eMusic Review 0
It’s saying something that, in a career that has found room for ruminations on lovestruck ghosts, the secret lives of computers and the inner monologue of a coma patient, 50 Words for Snow is Kate Bush’s most overtly artful record. It’s also her most difficult. For all their lyrical feints toward mysticism, Bush’s early works were still outfitted in the lavish dressings of a pop song, Bush’s mystic, craggy voice nestled deep in a pillow of synths and burbling fretless bass.
On Snow, Bush razes those structures. Gone entirely (or perhaps on loan to Bat for Lashes and the Knife) are the ghostly Fairlights and supernatural synths, replaced by bare, solemn piano, slow-bubbling fretless bass and brush percussion that rustles like dead leaves. It takes a moment to acclimate to: the elegiac nine-minute opener “Snowflake” — which features an appearance by Bush’s teenage son Albert MacIntosh — uses the image of falling snow as a metaphor for loss and separation. (“I am dust, I am ice, I am sky,” MacIntosh sings, to which Bush replies, “Keep falling, I’ll find you.”) The song’s progression is ruthlessly methodical: gentle piano figures flutter slowly downward, the two human voices calling out from the… read more »