A YEAR IN MUSIC: KATE BUSH – The Dreaming (1982)

Review by: Dinar Khayrutdinov

I LOVE Kate Bush. She is a unique artist that balances experimental approach and true talent with accessibility and pop hooks so well that I truly think all of her albums can be enjoyed by most music lovers. However, The Dreaming is still a very special offering in Kate’s catalogue, because this is where she REALLY sets her creativity and her typical brand of weirdness loose. So yes, this record definitely leans towards Kate’s experimental side, and that’s exactly what I love about it!
To be fair, “experimental” isn’t really the word here. This is still Kate Bush, not Nurse with Wound or Captain Beefheart or something. So most of the songs stay within “normal” and accessible melodic frames, except of course only Kate could actually come up with THESE melodies: they are perfectly accessible, but they are… unconventional, to put it mildly. On this album you really get the feeling she had a ton fun with them, letting herself do whatever she wanted.
Kate’s vocal range is another thing that’s totally let loose – hear that woman scream, pant, harmonize, sing in her normal voice, sing in an exaggerated theatrical manner, sing in a high-pitched voice, sing in a comically low “baritone”, whisper, record her vocals backwards and so on, and so on – sometimes within the same song!
The instruments and arrangements are VERY unpredictable too – sometimes you suddenly hear synths coming out of nowhere, sometimes gorgeous strings appear, or scary basslines, or murky percussion, or Irish violins, or a pounding drum-machine – welcome to Kate Bush’s flying circus!
Overall, this album is nowhere near as balanced and thought-through as Hounds of Love, not at all as melodic as The Kick Inside, not as mysteriously romantic as Never for Ever and not as… well, as sensual as The Sensual World. Instead, this is Kate’s “crazy” album, where you get all her split personalities at once in one package. That alone, for me, is worth naming this my favourite album of 1982.