Sheep. Kate's voice is, again, haunting on this song. This really is a little belter of a ballad. Kate's soft voice and idyllic piano are interspersed with samples from various sources, such as birds, the sea, and distant voices. John Sheahan plays whistles on the track and Donal Lunny the Bouzouki, which is a lute of Greek origin and adds that melodic plucking sound to the track. Another upbeat song full of great vocals and backing singers and laced with Kate's sampling and production.
Track seven is entitled Under Ice. Another strange little track with the hint of a marching beat and chanting lyrics. Kate's voice is hauntingly mixed with her brother Paddy Bush's voice to create the feeling of a group of chanters. Paddy plays many instruments on the album, including guitar, mandolin, sitar, harmonica and more unusual instruments such as a Fujara, which is a very unique flute of Slovakian descent, a Kato, balalaika and even a didgeridoo. Not one of my favourite tracks but does fit in with the storyline of the second side and keeps the music flowing nicely. Some nice sounds from Kate's brother.
Track eight, Waking The Witch is another track that shows off Kate's production and mixing qualities and gives you an idea of the scope of her imagination and originality. The song starts with various samples of people saying 'Wake up' in different accents, dialects and moods. Basically a song about the female of the story being accused of being a witch. The lyrics include the lines 'What say you good people?' to which the reply is ' Guilty, guilty, guilty'. This song, possibly, contains more samples than any other song on the album and it is a chilling vision of a past where femininity and the female voice were regarded as nothing more than heresy.
Track nine is called Watching You Without Me. Another slow ballad with a chanting element to it. You can hear the bongos and drums, which are prevalent in the foreground as opposed to being a back beat. More samples towards the middle of the song as kate begins to chant in a foreign language, which could be made up but is more likely to be tribal or ancient knowing Kate. The end of the song reverberates with mixes and samples of Kate's voice all mutated, stuttered and reversed and reminds me of an exorcism or something equally as bewildering and frightening.
Jig Of Life is track ten and has another brilliant blend of regular and exotic instruments throughout the track. Notably Donal Lummy again on the bouzouki with John Carter Bush adding all the narrative lyrics and backing vocals, which again reek of kate's mixing and sampling. Liam O Flynn adds even more of an unearthly, angelic sound on the Uilleann pipes, which are like an Irish version of the Scottish bagpipes. This song has a very Irish feel to it and the word 'Jig' sums it up perfectly. If some of the songs on this album could be described as upbeat, then Jig Of Life is positively exploding with energy. This is one of my favourite tracks on the album. Kate's vocals are heady, vibrant and full on. The Uillean pipes in the middle section of the song are amazing and it makes you want to Riverdance in public with thousands of Irish dancers, well that's how it makes me feel....ahem.
Track eleven is Hello Earth. More smooth vocals from Kate and a lovely balled which encapsulates the whole story of side two of the album. I absolutely love the chorus. Again Kate manages to mix fine melody and vocals with a heady burst of samples And chanting. I don't think anyone could do it this well and this song sums up just how unique and original this album really is. The backing vocals sound brilliant over the enchanting piano and then an army of singers kick in to really bring the song alive. An accomplished track to say the very least.
Onto track twelve and The Morning fog. Brilliant way to finish the album. A great upbeat and lively track with great vocals, both lead and backing. It may be the shortest track on the album but it is in no way the least memorable and continues the theme to its end very well indeed. The piano is very heavy and evident on this track. The eclectic mix of the backing vocals along with Kate sound amazing and they chant lyrics that only Kate Bush could come up with.
In nineteen ninety-seven EMI released the album in a new version, which was remastered and included six extra tracks, which consisted of two twelve inch remixes, three B-sides from the single releases and one track from the nineteen eighty-six movie 'Castaway'. These tracks were as follows....
Track thirteen The Big Sky Meteorogical mix. Brilliant remix and extended version of the single. This track was released in memoriam of the Chernobyl disaster, just two days after the event and was something that Kate felt very strongly about. Also released on seven and twelve inch formats.
Running Up That Hill twelve inch mix was track fourteen and was another extended version of the single. The remix on twelve inch also included the instrumental version, which Kate fans love to sing along to and do so often at gatherings and conventions.
Track fifteen was called Be Kind To My Mistakes and was the title track to the nineteen eighty-six film 'Castaway' starring Oliver Reed and Amanda Donahoe about a man who advertises for a woman to spend time with him on a deserted island. Essentially a love song about two people being brought together through their apparent lack of knowledge of one another. A bit more conventional than the original album tracks but still not a bad song.
Under The Ivy was track sixteen on the extended version of the album and was the original B-side to Running Up That Hill on the single release. A very short song at just over two minutes. Great vocals, as usual, from Kate and a nice little ballad which gets more intense towards the end of the song.
Track seventeen is Burning Bridge. The brilliant B-side from the brilliant Cloudbusting single. A mad mix of drums and chanting all molded neatly into a great rhythm and melody worthy of being on the original album. It may have been one of the intended tracks which was not used on the final copy. I love this song and it is another upbeat, bouncing epic.
Last but by no means least is track eighteen Lagan Love. Another song from the B-side of Cloudbusting. Another ballad and a haunting one at that. Kate shows off her vocals and it makes you realize just what an amazing voice this woman has. A song that rivals any to feature any of the angelic Irish voices that there have been. Kate definitely puts her three octaves to use on this track. A nice way to end the extended album and a joy to listen to with a hot chocolate and your headphones on in a hot bath.
The making of an album. My thoughts and Kate Bush
Kate Bush has long been an artist that I have admired and Hounds of Love has always been an album that I have held in high regard. The album reminds me of Marillion's Misplaced Childhood in the fact that it is an epic story told across an album or an album side. Seven years ago I was fortunate enough to see Marillion's old lead singer and founder 'Fish', who wrote Misplaced Childhood and still owned the rights, perform the whole of the album live again, but this time with his session musicians on a revamped 'Misplaced Childhood Tour'. It was an epic night and the reason for me mentioning this is that I think it would be amazing if Kate would do this with Hounds of Love. She has expressed a wish to perform live in the near future, even if that does not entail touring, which it probably won't. A live show of this album in its entirety would be a massive thank you to her fans and a great live spectacle. Kate hasn't toured and only done a handful of live appearances since the seventies. There have been many stories and rumours passed about the music industry and among like-minded fans. Fear of flying was one, stage fright another. The real reason however, is that a close friend of Kate's died while working as part of her road crew when a piece of equipment fell on him. It affected Kate badly and she never toured again. There may even be some truth in the other reasons and he may be a mixture of all three but the stage fright rumour is unlikely as Kate is a very driven person, very strong willed and charismatic. She doesn't find it difficult to take control of a situation and that is, in fact, one of her strengths.
Most music critics berated Kate Bush for trying to be too clever with Hounds of Love but far from over-stepping her own creative boundaries, she, in my opinion, of course, did a masterful job and the album is testament to what a good job she did. Kate wanted this album to be one of her own making, something entirely from her own mind, her own creation. That is the most likely reason she was at loggerheads with EMI over the 'Deal With God' wording and lyrics and the commotion it created. Make no bones about it though, this is all Kate's work and was, in fact, recorded at her own studios which she had built into her home. The fact that she was willing to try out and sample new things speaks volumes. Whether it be the folksy instruments, the choir type chanting vocals or the mix of several experimental agents, you can be sure that every note was mulled over, chopped and changed until Kate had what she wanted.
Something else that was new to Kate, if not new to music, was, as mentioned earlier in alluding to Marillion's album, the two-sided album of different meanings and the story as one track as opposed to several separate ones. Side One or The Hounds of Love was the ultimate upbeat pop explosion and one which spawned many famous tunes, which are so recognisible today. Side Two, which is known as The Ninth Wave is an emotional journey of human psyche and alludes to being born, growing up and living through life until eventual death. Something we will all experience. It could have been deemed as a morbid or miserable album with the ballads it contains but Kate still managed to keep that pop beat and folksy upbeat tempo which is prevalent throughout.
The CD versions for me are not as personal as the vinyl releases. Not just because of any nostalgic feeling but because the two side element is removed, at least in the fact that you don't have to turn over the record to side two to begin the story of The Ninth Wave. The extended CD version released for EMI's one hundredth anniversary is a nice CD to have though.
The album was a commercial hit but still not as big as it should have been regarding the single chart positions. However, in a time when people actually bought records, Hounds of Love faired rather well. She would've lost a lot of sales today and probably potentially still does with illegal downloading and piracy. Good for Kate that she released such a brilliant, ahead of its time album, when she did.
The DVD release Hounds of Love a classic Album Under Review was released in 2009 and a host of music critics, journalists and musicians that played on the album give you a great insight into how it was made and how it came about. A great DVD to own if you're a Kate Bush fan and a must have for the collector.
One of the best albums of the eighties and still an amazing album today. This is one of my guilty pleasures and it is a privelege to write about it for you here. Thanks for reading and go out and buy it if you haven't got or heaven forbid have never heard it.
Kate Bush - Hounds of Love (1985)
Producer: Kate Bush
Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)
Hounds of Love
The Big Sky
Mother Stands for Comfort
And Dream of Sheep
Waking the Witch
Watching You Without Me
Jig of Life
The Morning Fog
Released in 1985, Hounds of Love is the fifth album by Kate Bush. Arriving three years after her turbulent and frenzied previous record, The Dreaming, here we find Kate Bush at the peak of her career, as both a songwriter and performer. The Dreaming had been a high-quality record but unfortunately Kate had taken a bit of a beating where album sales were concerned. Not only did she receive lacklustre sales but she had run up gargantuan fees while recording the album. Possibly the greatest disappointment, however, was that The Dreaming had failed to resonate with many of her fans, as by even Kate's standards it was inspiringly uncommercial, and ultimately alienated many listeners.
Not one to be deterred by what one might call a few 'snagging' issues, Kate picked herself up, dusted herself down and began to step into the next phase of her career. Kate built a private recording studio within the local vicinity of her home so that she could unhurriedly prepare her follow up album and work it to within an inch of perfection. Always a publication to be on the ball, the NME published a 'Where Are They Now?' article on Kate Bush in August 1985, probing her past and questioning her future. To the unsuspecting public it may have seemed that Kate's career had been all but written off. However, a mere two days later she premiered Running Up That Hill on The Wogan Show and everyone had their first taste of what Kate had quietly been beavering away on. Subsequently, both the single and its parent album, Hounds of Love, would enter the top ten, the latter even managing to dislodge Madonna's revered Like a Virgin album from the top spot. 'Where Are They Now?' indeed. Fools.
While distinctively being a cohesive whole, Hounds of Love is actually split into two halves, 'Hounds of Love' and 'The Ninth Wave', or respectively the A side and B side to ye olde vinyl owners (so no-one gets confused, from this point on when I say 'Hounds of Love' I am referring to the album as a whole, not the first half of the record). The first portion of the album features some of Kate's more accessible material and provided her with some of the biggest singles of her career, as each of the five songs explores different aspects of love as an emotion, be it the love of a parent (Cloudbusting), the love of the natural elements (The Big Sky), or the uncompromising love for a child (Mother Stands for Comfort).
The real enjoyment comes from getting involved with the music and revelling in their dense structures. Take The Big Sky, for example, which on first listen grabs your attention with its lengthy, energized outro. Repeated plays, though, find that it is its lyrics which deserve the real applause, as Kate relates one of the simplest pleasures in life - watching the clouds change shapes! "It's changing in the big sky... this cloud says Noah, come on, build me an ark!" And when Kate isn't being entertained by the wonders of creation she is breaking our hearts with the likes of Cloudbusting. Built around a heart wrenching string section, Cloudbusting sees Kate turning in one of her career defining vocal performances, as she injects high octane levels of raw energy into what is undoubtedly technical perfection, too.
The second side of the album features some of the most affecting pieces of music which I am yet to hear, beginning with the nightmarish songs Under Ice and Waking the Witch, and culminating in the semi-apocalyptic visions of Hello Earth. For my money, the real value of Hounds of Love lies in The Ninth Wave, as it transcends genre and courageously makes a bold musical statement. The predisposed pagan poetry of Jig of Life is another chance for Kate to flex her vocal chords, while the Irish influenced instrumentation infuses the music with a sense of wonderment. As for lyrics, they don't come much better than the verses found throughout the angelic Hello Earth, which is one of Kate's best ever atmospheric pieces. "Go to sleep, little earth," motions Kate, "I was there at the birth, out of the cloudburst, the head of the tempest," possibly charting world developments from the Almighty Creator's viewpoint.
The two songs which bookmark the ends of The Ninth Wave, And Dream of Sheep and The Morning Fog, are stellar examples of Kate's ambition when it comes to arrangements. Carefully peer inside their musical landscapes and you'll be delighted by their complex structure, lavish backing vocals and delicate instrumentation. One could go through these tracks with a fine tooth comb and still be discovering hidden elements, possibly even months after purchase.
The 1997 reissue of the album added a number of extra tracks, mostly remixes and B sides from the album's singles. I'm usually against such needless cases of repackaging but the 1997 pressing is worth it for the tear-inducing beauty of Under the Ivy - one of Kate Bush's finest songs and she totally nails the art of the two minute musical hors d'oeuvre.
As you listen, you will discover that Hounds of Love has not endangered Kate's artistic intent, of which had previously been flaunted throughout The Dreaming - it's simply that the whole package is a lot more welcoming this time around. I've had Hounds of Love for several years now and it will always hold a special place in my heart. The songs consistently feature superb melodies, which are endlessly defined by Kate's voluptuous and matured vocals, while the actual song structures themselves will have you foaming at the lips (the ones 'tween your hips). On all accounts, Hounds of Love is a must buy album and deserves a place in everyone's music collection.
Read more reviews at www.danielkempreviews.co.uk
NOTE: I'm not going to list who produced, directed, conducted and played what on this album, as it's far too complicated....plus the print on the CD is so ridiculously small and in a bizarrely unreadable font - apologies!
Reached no.1 in UK album charts in September 1985
SINGLES TAKEN FROM THE ALBUM:
Running up that hill: No.3 in August 1985
Cloudbursting: No.20 in October 1985
Hounds of Love: No.18 in March 1986
The Big Sky: No.37 in May 1986
DISCLAIMER: There have been many theories put forward as to what this album is truly about, and Kate herself has been rather vague on the issue. What follows is my own interpretation.
Though I didn't hear too much of Kate Bush's "Hounds Of Love" album until 1986, it eventually became very special for a lot of reasons. At the time during 1986 when I was listening to it a lot, it coincided with the very welcome breakup of my marriage and I gained a deep sense of positivity and forward motion from Kate's music. Though I wasn't at the time sure what she was singing about, the whole mood of the album spoke of something that I wasn't quite understanding, but which felt really good.
Once my post-divorce life had settled and really opened up in the very best of ways, I began to listen again to "Hounds Of Love"....in 1991. Now, during 1991 I happened to meet THE one! OK, at the end of the day some years later it didn't work out, but it was during that very excitable period through pretty much the whole of 1991, that I began to put an interpretation on this particular collection of Kate Bush's songs.
Many years later, and stuck inside of my own head and my own time-warp, I don't listen to the album often, but when I do, it brings back some wonderful memories. I have lost the "me" that I was in those days, but hopefully have become something else that is of equal value.
Here is my little rundown on an album that I might have lost some understanding of since the mid-1980s and early 1990s, but let's see what comes up.......
NB: This album is in two sections.
PART I : HOUNDS OF LOVE
1) RUNNING UP THAT HILL (A DEAL WITH GOD)
This track starts with single note on an instrument which sounds electronic, with a synthesizer coming in with the main tune....backed by a rather anxious-sounding drumbeat. Kate's voice then begins to sing a rather haunting song which sounds as if it's to a lover - the relationship winding down to a close, as it has become all too difficult for her (hence the expression "running up that hill"). Kate (backed by her own over-dubbed voice) sings of what sounds like a slight frustration, possibly at how the man could be treating her - I detect a little hint at him maybe not being as sensitive as he could be and not picking up on the subtleties around them which could have enhanced their relationship....it's now too late though. In the middle of the song, the drums give a few rather violent little runs in addition to the constant roll throughout....and we get a little guitar joining in, strumming softly and occasionally giving a fuzzed up crash on a chord. The song ends with Kate's voice toned down to almost a whisper, accompanied by male backing vocalists....and a final, soft chord on the electronic-sounding instrument.
2) HOUNDS OF LOVE
This song begins with a couple of crashes on some sort of percussion instrument, with a male voice....rather nervously warning...... "It's in the trees, it's coming". Kate's voice then joins in and sings of a nightmare she had as a child, of something coming at her through the trees. She then goes on to sing about the delicious sense of excitement, yet nervous uncertainty of a new life of freedom from the relationship which has gone stale. Kate describes how she's always been a coward and doesn't know what's good for her; therefore, to leave, could she be making a mistake? .... The fear comes out again, in case what feels for the moment is going to be the best thing in the world, turns out to be the worst. There are some nice almost spiritual images in this song, and it has a haunting mood of mystical things...legends, fairy stories and childhood, perhaps turning to the "child within" for some answers. It ends on a single, quite lengthy violin note.
3) THE BIG SKY
This song begins with Kate singing...making an analogy between childhood and adulthood. She jumps from childhood images to what is going on currently in adult life, it's now a definite goodbye to the unsatisfactory relationship which has gone sour, and being on the verge of stepping into a new life....maybe a new relationship which is just around the corner, that the last two songs speak of. I think this is like a "goodbye" song....looking away from the old life, and (towards the "big sky"), casting forward towards what's new and on the horizon. Kate's voice is very over-dubbed (backing vocals) on this track, and it's got an almost African-style drumbeat, rather a frantic-sounding (pleasantly so!) song that rolls along with a few Yoko Ono-type warbles and blood-curdling shrieks from Kate, as it draws to a close, gradually fading away.
4) MOTHER STANDS FOR COMFORT
This song begins with a bit of gentle drumming and the sound of glass breaking, and we are launched back (with Kate's voice) into childhood images again, speaking of how "mother" always knows what she's doing, when she's done something wrong. This time mother knows too, as she senses her daughter (Kate) is about to break up her existing life and enter a new one, and is a little dubious. This is a strange song, with unusual percussion, a little guitar and synthesizer backing, and little tinkles of breaking glass sounds - somewhat eerie in parts, and reassuring (like a mother is supposed to be) in other parts. The song moves into an adult child's plea to a mother for her to realise the adult child is now grown-up, and must make her own choices. As with the other songs, Kate's own voice is overdubbed onto the main vocals. We have a couple more Yoko Ono-like shrieks, before the song gently winds down with a tinkling piano, and closes on a soft synthesizer note.
This begins with a few drastic-sounding notes on a violin, not dissimilar to The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" in style, then Kate's voice begins to sing what sounds like a song to the person she's just about to break the relationship with. Then we get a rather plodding drumbeat join in, with Kate telling the person that he's like rain in her head, but she knows something good is going to happen....presumably away from him......just saying it could make it happen! Again, this song brings in some rather childlike images - like playing with toys, analogising that with what's going on in adult life. The old relationship makes the cloudburst happen, but looking ahead towards the new life, the sun comes out...when will it happen though? The drastic mood of the violins increases towards the end of the song, with Kate repeating that the sun's coming out.....we then hear a few drumbeats, a train whistle, and the song closes with the sound of a gentle rain shower, with a faint rumble of thunder in the background.
PART II : THE NINTH WAVE
6) AND DREAM OF SHEEP
Little light shining.....! This track is Kate singing softly, with very gentle piano backing. In comes a series of slightly muffled voices, like a radio being tuned in - then we have a drastic piano/violin chord before the song goes quiet again. The song is largely about drifting off to sleep whilst listening to the radio, experiencing that strange sort of fantasy world we slip into whilst in that half, almost hallucinatory world between consciousness and unconsciousness......the world where all the instinctive truths are, uncluttered by the idiosyncrasies of our day to day existence. Whilst asleep, Kate hopes the seed of a new phase of life will be planted and grow.
7) UNDER ICE
This song immediately follows on from the previous one, with no gap in between. It opens with a drastic sounding violin and Kate's voice singing, deep and almost fearful about what I assume is a dream she's having, skating on ice....which is splitting slowly, breaking up underneath her feet, spitting snow. There is something in the underworld of the ice, moving, trying to get out of the cold water - then Kate sings "It's me" and gives a huge wail, then the song ends on a strange, synthesized single note. This song is particularly important to me on a personal level, because just as my own marriage was thankfully ending and I was feeling something rising inside of me - breaking through - something of a new world just around the corner, I used to have dreams very similar to this - dreams where I was in a situation of being trapped somewhere unpleasant, but the things which were trapping me were disintegrating, breaking down - slowly freeing me from all restrictions.
8) WAKING THE WITCH
This track begins with a long slow piano chord, which then moves into gentle tinkling - backed by many different voices....male and female, different ages, different accents, all saying "wake up" in different ways and different situations. There is a soft chorus chanting in the background with some strange, mystical noises - then the song breaks into Kate making some strange guttural noises, with rather threatening-sounding male voices, bells ringing - a kind of cacophony of being startled by a very alive world, on first waking up to it...she is free! I think this song should partly be interpreted as waking up from an ordinary sleep that has been disturbed by strange dreams of the type we usually get when our life is in transition, and partly waking up in the scheme of life - the old (the restrictive relationship) has been thrown off, and the new awaits....bright, shining and happy, but nerve-wracking and a little scary. It's like a solstice of kinds...the witch (the inner woman) is awaking and temporarily being startled, yet fascinated by a whole world, rather than the half-world she had previously been living in. The song ends with the sound of a helicopter, and a male voice shouting "Get out of the water!" - a command, I interpret, to get out of the rut that life has been in and walk into the new. There is also some guilt expressed by the newly awakening "witch" at having to walk away from the relationship and the damaging lifestyle.
9) WATCHING YOU WITHOUT ME
This song begins with soft muted guitar and another instrument I can't identify, backed by a strange, almost plopping drumbeat. Kate's voice (overdubbed by herself) comes in slowly and quietly, as she, from a distance, watches the person who she has maybe not physically, but emotionally walked away from. She expresses that her ghost still remains in their home, but in reality she isn't there. This song has almost a Japanese feel to it...both instrumentally and vocally, and again I am reminded of Yoko Ono - though Kate's strange noises aren't quite so startling as Yoko's. Some of the words of this song are broken up, a bit like hearing somebody speaking with a poor mobile phone signal... the track then just winds down quietly to a close.
10) JIG OF LIFE
Now...this song is going to be very hard to explain, as my sense of it is extremely subjective - it's a song that for me holds almost unfathomable depth, but that's because I align it to a certain wonderful period of my life which many years on, I'm still grappling with, trying to understand what it was all about. This is an Irish jig which begins with violin, then Kate's voice comes in...backed by violin and aeolian pipe. The words are very much about getting in touch with the true essence of the deepest part of life, yet simultaneously feeling as though everything that is forthcoming isn't quite deserving. It feels to me like a battle between the rather "surface" image of womanhood and the deeper, more hidden part of the feminine spirit that comes from a place of almost mystic intuition. The song then launches into full Irish jig instrumental mode in its entirety, with one-hand clapping, Irish drumbeat, and rather masterfully played violin....backed by mandolin, flute and the sound of a clog dance. Then......suddenly the music stops....and Kate's voice, together with a man who has an Irish accent, speak the words..... "I put this moment here".... he replies "Over here", then he launches into reading one of the most beautiful and mystical pieces of poetry ever written. This is a traditional poem whose author sadly I can't find any information on, but each time I hear it, I am spellbound. As the reading of the poem progresses, the Irish music joins in again.....and the whole thing ends with a cessation of the music, and a little recording of two US astronauts....one asks the other.... "Where are we?" and receives the answer.... "Nine times the speed of sound". They, fading away, chatter to one another and the song drifts off into nothing.
11) HELLO EARTH
This track begins with Kate's voice singing....slowly... "Hello earth, hello world" - she goes on to say that with one hand, she can blot him out. She realises, as she's driving home, that she's now moving away from all the restrictions of the past, and is ready to move towards the bright thing.....trembling in the distance. The song then suddenly changes, and we have a very slow, grave-sounding piece of singing from a Welsh male voice choir - acapella style. Then backed by violins, Kate returns, joining in with the choir....looking at stars, the wind, out to sea, over to America - now able to have a wide, panoramic view of life, the world - maybe even beyond. The backing voices sing that she is now stepping out of the water, insinuating that she is free. Kate tries to explain to anyone....someone.... maybe the sky, God, the "witch" or whoever, why she left the old life and walked into the new - this sky, God or "witch" could be her conscience and way of rationalising the dramatic changes she has made in her life. The male voice choir continues to sing softly in the background, this time in an almost reassuring way, as if saying that what must be must be, and that all is OK. The song ends on a final, soft chord....which mutates (with the choir) and moves up the scale, with Kate's voice talking to the wind - the wind answers softly back.
12) THE MORNING FOG
This is quite a fast-ish song, with Kate backed by piano, guitar (that sounds a little like Mark Knopfler's style) and her own overdubbed voice. She is singing of love, singing of being born again, walking into a new, bright and shining life. I'm not sure if the love she sings of is that from a new partner, or from the world being reflected back at her as she is now in her true essence and attracting positive things....but she is so elated by finding herself in the place she has travelled to, that she wants to tell the whole world about it. It's a song that carries a positive mood of all darkness, trouble, strife and restrictiveness - a half life - having been walked away from, and celebrating the strength and peace of mind which comes from moving onward and upward.
Well that about sums up my analysis on Kate Bush's "Hounds of Love" album.
This has been a very difficult piece to write and say exactly what I meant. I was trying to be as objective as possible - but that's hard when all the music contained therein has a deep, and intimate bond with the two most important parts of my own past, during my adult life. Because of the overwhelming intimacy I have felt - and still do feel - with this album, I can't rate any of the tracks less than 10 out of 10, and that is true perfection. The whole album tells a story - more or less using the exact images and words that I'd like to have used myself - of a section of my own life.
I'm not the world's greatest fan of Kate Bush in the normal way, but with "Hounds Of Love" she more than hits the spot....she gets right down into the deepest core of ME!
In a way, "Hounds of Love" isn't dissimilar to Joe Jackson's "Night & Day" and "Body & Soul" albums, which I won't say any more about here other than that they describe the breakup of an existing relationship and entering into a new one. I would love to review those two albums by Joe Jackson one day on DooYoo, so will say no more on them now. The reason why I feel "Hounds Of Love" to be similar, is the dividing of the album into two parts (whereas Joe's spans two albums) - the first being about dissatisfaction with a relationship and place in life, and the second part being about throwing off the shackles of the past and walking into a new world.
Thanks for reading!
I was just 10 years old when I first heard Wuthering Heights. It’s funny how moments in time are frozen in clarity. I was in the car with my Dad. I don’t remember where we had been but we were just driving home. Wuthering Heights came on the radio and I instantly fell in love. I remember praying for my Dad to drive really slowly so that I could hear the end of the song before we reached home. I also remember my Dad turning the radio up - a shared moment. I guess it was the inherent and obvious witchiness of Kate that captured me. She was just so different. It wasn’t until the Hounds of Love however that I bought any of her albums. I rarely bought music when I was a kid. Hounds of Love was actually a birthday present for my Dad but er...I seem to have the album here and playing now - sorry Dad! Released in 1985, this was the long awaited follow up to ‘The Dreaming’. I know quite a few people who don’t appreciate the wildness of The Dreaming but personally I think it’s fantastic. It was edgy, chaotic and utterly unique - anything but mainstream which is probably why it falls into a love it or hate it bracket. At the time of writing Kate was determined to find a way of dealing with the harsh realities of life - war, hate, anger - the negativity of mankind. Once this was out of her system, room and time were made for ‘Hounds of Love’. As a whole it seems more mature than any other previous album. For me every album by Kate is pure genius but Hounds of Love is the one that I love the most. After all, even the cover with the gorgeous Kate lying in bed with two Weimerraner dogs and a quote from Tennyson on the back - I mean is this woman trying to seduce me? The album is really two albums - two movements. The 1st side is the ‘Hounds of Love’ and contains the more poppy songs released as singles such as Running Up that Hill (A Deal with God), Hounds of Love Cloudbu
sting and The Big Sky. The latter is one that brings alive memories of drunken shenanigans in the Number 1 club in Manchester from my early 20’s. You could tell the time by the records they played and so when The Big Sky came on it was usually around twenty to two - and yes we’d do all the dance movements because we were too drunk to care by then! I loved this album from the moment I saw Kate doing her sexy dance to Hounds of Love on Top of the Pops. I love the idea of being hunted by love and the line ‘Take my shoes off and throw them in the lake I’ll be two steps on the water’ ...is just pure genius The train beat of Cloudbusting is always a firm favourite. Based on the esoteric work of Wilhelm Reich, the video stared the wonderful Donald Sutherland. I practically collapsed in horror when I first watched, thinking Kate had cut off her hair - thankfully it was just a wig. The song is based on the special relationship between father and son - a child's eye view of his father. Father is everything, Daddy can even make the rainfall. ‘Just saying it can even make it happen’ Kate was inspired to write this after reading A Book of Dreams by Peter Reich which told of his relationship with his father Wilhelm. Sadly the video and song does actually tell the true tale of Wilhelm eventually being arrested by the government and imprisoned for his ideas. He died behind bars leaving Peter bereft - hence the Book of Dreams. ‘The Ninth Wave’ is the second side of the album and explores the journey of someone caught far out at sea floating on the water - really it is the story of a journey to death. I love the concept - the ultimate horror of being in the ocean alone, hoping for rescue, knowing that death is inevitable. We don’t know why they are there - they just are. ‘And Dream of Sheep’ begins with our hero floating on the water, knowi
ng they cannot go to sleep because they may roll over and drown. The song - as is the whole of the Ninth Wave is surreal. It follows the twists and turns of a mind that is fighting to stay alive - a mind that has nothing to do but focus on staying alive and turn in on itself. ‘Let me be weak, let me sleep and dream of sheep...’ ‘Under Ice’ brings in the horror and the dread as memories of skating on the river weave into the present situation - not knowing what lurks beneath the water, the fear of drowning and being trapped under the ice. The Ninth Wave is very visual and this adds to the magic and intrigue of the story. ‘There’s something moving under the ice’ I find this very disturbing - not least because of that bit in the film The Omen when that kid is trapped under the ice. Kind of a real fear of mine although hardly likely to manifest seeing as I can’t even stand up on skates... Drowning somehow has that romantic quality to it - we drown in love, we drown in kisses - somehow drowning in water has taken on that seduction of death that many of us have. Whenever I have been on a boat or ferry or a high cliff over the sea I always think of jumping - not because I actually want to die - just something about the experience seems glorious. Yet somehow in all of this Kate manages to weave the reality of the situation - the real hair-standing-on-end horror of facing you death absolutely alone in the middle of the ocean. Can you imagine that? ‘Waking the Witch’ begins with the voices of the past waking the hero as he falls into sleep. Voices of Mother, Father, Brother all eerily whisper from speaker to speaker. ‘Wake up’ Here it seems as though the hero finds themselves wondering whether they deserve to die. She uses the analogy of the Inquisition and the drowning of the witch. The songs feels aggressive, frightening - the demonic
voice of the Inquisitor rips into being and makes me feel like I am struggling for breath. I remember the tales of the witches who couldn’t win either way - if you drown you’re not a witch, if you float you’re a witch and we burn you! ‘Wings in Water - go down’ Perhasp before death we mourn those things we did wrong and never meant to - perhaps guilt becomes an issue in the face of eternity. ‘Guilty, guilty, guilty’ The song moves into the haunting ‘Watching You Without Me’ which has been known on occasion to make me cry. Here we have the tale of a someone who has died watching those they love grieving for them. Broken voices that beg to be heard, beg to be acknowledged build up the sense of being utterly lost and alone. It calls on the dreams I have had of being dead and no one can hear me - it calls to my attention my fear of being trapped on earth after death and not being able to communicate with those I love. It taps into my need to acknowledge any sensation I get of ‘presence’ in my home because I would hate for some spirit there to feel as lonely as this song. Hello Earth is probably my favourite on the whole album - perhaps because it is so visual Hello Earth, Hello Earth ‘With just my hand held up high I can blot you out Out of sight Peek a boo, peek a boo Little Earth This is the most epic of songs. The spirit of our drowning hero leaves their body and now travels high up into the sky to regard the planet. The lyrics and music evoke the awe and wonder of seeing planet earth from space - the beauty and insignificance of us in this giant universe. A male voice choir quietly intones a powerful lament as we feel drawn further and further away from earth. It is infinitely sad and inspiring. ‘Go to sleep little earth’ Finally we have The Morning Fog, light and fluffy in tune but
powerful in words. The night has passed for our hero and the morning light dawns. They begin to fall through the water but now as they look death in the face they realise how much they truly love their friends and family. In the face of death the thought of parting shows us how much we love life. It kind of follows my theory that the moment before death is when we are most alive. Originally I believe the Ninth Wave was meant to be a film - or was to be filmed. At the time I remember thinking wow! However now I tend to feel as though any images put to the music would somehow take away from my own vision of the piece. I am content just to listen and let the lyrics form pictures in my mind that have meaning to me. Kate Bush has inspired me musically, spiritually and creatively in general. She has a creative ability that is utterly unique, a voice that can reach ranges I can’t even dream of - a ability to paint with words and a deep sensitivity to and reverence for life. The album seems to call upon images from my past, wandering the fields near my home in childhood. It reminds me of being in the car at night driving home through the country roads and being scared of the dark trees looming over the car. It reminds me of gothic novels, Edgar Allen Poe, the music of Elgar and the silence of the graveyard where my grandfather lies. Wave after wave of emotion. There’s something about me in here and something I long to be. Just perfection.
Love or hate her, Kate Bush made a big impact with her very first single. Wuthering Heights was a huge surprise hit, but it was a very quirky song and many thought she would be no more than a one hit wonder. She proved everyone wrong by releasing a very successful album ‘The Kick Inside’ and then increased her musical standing further with the even better ‘Lion Heart’. Kate Bush has never been a pop artist in the true meaning of the term. She is serious about her music and even though her early song sold millions she never compromised what she wanted to do musically in order to achieve sales. Her next album ‘Never For Ever’ consolidated her success making an impact both in the singles and album chart. With her fourth record ‘The Dreaming’ (which included collaborations with Rolf Harris and Percy Edwards!) her popularity fell and the record was if not a commercial failure at the very least disappointing when compared to her previous work. I personally think it was a fine record but just too complex for the kind of audience she had built up thus far. She realised that in order to get her career back on track the next album must be special and ‘Hounds Of Love’ is indeed a vary special album. After ‘The Dreaming’ she retreated from the music business and lived a normal life for six months. The record company EMI had by then limited the budget she could have for her next record Kate Bush always had a very experimental approach to her music and this meant it could take a long time to get things just right, with studio time being very expensive she felt that a limit on her production cost would affect her creativity so in order to re take control of her work she set up her own make shift studio and began recording in January 1984. Musically the ‘Hounds of Love’ took Bush in yet another direction, she had been heavily influenced by Peter Gabriel’s recent work and wit
h her partner Del Palmer (a former band member of the pub rock outfit The K.T Bush Band) she began to translate those influences into her very distinctive musical style. The project was not easy, Bush has always been a perfectionist and she would regularly record a whole set of perfect takes before she would choose the one she preferred. The songs on ‘Hounds Of Love’, although more chart friendly than the selection on ‘The Dreaming’ still had a very unusual sound and rhythm to them, which complemented her unique vocal sound and delivery. Her inspiration came from films and books. The track ‘Cloudbusting’ is based on a book by Peter Reich about his father the inventor Wilhelm Reich, ‘Hounds Of Love’ the title song was inspired by a 1957 horror movie ‘The Night Of the Demon’ and ‘The Ninth Wave’ from war films like ‘The Cruel Sea’. ‘The Ninth Wave’ which comprises the final seven songs on the original vinyl release is probably one of Kate Bush most ambitious pieces of work. In this mini concept section of the record she traces the different aspects and stages of a woman drowning. Past, present and future are seen through the eyes of the drowning woman as she comes to term with her life and death. Incorporating such, some might say controversial element to what was supposed to be a comeback album was an extremely brave thing to do but in the end she was fully justified in doing it. She made use of new technology in the form of synthesizers to reproduce orchestral sounds but where she thought it was required she also recorded the natural instruments. While recording 'The Ninth Wave' she was not satisfied with the recorded special effects version of the waves of the sea so she set off to record the waves live to ensure that even this small aspect of the song was just as she wanted it. For more than a year she completely immersed herself in the proj
ect at the expense of everything else in her life. Her health suffered and she began to put on a lot of weight due late nights at the studios and a bad-diet coupled to a lack of exercise. Inevitably her lack of public appearances coupled with wild rumours about her personal well being managed to create unwanted publicity about her in the tabloid press. Many had begun to write her off as a once great emerging talent, which ultimately couldn’t cope with the tough world of the music industry. Finally in June 1985 the record was completed and ready for release. Now began a protracted battle with the record company about what songs should be released as singles and even what the exact titles of the tracks should be. The track ‘Running Up That Hill’, which eventually reached number three in the British charts was originally called ‘A Deal With God’ but after some threats by radio station sin the US and Europe that would not play any song that had God in the title Kate Bush finally agreed to change it. EMI wanted ‘Cloudbusting’ to be first single but eventually Bush got her own way. The album was a stunning success and despite the very experimental nature of the conceptual ‘The Ninth Wave collection of tracks at the end of the original track layout, it went to number one and stayed there for over a month. The final result was a brilliant slice of 80’s pop. Some very strong lyrical ballads with the techno overtones so much in vogue at the time, but although it fitted well with the music at the time you immediately knew that this record was going to outlive many of its contemporaries. This is a brilliantly crafted record that shows Kate Bush’s great skill as a songwriter and vocalist. It has aged well and can still be listened to today. In terms of inventiveness and distinctiveness ‘Hounds Of Love’ is one of the best records of the 80’s and deserves the critical praise that it has received.
Kate Bush is beginning work on a new project soon, after years of self imposed exile from the music scene, will her next comeback be as good as this was? I’m not sure but I’m certain it will be as always different and uncompromising tow adjectives that can be rarely used about pop record today. Tracks: Original Vinyl release: Running up that hill Hounds of love Big sky Mother stands for comfort Cloudbusting -(The Ninth Wave) And dream of sheep Under ice Waking the witch Watching you without me Jig of life Hello Earth Morning fog Added CD tracks – (Special cuts and B-sides to singles) The big sky (Meteorogical mix) Running up that hill (12" mix) Be kind to my mistakes Under the ivy Burning bridge My lagan love Thanks for reading and rating this opinion © Mauri 2002
Kate Bush's 1985 album Hounds Of Love was a sensational comeback, particularly in light of her previous record's commercial failure. The Dreaming, released 3 years earlier, was just too weird for most people, with its bizarre title track and general sense of unhinged genius. Undaunted, she ensconced herself in her home studio and produced an ambitious piece of work that was as successful as it was daringly ambitious. Hounds Of Love is technically two distinct halves...the opening five song suite consisted of relatively straightforward pop songs (all things being relative in the workd of Kate Bush), while The Ninth Wave, a seven track song-cycle was side 2 on the vinyl and cassette versions. Running Up That Hill was an atmospheric opener. It was originally titled A DealWith God, but in the face of potential controversy she relented to record company pressure and agreed to the change, something she eternally regrets. The song puts an intriuging spin on gender politics, with the woman wishing she could exchange places with her partner so they would both "feel the experience" and be closer to each other as a result. Underpinned by a drum machine pattern as insitent as it is synthetic, some eerie fairlight keyboard samples add the required edge. Next up, is the all-too-brief title cut, an almost breathless journey through a sonic forest of agitated strings, injured foxes and sexuality - "the hounds of love are hunting", goes the chorus, as the song mirrors the central theme of feminity bursting forth amid a sea of indecision and nervous excitement. The Big Sky is a classic example of Kate Bush's dreamier side, the fairly simple subject being that of sitting in the open, watching the clouds roll past and seeing shapes in their formations - "that cloud, it looks like Ireland!". A rumbling rhythm again provides a perfectly empathetic musical backdrop - invigorating and life-affirming. <br> A more traditoinal slice of Kate Bush storytelling is Mother Stands For Comfort, a slightly mournful ballad about a murderer who suspects his mother "knows that I've been doing something wrong", but "she won't mind me lying". It's the one track on Hounds Of Love which could have hailed from her earlier albums, 1980's Never For Ever especially. Cloudbusting again sees Kate take on the personality of a young man, this time through the recollections of a youth spent with his father who created a machine that, when pointed at the sly, could make rain. The wonderment factor is high once more, as is the undercurrent of lost innocence. His father was arrested by the government for undisclosed misdemeanours, and the dream was over. "Oh God, Daddy...I won't forget". The strings so prominent on Hounds Of Love (the song) return here, though slower and more graceful. It's highly original, and deeply evocative. The approximated sounds of a stream train pulling into a station end the track, and Side 1. So, to The Ninth Wave, essentially the tale of a young woman's night alone in the ocean after an unspecified accident. Kate Bush's more eccentric, etheral tendencies are given free reign on the seven songs that make up the album's second half. It beings with the delicate And Dream Of Sheep (Tori Amos must have listened to this album in her youth), as our heroine is stranded on the water with only the light of her lifejacket as proetction from the enveloping darkness. "Let me be weak, let me sleep..and dream of sheep." The imagery, as on the remiander of the song-cycle, is vivid and memorable. Only the most minimal of musical backdrops are generally required. Under Ice is full of foreboding, not least from its menacing synthesizer stabs and low-register vocals. Having succumbed to the proverbial forty winks, all kinds of nasty things await in her dreams. &qu
ot;There's something moving under the ice, through water...trying to get out of the cold water. It's me". A subtext of female sexuality is again hinted at on the nightmarish Waking The Witch, which features a cacophony of voices slipping in and out of the mix, as the protagonist's fear grows. Snippets of familar voices, both loved and loathed, merge into one another until evntually a full-blown voice of death questions her innocence, "confess to me girl or go down", as the song takes on the form of a witch-hunt trial. "What say you good people? Guilty! Guilty!". Instense stuff. Respite is offered with the more reflective Watching You Without Me. The girl is now in her loved one's home, trying to communicate with them despite her physical absence. A clever twist on the theme of separation, the vocals are often muffled to further highlight her inability to be heard. "You didn't hear me come in, you won't hear me leave". The tune is equally low-key and gently probing. The situations takes a turn for the better on Jig Of Life, a dense celtic workout with fiddles, bodhran drums, handclaps and a spoken section by Kate's father John Bush, in a strong Irish Brogue. Drawing on the music of her family's homeland, it's one of the album's highlights, with its madcap yet celebratory feel..as the character's fate is brought back from the brink in a stampede of "na-na-na-naa's" and declarations of "c'mon, let me live". Hello Earth starts off in a similar fashion to And Dream Of Sheep, before exploding into a power-ballad of sorts (nothing, remember, is straightforward in the world of Kate Bush). Now, the girl is more assertive, invigorated by her near-death encounter and survival in the face of her deepest fears. Her call to "all you sailors, all you cruisers, all you fisherman....head for home" is counterpointed by the sound of
a male voice repeatedly instructing the girl to "get out of the waves, get out the water". Rescue, at last? Dawn breaks with The Morning Fog and, realising she is still alive, she likens the feeling to "being born again into the sweet morning fog", and the questioning of her decision to go on the ill-fated journey during Hello Earth ("why did I go? why did I go?") is replaced by "d'you know what, I love you better now". A gorgeous, understated melody full of hope and resolution is the perfect setting for this closing track. Compelling, almost insanely inventive at times, Hounds Of Love remains one of THE great albums of all-time, let alone of the 1980s. 47 minutes of extremely satisfying, imaginative pop music. It really doesn't get much better than this. NB. My copy does not include the bonus remixes and extra tracks that the later reprint contains.
Talented. Sexy. Creative. Seductive. I'm not coming out of any closets, but I loved Kate Bush. I wanted to BE Kate Bush. Albums liked this only made the obsession worse. Forget any ideas of wailing, the singing on here is as smooth as silk. Kate certainly knows how to put a soul through a wringer, and whether you love her or loathe her, this album shows she doesn't really care. She does her stuff in her own inimitable way, and so what if it's not mainstream, the musical equivalent of publish and be damned. "Running Up That Hill", "Hounds Of Love", "Cloudbusting" (remember the video with Donald Sutherland?), "The Big Sky" all present Kate's ability to produce pop music that sounds nothing like pop music. A very distinctive sound that borders on being odd, but strangely addictive. Big on drums and percussion these are driven songs and with some rather excellent guitar courtesy of Alan Murphy. "And Dream Of Sheep", "Watching You Without Me", "The Morning Fog", "Hello Earth" flips the coin to show Kate at her soothing best. Quality tracks with some of that jiggerypokery she's so good at. "Jig Of Life" makes Riverdance sound tame and I'd bet my last pound that you'll be up doing your own version after a few pints. Fantastic Irish sound, not surprising really considering her roots, but this is one to crank up and go for the craic! Still more musical madness in the other tracks, with "Mother Stands For Comfort" sounding anything but comforting, if you ask me. "Waking The Witch" almost becomes an epic wall of sound and if you're feeling the least bit schizoid perhaps it's not the time to be listening to this track. The helicopter sound comes courtesy of Pink Floyd's The Wall just to give you an idea of the direction this track is taking. "Under Ice" is nicely odd.
I feel genuinely claustrophic, and just love the sound of ice skates ploughing across the surface. As famous as she is, I somehow get the feeling that she's still under-rated. Never mind Kate, I still loves ya.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Running up that hill
2 Hounds of love
3 Big sky
4 Mother stands for comfort
6 And dream of sheep
7 Under ice
8 Waking the witch
9 Watching you without me
10 Jig of life
11 Hello Earth
12 Morning fog
13 The big sky (Meteorogical mix)
14 Running up that hill (12" mix)
15 Be kind to my mistakes
16 Under the ivy
17 Burning bridge
18 My lagan love