Thursday, May 19, 2022

The Albums of 1982: Kate Bush: The Dreaming

Release Date: September 13, 1982

All songs written and produced by Kate Bush

Side One: Sat in Your Lap; There Goes a Tenner; Pull Out the Pin; Suspended in Gaffa; Leave it Open

Side Two: The Dreaming; Night of the Swallow; All the Love; Houdini; Get Out of My House

Kate Bush's fourth album The Dreaming is rife with dense intensity, possessing its own power. The quixotic opener "Sat in Your Lap" features Bush's versatile vocal styles in a song about the frustrating quest for knowledge and spiritual knowledge. References to world religions, the sense of wanting part of and apart from humanity:

I see the people working

And see it working for them

And so I want to join in

But then I find it hurts me

Youthful impatience meets head on with yearning for wisdom, the quest, the war within oneself continues.

"There Goes a Tenner" tells the surreal tale of a bank heist, a 1940s Warner Bros. gangster flick filtered through a futuristic pop song. "Pull Out the Pin," Bush attempts to tell the Vietnam War from the prospective of one fighting the invading Americans, "I look in American eyes/I see little life/See little wife", confronting the Western armies who only have a vague notion of why they are waging war. The anti-technology ethos of the revolutionary narrator provides the upper hand in a violent and hypnotic song. 

"Suspended in Gaffa" is adventurous with its melodic pianos and use of low brass instruments, similar in theme to "Sat in Your Lap." "Leave it Open" shifts moods from conniving to introspective, the idea of how knowledge changes us and sometimes not for the better, but we must encompass all. Exploring ourselves must be done with caution, bravery, and curiosity. "We let the weirdness in" becomes anthemic. 

"The Dreaming" deals with white Australians using Aboriginal land for nuclear testing and mining uranium. The off-kilter rhythms and instrumentation create another unique soundscape; Bush's frenzied vocal emphasizes defiance and strength directed at injustice. "Night of the Swallow" is a dialogue between a husband and wife with "the troubles" as backdrop providing the song with an Irish ambience, a complex song on gender politics. "All the Love" deals with loneliness, the courage it takes to face solitude. "Houdini" takes the point of view of the magician's assistant, full of suggestive lyrics and mystery. "Get Out of My House" took direct inspiration from Stephen King's The Shining. Told from the hotel's point of view, but the song takes a life of its own. Creating an atmosphere of anger, loss, and fear, it sounds like a message from the beyond.

The ten tracks of The Dreaming are all works of art that stand on their own; as a whole, the album is a labyrinth of sonic landscapes, edgy ideas, and innovative arrangements. Bush's vocals linger and enrich the imagination. Ranging in theme from world politics to the spiritual battles within, a panorama of sound and imagery.

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