Review: Kate Bush – Remastered On Vinyl And CD
A series of new remasters charts the incredible back catalogue of one of pop’s most beloved auteurs, Kate Bush.
At a music-awards show a few years ago, a lubricated John Lydon sat in the audience and loudly abused every star who dared to set foot on stage – until Kate Bush received a Lifetime Achievement Award. Lurching to his feet, the former Sex Pistol clapped furiously and yelled his approval: “Yay! Go on, Kate!”
The artist formerly known as Johnny Rotten may appear an unlikely Bush acolyte – but most likely he recognised in her a fellow true individualist. This comprehensive reissue of her remastered career works is a salutary reminder of just what an extraordinary artist she is.
It comes in many formats. As well as each album being individually re-released, there are two CD and four vinyl-LP boxsets. The first two vinyl sets and the first CD box are available from mid-November, with the remainder arriving at the end of the month.
The Kate Bush Remastered CD Box 1 (or Vinyl Box 1 and 2) collects the albums from 1978’s The Kick Inside to 1993’s The Red Shoes and is frequently staggering. Her debut spawned not only the phantasmal Wuthering Heights but also The Man With The Child In His Eyes, a miracle of insatiable, mystical dream-pop.
Bush’s first albums brimmed with art-pop of almost unconscionable vim and imagination. Lionheart (also 1978) and Never For Ever (1980) found her training a childlike eye on adult emotions via meditations such as In Search Of Peter Pan and the fluttering Babooshka. By her 1982 masterpiece The Dreaming, Bush was both feverishly sampling and producing her own album – unheard of in those sexist times.
Her vocals, alternately raw and immaculate, were a thing of wonder on 1985’s Hounds Of Love and 1989’s The Sensual World (a quintessential Bush LP title). On The Red Shoes, she further explored themes of sex, sensuality and gender roles.
The albums making up Kate Bush Remastered CD Box 2, from 2005’s Aerial to 2011’s 50 Words For Snow, are bigger on stylised reflection and lighter on impactful pop hooks, but harbour moments of genius such as poignant 2005 single King Of The Mountain. Bonus tracks include 12″ mixes, B-sides and (in the CD box only) 2016 live album Before The Dawn.
Driven, visceral, thespian, experimental and yet capable of conjuring up sheer pop nuggets, Kate Bush has always been a groundbreaking, very British artist like no other. That Johnny Rotten knew what he was yelling about…
Written by Ian Gittins. Released on Rhino.