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Kate Bush: '50 Words For Snow' - Album review

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Kate Bush: '50 Words For Snow'

© WENN

Released on Monday, Nov 21 2011

Despite the swirling rumours, it still came as a surprise when the release of Kate Bush's tenth studio album was confirmed in September. Coming just six months after the stopgap reworking's project Director's Cut, 50 Words For Snow is Bush's first album of new material since 2005's Aerial. 12 years had passed before that album's predecessor The Red Shoes in 1993.

How much of the last six years has been spent working on these seven new songs isn't known, but every second was worth it. Don't be fooled by the sparse tracklisting; the disc clocks in at over 65 minutes, making up a dense, daft, delightful record based around the white stuff.

Where to begin? There's back-to-back songs about getting it on with a snowman ('Misty') and a yeti ('Wild Man'). The former is over 13 and a half minutes long and chucks up a much sexier version of Raymond Briggs's tale, despite the equally-inevitable sad ending (I can feel him melting in my hand / Melting, melting, in my hand").

Obviously those who find Bush too self-consciously quirky aren't going to be won round by the sound of that, but the problem with 2011 pop is all-too-often the lack of pretension, rather than an excess of it. First person lyrics from the perspective of a snowflake ("I was born in a cloud / Now I am falling / I want you to catch me") beat a po-faced, try-hard grope of "authenticity" any day.

Bush tops off the wonderful madness with the title track, where she implores Stephen Fry no less, in character as "Prof. Joseph Yupik", to come up with 50 different expressions for snow. Our favourites are "swans-a-melting", "slipperella", "erase-o-dust" and "mountainsob". Another fine hook-up comes with Elton John duet 'Snowed In At Wheeler Street', a tale of love lost, regained and grasped close in terror.

Understated, organic instruments gorgeously frame Bush's snowy stories, showcasing a unique voice which sounds as good - if not better - than ever. While it'd be a shame to wait another six years for the next batch of new material, the truth is we'll probably still be spinning this come Xmas 2017 anyway.



Tracks to download: 'Snowflake', 'Wild Man' '50 Words For Snow'
If you like this, you'll like: Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos

Listen to Kate Bush's 'Wild Man' below:

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