Kate Bush’s “The Red Shoes”: Music review

If Kate Bush’s second album “Lionheart” fits a bit too cleanly in the late 70s, then the first track of this this seventh album, “Rubberband Girl,” seems to suggest this album might lag behind its release date of 1993. That opening track is still suffering some kind of hangover from the clanky side of the 80s, though thankfully there are enough elements on the song and throughout the album to decouple it from context and contemporaries and catapult it into the the land of the less familiar.
Something about the wind instrument sounds on “And so is love” brings me back to the soundtrack from one the old Amiga “Shadow of the Beast” games, and the reverby guitar licks from Eric Clapton (other guest appearances on this album include Prince, Gary Booker and Jeff Beck) only reinforce this. This is a good thing, at least for me, because I think that “Beast” soundtrack is among the most poignant, pining, and spooky pieces of music I can recall from that particular troubled part of my troubled childhood. Those games were all out between 1989 and 1992, and if we can believe the lyrics from “Deeper Understanding” on “The Sensual World,” Kate has spent some time in front of the computer screen, so just maybe…
I’ve never been a huge fan of caribbean music, so something about “Eat the music” automatically scores some negative points with me (is it caribbean? I probably would not know), and you could be forgiven for feeling that this song has “70s star’s seventh album” written all over it.
Thankfully “The Song of Solomon” turns the tide back again, with “Lily” (who can’t get behind the admonition “Don’t want your bullshit, yeah, just want your sexuality”?) and “The Red Shoes” (whistles like medieval-sounding double flutes over driving guitar and mandola) storming onwards into the kind of territory you’d expect from a Kate Bush album.
Even the jangly guitar and slappy bass of “Constellation” can’t derail the momentum, despite this song sinking more firmly back into the surrounding musical landscape of the era.



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