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5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best pop (?) albums ever.
Okay, I'm not sure what category of music _The Dreaming_ REALLY belongs to. There is an emphasis on vocals, hooks, and strong melodies, yet the sheer musical eclecticism and wild performance make for something quite beyond your johnny-pop music. Perhaps if she had a discography of 1000 albums and she were very popular, she might be afforded her own section (at the music...
Published on Feb. 24 2004 by Lord Chimp

3.0 out of 5 stars Dream on...
Steady on, people. The Dreaming is a good album, and Kate Bush's necessary first step away from the traditional piano-and-voice style which had characterized her first three albums. But although it is good... how can I put this? It's just not THAT good. Her usual flair for melody almost disappears down a dark alleyway of drum machines and Rolf Harris, and whilst the...
Published on April 24 2001 by skywatcher

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5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best pop (?) albums ever., Feb. 24 2004
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
Okay, I'm not sure what category of music _The Dreaming_ REALLY belongs to. There is an emphasis on vocals, hooks, and strong melodies, yet the sheer musical eclecticism and wild performance make for something quite beyond your johnny-pop music. Perhaps if she had a discography of 1000 albums and she were very popular, she might be afforded her own section (at the music store: rock, jazz, classical, metal, Kate Bush). But this album's defiance of traditional characterizations is no small part of its allure, nor is it a mean artistic feat. This is Kate Bush' perfect marriage of eclectic imagination, enthralling performance, and acute songcraft. Insofar as experimental pop goes, few albums are this listenable and artistically successful.
And that performance...Bush sings like a woman possessed, essentially becoming different characters in each song. "Houdini", with its sensuous, snaky fretless bass and dreamy atmosphere, has Bush singing at times with the sweetness of the dappling of things and at others like an irate lioness. Musically, she is just as brilliant as she is with her voice. Her sense of rhythm and texture is remarkable, as is her ability to transform her influences (both in terms of artists and musical resources) into something very unique and strange. Her reconstruction of Celtic-folk dance on "Night of the Swallows" is sublime; her tense, driving beat and sneaky vocals on "There Goes a Tenner" is indelibly catchy; "Sat in Your Lap" kicks off with an infectious piano & drums shuffle, and Bush's vocals range from snappy utterances ("I see the people workin', I see it workin' for them") to faux-Broadway wails ("just when I think I'm king, I must admit..."). On "Leave It Open", Bush's singing altered with a malicious, metallic effect and is accompanied by chanting male voices and screeching synths, rising to layers of weird vocals caught up in heavy, gated percussion and terminating with Bush's voice run through tape-effects.
Despite this album's weirdness and somewhat introverted nature, it is catchy and unfailingly fun to listen to. This is gold, I tell you. Very highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars In the Dreaming, Kate lets the weirdness in full blast, Dec 15 2003
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
Never For Ever was proving ground for Kate Bush's experimental weirdness. Her 1982 followup, The Dreaming, taken after the aboriginal concept of a link to God or heaven, takes that direction to the core and is Kate's most innovative and weirdest (in a great sense) album ever. Weird vocal stylings, clever instrumentation and lyrics characterize this album. The engaging single "Sat In Your Lap" is about someone who's too lazy to work, favoring the ivory tower of the intellectual, but has the misconception that "knowledge something that is sat in your lap." In the end, she sings "I hold a cup of wisdom, But there is nothing within. My cup, she never overfloweth, And 'tis I that moan- and groaneth."
"There Goes A Tenner" is about a heist that goes awry, with Kate affecting a slight cockney accent in parts and featuring a music hall-like piano. Throughout there are some male vocal interjections, such as the police and that classic line "What's all this, then?" Funniest lyric: "I hope you remember/To treat the gelignite tenderly for me."
"Pull Out The Pin" seems to be about a Vietnamese lying in ambush for an American soldier, ready to pull out the pin and toss the grenade at him. In the chorus, Kate's voice rises to a frenzied pitch when she sings "I love life." The sobriety of the song is underlined: "Just one thing in it/me or him."
I don't know what the heck gaffa is, as in "Suspended In Gaffa" and its skipping music-hall piano and a quick one-two-three string waltz, but the girl in there is clearly a timid soul, scared of change, unwilling to be a Pandora.
Kate "lets the weirdness in" in "Leave It Open." Her vocals are in many styles, distorted lower register, echoing high-pitched girlish, stretched tape vocals, and wailing. As for the weirdness, the male refrain keeps repeating, "Harm in us, but the power to arm."
The droning weird title track is about life in the bush, no, not Kate, but in the Australian desert, where the habits of white man play havoc with nature, be it hitting kangaroos in the land rover or exploiting aborigine land for mineral wealth. "The civilised keep alive/The territorial war./See the light ram through the gaps in the land./Erase the race that claim the place/And say we dig for ore, Or dangle devils in a bottle/And push them from the pull of the bush" demonstrates that "civilizing mission"
"Night of the Swallow" is about helping an escaped criminal by a hired plane, the swallow representing freedom. There's some Uileann pipes that give this a Celtic tinge during the refrain.
The lonely, one-sided, and reincarnated soul in "All The Love" wants people to love her, but is oblivious to the other people, represented by a young boy singing "We needed you to love us too. We wait for your move." Also present is the observation that dying brings out the grief and love and how she's turned on by the attention. The sighs and multiple phone message machines at the end is an interesting touch.
The soft piano ballad "Houdini" and some of the lyrics incorporate the album cover, where Houdini gets the key that'll unbind him from the water tank trick by kissing his assistant, who has the key in her mouth. Her bellowing voice comes in here: "With your spit still on my lip, you hit the water" and there are moments when she wishes he'd drown. When I heard the line "Rosabel believe" I thought it was "Roosevelt bleed" and I thought "What the...?" There is a nice lyrical string section that plays after the bellowing bits.
"Get Out Of My House" is a really bizarre one, told from the point of view of a woman with a house analogy incorporated, telling a man to, well... There are some erotic overtones "no stranger's feet will enter me/I wash the panes/I clean the stains" And in line with cleaning of the house, it seems to imply that men make a mess of her life, but there are multiple meanings, as the house also represents her neurotic mental psyche, as it's full of her madness, mistakes, and fight. She screams out the title, and even bellows like a mule (!!!) to demonstrate her stubbornness in not letting anyone in.
One of the weirdest but most wonderful from Kate Bush. Even though she seemed to go mainstream in her followup, she continued the innovation of the Dreaming in the concept album portion.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There's 3 before, and 3 after, but none top this one!, Nov. 7 2003
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
It was the fall of 2002 and my second year in college. I was talking to my English professor and he made a comment about the shirt I wore to class, the cover of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. He said, "best album of all time... want to know the second best?" I said, "This one is the second best... the first would be Radiohead's Kid A." Anyway, to make a short story shorter, we traded. I lent him my copy of Kid A, and he lent me a copy of what he thought was the second best album of all time, The Dreaming. I saw the copyright date in the back, 1982, and thought, oh, it's probably gonna be some cheesy sounding early 80's music... to my surprise, this album did not sound "totally 80's" at all. It sounded like it had just been released this past Tuesday! I was in awe with it's muti layered sounds and "overproduction"... and the complexity and complete strangeness of it. FAR superior and WAY ahead of it's time... even for today's standards! I thought Kate's voice was brilliant. The music was brilliant. The effects were brilliant. This album is brilliant. So, now I'd have to say, I agree with my English professor. It is the second best album of all time... just behind Radiohead's Kid A.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Work of Staggering Genius, Aug. 14 2003
Eric Swanger (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
i am leaps and bounds away from being an obsessive kate bush fan. i will admit that her music does have sort of a nostalgic hold on me, especially the music from this album.
this is undoubtedly the best kate bush album out there. more people are fond of "hounds of love," but i think that has more to do with the fact that it was her breakaway hit album. "the dreaming" is far superior in its scope, songwriting, production, and concept than anything before or after it.
what i really admire about the album is that it is almost a theatrical piece, with a strange and vibrant cast of characters and stories. she uses her voice in so many different ways and displays an enormous range of musical tastes on this album. she sings about bank heists gone wrong, intruders, houdini drowning, the moment of death, and many other bizarre and intriguing topics...but with great passion and intensity.
"all the love" is one of my favorite songs that i can think of. it is a haunting and beautiful song about death, and the things that can haunt you at that moment. and "houdini" is probably the most theatrical piece of the album, in which she is singing from the perspective of rosabel, who was houdini's stage partner and lover, who would pass a key to him with a kiss. it is a brilliant song, with beautiful piano and string accents throughout.
her song construction is at its most accomplished on this album. there is a effortless mix of fairlight and keyboard elements, percussion, multi-layered vocals, bass and guitar. if you listen to the album with good headphones, it is quite a revelation. she is at her peak here, and although like i mentioned before, most people refer to "hounds of love" as her best, i think that album sounds more dated, even though the songwriting is really just as strong.
also check out "never for ever." it was the release before this album, and is almost as good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best recording of the 80s, by anyone, period., Aug. 13 2003
memo60640 (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
The Dreaming, or as my friends and I in the early 80s dubbed it "The Screaming", is Kate's most fully realized work. She herself has said it was emotionally wrenching to produce, and that emotional intensity comes through consistently on every track. In fact, I think this is the most emotionally intense music ever made with synthesizers. Constructed essentially with just her Fairlight (with some additional instruments added as textures), her voice sequenced in and out, she was able to construct a psycho-sonic landscape that conjured a state of mind and spirit in a state of high tumult with no promise of redemption.
On vinyl, the two sides of this masterpiece were reflections of one another, each track a mirrored response to its counterpart on the opposite side. The conscious search for knowledge on "Sat in your Lap" was answered by the unconscious revelations of "The Dreaming"; the heist gone wrong on "There Goes a Tenner" became a flight from the cops on "Night of the Swallow", and so on; culminating in the expressionist screams that close both sides: "Leave It Open", with its take-all-comers approach to experiencing what life throws at you, is contrasted with the get-the-hell-out-and-don't-ever-come-back she-mule of "Get Out Of My House". Kate new exactly what she was doing from beginning to end. In the making of this record - the first one of hers that she produced herself -- she demonstrated a remarkably confident command of art and technology, and this all coming from a 22-year-old.
The dynamics and textures used on The Dreaming were developed on it predecessor, Never for Ever, and mastered on its follow-up, Hounds of Love, but never were they as evocatively employed as on this album. The soaring circles of her voice, the pipes, and Fairlight treatment on Night of the Swallow are literally breathtaking. I could go on and on. This work changed the way I listed to popular music two decades ago. To listen to this music now, over 20 years after it was recorded, is to still be transported onto romantic flights and dreams. Search. Theft. Escape from bondage. In dreams begin responsibilities. It is best listened to after midnight.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unusually beautiful, March 20 2003
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
'The Dreaming' is an album which improves immeasurably after a few plays. Like most of her releases it is a slow-burner, but slow-burners are often the ones that end up being the best albums.
This is most definately the case with 'The Dreaming'.
All of the songs on this record are full of lyrics which would perhaps puzzle anyone but Bush herself - "Suddenly my feet are feet of mud, it all goes slow mo, I don't know why Im crying, Am I suspended in gaffa' from 'Suspended In Gaffa' being a prime example of this, although it is no bad thing - it actually increases the interest in the songs.
What it clearly is, is an album contained of fury, death and eroticism. Its heavy stuff at times, perhaps with the exception of 'There Goes A Tenner', a tale of bank robbery and such, but even this has an undercurrant of resentment.
This being the first album Bush produced alone, it seems as if she had all but forgotten her three previous LPs. The songs have been made in a way that suggests that all other forms of music never existed and that the structure and writing of song is something completly new. A grand statement indeed, but no other record - including any of her own - has ever being created resembling this one (I could be mistaken, but I know for a fact that nothing before it did).
There are really no poor tracks on this album, they all bask in a unique and touching brilliance, the unspeakably gorgeous 'Night Of The Swallow' perhaps being the best on the album. This is by far the best record I have ever bought, it stinks that it didn't do as well as some of her other stuff but absolutely worth a listen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not as weird as everyone says, March 9 2003
mike (Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
While 'The Dreaming' pushes Kate's quirky side to entirely new levels, this isn't the weird demented album that people often refer to it as: If you've ever listened to a Mr Bungle album (the definitely of insanity put to music), 'The Dreaming' is almost placid in comparison.
That being said this IS definitely a seriously twisted pop album. Improving upon the lush, dense sound scapes that 'Never For Ever', her previous album set the blueprint for, this is musically dense, packed with weird instruments, synth flourishes and odd sound effects, music genres meet and collide and the lyrics range a whole spectrum from Bank Robberies to the plight of the Aborigines to the futility of knowledge. It is however, an immaculately produced album, the sound scapes are so smoothed over that it isn't so much a disturbing album as a very left-of-field album.
Every track stands up strongly in its own right, yet never steals from the album as a whole. 'Sat In Your Lap' is a fast paced, intense track built around a frenetic percussive rhythm section. 'There Goes A Tenner' is probably the catchiest track on this album, somehow it manages to combine ska with racy 20s music hall without sounding ridiculous. 'Night Of The Swallow' and 'Suspended in Gaffa' weave in Celtic folk whilst 'Leave it Open' starts of tense (I love the way she manipulates her voice on this track) before boiling over into something sounding like an insane demonic opera. Admittedly, the title track and 'Get Out Of My House' are VERY VERY weird, incredibly scary and push modern pop to new unexplored boundaries.
Definitely not for everyone, 'The Dreaming' startles many at first but rewards repeated listening. Nothing out there sounds quite like it, at the same time many of the reviews claiming this to be weird, jarring and scary are a bit misleading. Although 'Get Out Of My House' is utterly terrifying, 'The Dreaming' boasts too much pop sensibility and productive flair to sound scary. 'Extremely eccentric' sums it up much better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Darkest of Bush's "mystical trilogy" but inconsistent, March 6 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
When it was first released in 1982, "The Dreaming" was a radical departure from the sparse pop of Kate Bush's first three albums. The dense music with unusual instrumentation were and remain quite unique and not always easy to appreciate.
The record is highly eclectic, ranging from the dense but haunting rocker "Get Out Of My House", through the danceable "There Goes A Tenner" to the anthemic, quasi-tribal "Sat In Your Lap". The lyrics are highly mysterious in a way that would set the prelude for her spiritual masterpiece "Hounds Of Love" in 1985.
However, compared to the intensely personal "Hounds Of Love" and accessible but equally mystical "The Red Shoes", some of the lyrics here are quite disturbing, such as the title tune, whose well-intentioned theme is let down by poor music, and "Houndini", about the difficulty of holding up magicians.
Thematically, indeed, "The Dreaming" was basically concerned with the problems of evil and the harm it can do, seen to best effect on "Pull Ou The Pin" (about the Vietnam War) and "Get Out Of My House" where drummer Stuart Elliott gave a fiery pulse to Bush's passionate desire to exorcise a demon from herself.
The highlight, however, was the utterly magical and mysterious "Night Of The Swallow" driven by heavenly and utterly mysterious (in their melody) uillean pipes and stings that blend in in a remarkable way with Bush's voice and Donal Lunny's bozouki. Kate Bush conveys a mystery in this song that no one else has been able to do. However, on "Leave It Open" and the title tune this sense of melody is so absent that those songs are tuneless.
However, "Suspended In Gaffa", though difficult, and "Houdini" had a dramatism to rival "Night Of The Swallow", and the eerie "Pull Out The Pin" was really beautiful and very slow. "Sat In Your Lap" showed Bush beginning her endless quest for spiritual wisdom ("I want the answer quickly/But I don't have the energy" being typical) in a way that shows where "Hounds Of Love" and the best of "The Red Shoes" came from.
On the whole, a few weak tracks marr a generally superb and mysterious album. Still necessary to hear "Night Of The Swallow".
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not for Beginners, Jan. 9 2003
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
Bush's most torturously inventive masterpiece, her fourth album "The Dreaming" is not for beginners (unless you already have a taste for "strange" music). One reviewer remarks that "The Dreaming" is fully self-contained, that nothing before or after exists in Bush's catalog like this one. That's generally true, except for the song "Breathing" from "Never for Ever", which very clearly sticks out on that album as belonging to this one. ("Breathing" is fairly "civilized" compared to "The Dreaming" though.)
"Sat in your Lap" starts immediately with a percussion riff, orchestra hits and a whole handful of curious vocal flourishes. When the lyrics proper start, Bush swings from husky commentary to multi-tracked growl-singing. It's an amazing transformation from her earlier albums.
"There Goes a Tenner" is a lyrically amusing song about a botched bank job, with characteristically aggressive drums, a fairly simple piano line and Del Palmer's eternally delicious fretless bass. Piano, bass and drums being the living skeleton of most Bush songs, even on this her most "out there" album, Palmer's contribution is inestimably important.
"Pull out the Pin", a song about the war in Vietnam from the point of view of a Vietnamese woman, is a simply amazing song. A vicious woodblock keyboard sound, light percussion, and jangly angry piano hang in the middle of the verse, while Bush and Palmer both slide and creep around on bass and voice. For the chorus, strings add more meat, but the thing that sends chills down your back is Bush howling over and over in a never-before-heard (for her) gravely voice, "I love life, I love life, I love life." The dissonant, metallic guitar line at the end is right on with the rest of the music. And the way the song drags out at the end has always seemed symbolic to me of how the war in Vietnam dragged on.
"Suspended in Gaffa" (whatever that means) comes on with a violently contrasting piano waltz after the apocalypse of the last song. Once again, hats off to Del Palmer. It's amazing to realize that the orchestration here is essentially the same as for the last song. The vocals for the verse might seem a little light, but the shape alone of the chorus melody is captivating. How it sounds is even more so.
"Leave It Open" is ... indescribable. Treated vocals, gorgeous vocal flourishes in the background, indecipherable lyrics, piano, bass and drums as the main backbone yet again. Unquestionably one of the coolest things Kate Bush has ever done, when the big drums kick in at the end, the weird yells, the chorus of human voices, and then that multi-tracked (backmasked?) ghost-spirit seeming thing that drifts through is just spine-tingling. Even more tantalizing is the fact that this song (in ways you'll just have to hear for yourself) seems to be a companion piece to the last song on the album ("Get out of my House").
A candidate for strangest song on the album, "The Dreaming" is Bush's take on Aboriginal culture. Almost entirely percussion driven with a didgeridoo groaning the whole time, again Bush counterpoises her "new" huskier low vocals with "old style" higher, more lyrical vocals (sharpened with her new edge). Meanwhile, literally scores of tweaky vocal variations are filling out the background, along with rushing cars, flapping bird's wings and a gong-like crash that it really very neat.
With "Night of the Swallow", Bush writes her most conventional song so far for the album. A beautiful piece with a self-evident debt to Irish music, the driving chorus is a great place to appreciate Bush's astonishing sense of melody and the way she bends and sculpts lines into the most improbably amazing and enchanting shapes.
"All the Love" is another jaw-dropper. Recorded as if in a cave to create an almost agonizing degree of intensity, the combination of drum and fretless bass here is without peer. For the chorus, a boy soprano stands in for Bush, and at the end of the song, Bush samples goodbyes recorded from an answering machine while breathy gasps and sadomasochistic sounding woodblock slaps add accents. Needless to say, Bush's vocals themselves are exquisitely beautiful. Except for "Moving" or "Breathing", this could well be my favorite song by one of my favorite artists.
"Houdini" has a vocal bit in it that rubs me the wrong way, and a string section that doesn't really grab me. Trivia: after Houdini's death, his wife went around debunking mediums that claimed to channel Houdini's spirit. She did this because she and Houdini already had a prearranged secret phrase that would let her know it was really him. In the song, the dead Houdini actually says the phrase. Also, the bit about passing the key is historical; Houdini's wife would slip a key into his mouth with her kiss before they dropped him in a tank or box, etc. The cover art illustrates this.
Another bafflingly creative song involving keys ("key" morphs into "keeper" in this song) and themes from "Leave it Open". Toward the end, there is even a human braying like a donKEY (ee-yore, ee-yore). Why? I have no idea. It's always seemed to me like the lost boys from Peter Pan, who turn into donkeys. The lyrics don't help. ("I'm the concierge chez moi, honey. Won't let you in for love or money. My home my joy are barred and bolted. Get out of my house.") The song starts off intense from the beginning and only gets even more so by the end with its creepy vocals, screams of "get out of my house", soaring, twisting vocals, indecipherable murmurs throughout. It's as haunting and haunted as the original "Haunting of Hill House". 20 years later I'm still finding new things in it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 20 Years Later: The Kanga Still Bangs, Oct. 24 2002
This review is from: Dreaming (Audio CD)
Every October of my life, my attention somehow comes back to this record. Like many other reviewers here, I am an enormous Kate Bush fan; I first discovered her in high school, when my friends insisted that Kate was amazing and carried about her LPs under their arms to swap and listen to after school. I had been familiar with Kate's earlier, darkly weirdling folk-piano masterpieces that came prior to 'The Dreaming,' but when this LP dropped -- WOW.
First off, it is truly an amazing thing to listen to an album that stands the test of time. 'The Dreaming' dared to break ground that almost no one has ever dared to break again. It doesn't exactly sound like the early '80s; in fact, I always thought of this as a studio masterpiece a la another album from 1982, Peter Gabriel's 'Security': and that Kate and Peter have worked together doesn't make this necessarily an accident.
As a tour de force of songwriting and bravura execution, 'The Dreaming' is uniquely Kate. Bold confessions; unusual subject matter. Who else in the pop pantheon is going to write a song about Houdini's wife trying to contact the magician beyond the grave? Who else is going to write a song about war with the chorus darkly chanting 'Pull out the pin...', to be answered by the anguished cries of 'I LOVE LIFE'? 20 years (WHOA!!) after its release, I'm still listening, and still enraptured by the sounds that unfold from the speakers.
The teaming of the utterly bizarre title track with 'Night of the Swallow' still moves me to tears, and features some of my favorite moments on the record. After moving through the otherworldly aboriginal Dreamtime, there is a flurry of wings, birds being released...And shortly thereafter, Irish pipes kick in, to reveal Kate at her piano in one of the quieter moments on the record. 'Night of the Swallow' is a tremendous, Irish-folk inflected track, and again you have to wonder: who would have dared to have the background singers respond by cooing, as if they were swallows? Well, it works, and this is mesmerizing stuff.
Describing this record is indeed difficult. It is an original masterpiece in every way, and a record you're going to want to hear while dusk is settling in, or you're driving along a dark road, lost. Kate, from the bottom of me heart, thank you. And to the record company: for crying out loud, remaster this incredible disc already!
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