Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't Look: Grab Some Headphones And Listen (Yes: It's Old Fashioned But What's Music For?)

Even after making one startlingly dumb video after another, in this Pop world of Lady GaGa "monster" mindlessness, and empty Britney Houston crack whoredom, the return of a real female artist is some welcome news - finally, a new Kate Bush album is on it's way:

The reason why Bush remains so important today: her intelligence. In today’s X Factor-saturated music world, a song-writer who chooses to write about subjects as diverse and rarefied as Ulysses, Wuthering Heights, and the 1957 horror movie Night of the Demon (to name but a few), continues to stand out as much as she did in her 1980s heyday, if not more so. With the honourable exception of a few – Florence Welch, Laura Marling and Natasha Khan aka Bat for Lashes spring to mind, though there may of course be more - today’s crop of female singer-songwriters tend strongly towards the bland and insipid, their songs strictly limited to sex, love, or the pursuit of both.

Bush’s influence on today’s intelligent and creative female performers has already been widely noted. But it’s worth pausing to remember just what a pioneer Bush has been for women in music. In 1978, when she was just 19, her debut single Wuthering Heights made her the first woman ever to have a UK number one with a song she had written herself; two years later, she became, unbelievably, the first female British solo artist to top the UK album charts with her record Never for Ever, and the first ever to enter the album chart at number one.

She has also consistently resisted the inevitable attempts to have her undeniable good looks promoted over and above her music – something that the primped and preened female musicians of today, forever encouraged to drop their clothes for the covers of men’s magazines (stand up, Lily Allen), would do well to bear in mind. In 1982, Bush complained to NME about the fact that her record company, EMI, had chosen a picture of her in a low-cut pink top for the cover of Wuthering Heights. “The media just promoted me as a female body,” she said. “It's like I've had to prove that I'm an artist in a female body.”
No you didn't, Shug:

You had to prove they're a bunch of idiots - and you did - over and over again.

You may be flakey as a 1970s dandruff commercial, but it's yours, and in the end that's what's always counted most.

Welcome back, kid, I missed you.

1 comment:

  1. Best music news I've heard all year. HOUNDS OF LOVE is one of my all-time Top Ten albums.

    Just for fun, here's a link to the tale that provided the inspiration for the album's title track, via NIGHT OF THE DEMON: