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4.7 out of 5 stars
Dreaming
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Showing 1-4 of 4 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on April 24, 2001
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 sound-collage effects and heavy beats certainly have a compelling power, they are just the rehearsals for the far more accomplished pieces which would make up the first side of Hounds of Love three years later.
That's not to put this album down, though: it's innovative, always creative and certainly dark and sensuous. On side two it gets really strong: the title track, Night of the Swallow, All the Love and Houdini is a magnificent suite of songs. The problem is that there was another album released exactly at the same time as this one: Security, Peter Gabriel's fourth album, took the same basic building blocks of drum machines, intensely dark moods and ethnic rhythms and created a masterpiece that pushes The Dreaming firmly into second place. Get both - your musical knowledge is incomplete without them.
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on October 11, 1999
THE DREAMING lives up to its name: it is, without a doubt, Kate's most ambitious and phantasmagorical song-cycle to date. In addition to the ingeniously quirky musical layerings, the album features some of Kate's most penetrating and brilliant lyrics. Here, her increasingly subtle, sophisticated, and intuitive facility with ellipses, fractured syntax, ambiguous points of view, and various other devices, breaks down conventional narrative forms to effect the visionary, mind-expanding, time-bursting style of Joyce, Woolf, and Borges.
Kate also must have spent a lot of her time at the cinema when she wasn't messing about in the studio since most of the songs and their peculiar themes seem inspired by movies.
In THERE GOES A TENNER, Kate plays the Anna Karina role in Godard's BAND OF OUTSIDERS. She and her existential bank-robbing compadres get all of their attitudes second-hand from old Hollywood gangster flicks:
"Both my partners/ ACT like ACTORS:/ you are Bogart/ he is George Raft/ that leaves Cagney and me/ (what about Edward G...?)"
PULL OUT THE PIN is APOCALYPSE NOW in reverse: a tale told through the keen, sharp, serpentine eyes of a Viet Cong assassin who stealthily snakes his way through the bush to plant a grenade where it counts and thus meet with a final moment of truth. And indeed, this Charlie definitely knows how to get his man -- given the quarry's alien naivete and the surreal encroachment of postindustrial amenities upon the hostile primeval jungle:
"You learn to ride the Earth/ when you're living on your belly/ And the enemy are city births/ Who need radar?/ We use scent./ They stink of the west/ stink of sweat/ stink of cologne and baccy/ And their Yankee Hash...
"With my silver Buddha/ and my silver bullet...
"There's just one thing/ ...it's me or him.../ AND I LOVE LIFE/ so I pull out the pin."
The title song, THE DREAMING, is clearly the album's centerpiece. This atavistic potlatch-***-danse-macabre appears a musical version of WALKABOUT or THE LAST WAVE. The searchlights of a dented van pierce the ancient night, near the motorway that cuts through the desert outback where, to unwary drivers, "many an Aborigine's mistaken for a tree." This may well be the closest Kate has come to a flat-out political statement (punctuated by a truly epic screeching-tires-and-CRASH! percussion effect).
And here we segue into NIGHT OF THE SWALLOW, which has Kate stealing away on borrowed wings "with a hired plane" to Malta...rising higher and higher on the ecstatic din of Irish fiddles meshed with Uillean pipes.
The next one, ALL THE LOVE, begins with a casually fatalistic quatrain worthy of Emily Dickinson: "The first time I died/ Was in the arms of good friends of mine./ They kiss me with tears./ They hadn't been near me for years." Ahh...the exquisite ache of loneliness and regret eternal.
The penultimate HOUDINI contains one of Kate's most provocative conceits. After freshening up with a seance, the escape artist extraordinaire prepares to immerse himself in the water tank bound and chained. His ever-adoring assistant (oh, you'll never guess who) gives him a good-luck open-mouthed kiss and passes him the secret key, with his patient tongue "teasing and receiving." The tantalizing suggestion of the cover photograph pretty much completes the picture.
On the earlier LEAVE IT OPEN, our heroine resolved to keep her mind exposed and her ego in her gut...on GET OUT OF MY HOUSE she keeps the rest of her body off limits with the help of a smarmy French concierge. This last one may have come to her after a second viewing of ROSEMARY'S BABY. And I must say, Kate does this type of neurotic Victorian Gothic madwoman-in-the-attic number a damn sight better than any of her whiny, mewling, insufferable Lillith-Fairy progeny (I won't name names since we all know). Let's just leave it at that...leave it OPEN.
Come back, Kate!
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on January 7, 2000
This was the recording that introduced me to Kate. It totallty confounded me at first, but with repeated listening, hooked me with "Night Of The Swallow" and "All The Love". This was her first outing as her own producer and she went a bit overboard here. "Lionheart" and "Never Forever" are the best examples of her early work. This is the confusing link between those and 2 later gems. "Hounds Of Love" and "The Sensual World".
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on October 14, 1999
odd but catchy.....check out "suspended in gaffa," "sat in your lap" and "the dreaming." a little disturbing at times.
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