50 Words For Snow
November 12, 2011 3:46 PM   Subscribe

After exploring the rapture of a summer's night on 2005's Aerial, Kate Bush will be releasing a new album of original winter-themed material on November 21st. (Her previous album from earlier this year, Director's Cut, was revamped versions of older material. Previously) The new album, 50 Words For Snow, has been getting glowing advance reviews. While we await its release, we can content ourselves with the first single from the album, Wild Man. Or if you prefer, the shorter radio edit version (with lyrics). Also, The Quietus interviewed her about the new album.
posted by hippybear (17 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
I'm guessing that Kate, being the consummate wordsmith that she is, will transcend the whole words for snow misconception.
posted by fairmettle at 4:20 PM on November 12, 2011

Boy, I really didn't like Aerial. It struck me as hopelessly self-absorbed and narcissistic. Hoping for better from this one.
posted by Malor at 4:21 PM on November 12, 2011

Boy, I really didn't like Aerial. It struck me as hopelessly self-absorbed and narcissistic.

From an album twelve years in the making? You don't say ;-)
posted by mykescipark at 5:00 PM on November 12, 2011

Wait...two Kate Bush albums in one year? That mean she's increased her output by...(counts on fingers)...one zillion percent!!!1!11
posted by jabah at 6:05 PM on November 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm listening to the new song and having trouble deciding whether I like it. Kate Bush albums don't take me as long to get into as Bjork does (I figure out the last Bjork album about the time it takes her to put out a new one) but I never really get the urge to get into Bush's back catalog and I'm slowly getting the last few Bjork albums.

I didn't get Director's Cut, but I understand it revamps a lot of the songs on Red Shoes (which I actually liked) and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
posted by immlass at 7:20 AM on November 13, 2011

I have to say, Malor's comment had me go back to listen to Aerial again after a long rest. I really cannot say that I see much narcissism or self-absorbed nature to the album overall, unless writing a song about her love for her son and another about her mother's death qualify as such. It's a remarkable, mature work which delves into subjects which normally don't get much music written about them (housekeepers doing the laundry, the number pi), and which has an ecstatic second act which alone stands as one of the best bits of music ever created.

I guess there's no accounting for taste, but I'd suggest that anyone who had that initial reaction of Aerial should give it a second or third listen.
posted by hippybear at 8:21 AM on November 13, 2011 [10 favorites]

Fairmettle - I read somewhere that she's actually invented 50 words for snow. I think Stephen Fry's reading them out or something like that.

Very excited about this new album. Kate Bush is not only my favourite song writer, she's my favourite artist within any medium, ever.
posted by Summer at 9:20 AM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I did not like the first disc of Aerial - none of the songs really worked for me. The second disc, though, the long suite following the course of a day, is a total masterpiece.

I'm liking this new single well enough that I'm definitely interested to hear the whole album. (The reference in the lyrics to the Tengboche Monastery has me intrigued...it's on the trek to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, which I've read about a lot cuz it's on my "bucket list.")
posted by dnash at 9:51 AM on November 13, 2011

Kate is one of those artists it's really worth hearing on vinyl, after flirting with digital she now records on an all-analogue studio built adjacent to her home.
Aerial was sublime, looking forward to this one.
posted by Lanark at 11:11 AM on November 13, 2011

Yes, the new album will be available on vinyl as well. The vinyl edition apparently includes a CD of the album as well.
posted by hippybear at 11:18 AM on November 13, 2011

I've listened to Aerial several times and only the best-known song on it (which I still think is the best single track she's done in ages) appeals to me. The rest of it, unfortunately, didn't speak to me. But the comment from Malor strikes me as -- well, odd. Our culture idolizes and rewards many songwriters who are both "narcissistic" and "self-absorbed." Kate Bush has the added advantage that no matter what you think of her focus, she is also absorbed in themes and ideas, fuck all what industry people or A&R execs think of her for doing it -- and not many songwriters you can name do that anymore. In any event, what songwriter would defy this description? Joni Mitchell, if you're in an uncharitable mood, can be called "narcissistic" and "self-absorbed." Who isn't?
posted by blucevalo at 11:18 AM on November 13, 2011

Aerial didn't strike me as narcissistic at all. "A Sky of Honey" captures perfectly the romance and wonder of a summer night on the coast. I grew up in a Florida town known for its fantastic beaches and I've experienced the kind of night that album is about. The way Bush captures the cosmic in the mundane just blows my mind. I am beside myself with anticipation for this new album, and if you are too then you may be pleased to hear that Radio National in Australia will be streaming it online in a few days.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 7:16 PM on November 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I've been a fan since, well, let's just say a long time. And I can't agree with Malor's characterization. But... but... it's just his choice of words I don't agree with, not the sense that something was off with Aerial. Sadly, I think it's probably me that's off. As the decades go by, it's as if she's receding from me. Aerial seemed to me as if it were... overstudied, as though she'd taken each track and and just worked it over and over until I could no longer hear the original spark behind it.

I was even more depressed by Director's Cut, where I'd be hard-pressed to same a single track that I thought was an improvement, or even not worse. Even "Sensual World," which I'm sure she considers more of a restoration. So, for all the hope I have after listening to "Wild Man," I'm actually a bit fearful of this new release: that it'll signal a final retreat to a place I can't follow.

I'm never without hope, though: I recall hating Tori Amos' Boys for Pele when it came out, and then, two or three years later, wondering if I'd been temporarily tone-deaf or something when I picked it up again and was blown away. Maybe it's time to try Aerial again.
posted by tyllwin at 9:07 PM on November 13, 2011

Aaaand, nevermind about Radio National, NPR just put up a stream of the album here!
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:03 AM on November 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, thank you, One Second Before Awakening!!
posted by tyllwin at 9:24 AM on November 14, 2011

So, I finally listened to the new album in full, thanks to One Second Before Awakening's link.

It's definitely going to take more than one listen. I'm glad I have the CD on order. It's a deep work which (on one listen) seems recursive on some level. It's definitely designed to be listened to during a winter's evening when the snow is falling outside and you're curled up by the fire. Looking at the weather forecast for where I live, that may happen sooner than I want!
posted by hippybear at 8:32 PM on November 15, 2011

100% killer, one of my favorites of this year.
posted by porn in the woods at 4:41 PM on December 8, 2011

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