The Album Review Club - Week #11 (page 164) - ????

Onholiday(somemightsay)

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So it is a vote? YES or NO? (sorry to be pedantic but I want to be fair).
I'd assumed as there was no review comments it was just a joke comment not to be taken seriously.
I wouldn't as I have done it without listening to the album nor a great knowledge of the artist. Wouldn't be fair to the selector one way or the other................
 

Mancitydoogle

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unfortunately I don’t particularly like female singers and i particular don’t like Kate Bush‘s voice although I used to watch her on TOTP as she’s a fine looking woman.
I think her song writing is excellent and the instrumentation on the playlist is very good.I imagine as a live spectacle if your a fan , her shows would be great.
I can listen to a few tracks that are familiar but I couldn’t listen to the playlist more than once as its really not my bag.I can see why some are saying certain songs sound like their from musicals, which I also mostly dislike.
Sadly its a 4/10 from me.
 

OB1

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My copy of Before The Dawn arrived today and I have played it once, admittedly while doing some work - albeit rather undemanding tasks. I doubt I will have time to play the whole thing again before scores are due.

This is a (triple and then some) live album so it gets marked as a live album. Now I love a good live album; plenty of people don't. First impression is that this is a very polished perfomance and the crowd are obviously in raptures but it doesn't have the excitement that I demand from a great live album.

I don't if I would have succeeded if I had tried for tickets to the shows this covers - my track record is pretty good on that front - but I decided at the time I couldn't justify going and left it to the Bushwhackers.

I have seen a lot of live perfomences - easily over 1,000 - and I have a lot of live albums in my collection. So whilst this one may well grow on me, it will never be near the top of my list of great live albums.

Also, a triple live cd is pushing it. The classic double live album of the vinyl era is the correct default for a live album. Yes managed to pull of a triple live album - so good that I have the 14 cd version (7 concerts so it's not necessary to listen to them all at one sitting) - but that's only a double cd.

I can't say that I am a big fan of Kate Bush: I only have three of her studio albums but, here's the thing, one of them (bought I think on the recommendation of a former Blue Moon poster) is Hounds of Love, which features heavily here. However, I didn't really recognise much of the material, which is a real problem. I couldn't say how many times I played Hounds; probably not too many, which in itself is not necessarily a measure of that album but my memory for music is pretty good. Coincidentally, I am just playing another live album that also arrived today: Roger Waters (and band, including a keyboard player from Bush's album) performing The Wall. Now the first time I heard most of The Wall was actually lying on the grass at Knebworth, somewhat tired, after a sleepless night, on the morning of Led Zep's first Knebworth show, having been stupid enough to enter the "arena" in the early hours of the morning. I wasn't much of a Floyd fan at the time and The Wall isn't in my top 5 of their albums but, even in my sleep deprived state, the music I heard was etched in my brain. I did see Waters play The Wall live show, and enjoyed it enough to go again when they extended the tour.

I farily recently bought The Red Shoes by Kate Bush, which I have only played once to date but I was impressed on first listen and will be interested to see how familiar it sounds when I play it again. Pity there's not more of that on the live album.

I get the criticism some have made about it sounding a bit like a musical. I don't have a problem with musicals although I think West Side Story is the only one in my collection and I certainly like rock & pop artists that put on a show because I go to concerts to be entertained. I'm sure I would have enjoyed this show if I had attended but I don't feel as if I missed out.

So how to score this one, knowing one listen is not enough? I think I've been too generous on my scoring of albums recently and this may suffer from me reconsidering how to score them. This though has to lose marks for being too long (this may seem ironic next week) and for me not recognising as many songs as I would normally expect given that I own the studio album at the centre of the whole thing. So it's going to be:

6/10

at least for now.
 

KnaresboroughBlue

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I liken this kind of music to Opera, yes its lovely and touching, but its more a visual entity for me and you either buy into that or not.
I enjoyed your review but just a point regarding the above. I can see why you might feel like that but I must admit I'm rather the opposite. While I go to the opera about twice a week during the season, I love it more for the music/singing rather than the visual performance. I do enjoy the visual aspects but I spend far more time listening to (what I consider to be) fine performances on CD.
 

Bill Walker

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I enjoyed your review but just a point regarding the above. I can see why you might feel like that but I must admit I'm rather the opposite. While I go to the opera about twice a week during the season, I love it more for the music/singing rather than the visual performance. I do enjoy the visual aspects but I spend far more time listening to (what I consider to be) fine performances on CD.
Fair enough mate, I can imagine not everyone who goes to the Opera is there for a visual experience, but I think a lot do, As in musicals, its a package of stunning costumes, lights and a whole gammut of visuals.
And Im not saying music in musicals or Opera is bad music, absolutely not, indeed its very well crafted. Often music of a high standard technically. Watching and listening to the video Saddleworth posted in his selection post ...And Dream Of Sheep, I can imagine, in a show, after a very loud segment, stage full of dancers, all kinds of visual imagery, the lights dim down, there is suddenly quiet, darkness, a solitary spotlight is pointed at a place on stage and a woman appears, solitary, sad, and sings beautifully, And Dream Of Sheep.

I do like these words though...

Oh, I'll wake up
To any sound of engines,
Every gull a seeking craft.
I can't keep my eyes open--
Wish I had my radio.

I tune in to some friendly voices
Talking 'bout stupid things.
I can't be left to my imagination.

Let me be weak,
Let me sleep
And dream of sheep.

I can liken And Dream Of Sheep to a song by one of my (if not THE) favourite female singer/songwriters Sade, her song Pearls, is extremely powerful and sad, but conjures up for me that same stage musical quality, its a hard quality to describe in words. Theyre very different musically, melodically but have a similar feel.

 

Saddleworth2

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I can imagine, in a show, after a very loud segment, stage full of dancers, all kinds of visual imagery, the lights dim down, there is suddenly quiet, darkness, a solitary spotlight is pointed at a place on stage and a woman appears, solitary, sad, and sings beautifully, And Dream Of Sheep.
At the concert, King of the Mountain is performed musically a great deal heavier than the track version. At its crescendo it is very loud and driven by strong percussion. It sounds like a storm is building and building and is the perfect precursor to the 'ninth wave' which commences with a dialogue between a person that has seen a ship go down and the coastguard and then 'dream of sheep'. So it wasn't exactly as you envisaged but pretty close mate.

Her songs and lyrics tell stories - the extract you quote is a nice example. That has been the case since 'Wuthering Heights'. In the two concerts she has designed she has chosen to interpret those stories through lighting, dance and some theatrics. The point I have been trying to make is musicals and opera are specifically written to perform visually as a show.
Her albums aren't. They are full of songs that tell stories and every 40 years ago she takes them on stage.
 

FogBlueInSanFran

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Whew.

First, kudos to @Saddleworth2 for choosing this and for a magnificent, beautiful, thoughtful and personal write-up — I’m betting no one will create a better one.

But it’s hard to translate a multi-media experience into an aural-only one. It’s also sometimes hard to translate one person’s emotional meaning into another one’s own. In both cases, the music has to be of such spectacular quality that it can bridge the gap. This is not that.

And not being a particular fan of “song suites” (with — here’s that record again — Quadrophenia being a very notable exception), I was truly disappointed that two of these three acts (save the encore) were lengthy concept pieces, and while I pick up the profundity, the music is without much in the way of tempo changes or power. The found-sound story links are a struggle, which they absolutely cannot be (cf. Dazzle Ships by OMD, where they make the record). I completely agree with the idea that these are partial musicals so I need to think about them differently, but even then, I didn’t struggle with the messages — it was the music I found leaden. As such, I found it difficult to make a pleasurable connection with any of act 2 and most all of act 3. It’s accompaniment for something else I’m blind to.

As a lyricist/singer/performer, Gabriel was like this early on too, and it was a blessing when he left, both to Genesis (now freed of his pretensions, though still groaning under the weight of those of the remaining members) and to him when he stopped with that costume crap and started producing songs with social and emotional depth. (You may have gathered that I don’t care for early Genesis).

But act 1 is a different animal. These are great art rock songs (and I’ve enjoyed Hakim and Rhodes’ contributions on a number of other records). “Lily” is a groove; “Hounds of Love” soaring; “Top of the City” beautiful; “Running Up That Hill” a classic; “King of the Mountain” full of Laurie Anderson-y quirks but potent. But we only return to that energy at the very end on “Cloudbusting”, a terrific closer and one of her best songs.

I appreciate the courage to offer up this record despite its user-unfriendliness. And if the intent is to get me to explore more of Kate Bush’s catalog, then job done. For me, the first 40 minutes and “Cloudbusting” stripped out is a live record worth a 7 or even an 8. But taken as a whole package, 5/10 is the best I can do.
 
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OB1

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Whew.

First, kudos to @Saddleworth2 for choosing this and for a magnificent, beautiful, thoughtful and personal write-up — I’m betting no one will create a better one.

But it’s hard to translate a multi-media experience into an aural-only one. It’s also sometimes hard to translate one person’s emotional meaning into another one’s own. In both cases, the music has to be of such spectacular quality that it can bridge the gap. This is not that.

And not being a particular fan of “song suites” (with — here’s that record again — Quadrophenia being a very notable exception), I was truly disappointed that two of these three acts (save the encore) were lengthy concept pieces, and while I pick up the profundity, the music is without much in the way of tempo changes or power. The found-sound story links are a struggle, which they absolutely cannot be (cf. Dazzle Ships by OMD, where they make the record). I completely agree with the idea that these are partial musicals so I need to think about them differently, but even then, I didn’t struggle with the messages — it was the music I found leaden. As such, I found it difficult to make a pleasurable connection with any of act 2 and most all of act 3. It’s accompaniment for something else I’m blind to.

As a lyricist/singer/performer, Gabriel was like this early on too, and it was a blessing when he left, both to Genesis (now freed of his pretensions, though still groaning under the weight of those of the remaining members) and to him when he stopped with that costume crap and started producing songs with social and emotional depth. (You may have gathered that I don’t care for early Genesis).

But act 1 is a different animal. These are great art rock songs (and I’ve enjoyed Hakim and Rhodes’ contributions on a number of other records). “Lily” is a groove; “Hounds of Love” soaring; “Top of the City” beautiful; “Running Up That Hill” a classic; “King of the Mountain” full of Laurie Anderson-y quirks but potent. But we only return to that energy at the very end on “Cloudbusting”, a terrific closer and one of her best songs.

I appreciate the courage to offer up this record despite its user-unfriendliness. And if the intent is to get me to explore more of Kate Bush’s catalog, then job done. For me, the first 40 minutes and “Cloudbusting” stripped out is a live record worth a 7 or even an 8. But taken as a whole package, 5/10 is the best I can do.
I started another play through and completed Acts I & II. I will aim to do Act III again tomorrow but your summing up that Act I plus cloud busting would be a terrific live album is where I am heading. Act I is very good and "Cloudbusting" hit the spot first time through too.
 

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