Monday, 22 April 2013

Top 102 Albums⁺ No 18 - Aerial

Top 102 Albums⁺ No 18
Aerial - Kate Bush

There is some tough competition in the competition to take the spot as Kate Bush's best album. As with other artists, this is a fluid position but Aerial has been my favourite for quite a while now. Hounds of Love, The Dreaming, The Sensual World, any of them would easily earn a place in my top twenty. She is a genius, sui generis. She seems to bleed music.

There was a deluge of hype in the run up to Aerial's release, with journalists using the most tentative of links to make a story. "Experts" who had once caught the same train (but in a different carriage) were predicting what was to come and people who had never met her were telling us that she was hard to meet. Almost all of us could have written that one! What had gone on in the twelve years since she last emerged from the studio with an album? How dare a celebrity deign to be invisible. And how did she do it? Fortunately the answer is on the album.

"Take a pinch of keyhole
And fold yourself up
You cut along a dotted line
You think inside out
And you're invisible

Eye of Braille
Hem of anorak
Stem of wallflower
Hair of doormat"

The witchcraft of the everyday suffuses this album. Who else could sing "washing machine" and sound  so full of swelling apprehension of the beauty of the world. Often accused of being esoteric and secretive it has always struck me that Kate's more open and honest in her singing and composition than almost anyone else. Here it is as if she invites us into her home and then takes us for a long walk in the surrounding countryside.

Standout tracks include the aforementioned How to be Invisible, my favourite; A Coral Room; BertieMrs Bartolozzi - if I keep going I'll name them all. The second disc A Sky of Honey is a single suite of music full of birdsong and sunshine. (The dark shapes on the cover are the sound-waveform of a blackbird singing.)

As a fellow anchorite buried in my rural retreat with family and pets and birds I find this album both inspirational and personal. Songs about her love for her children and songs part inspired by her children focus attention on the rhythm of everyday life from inside that life. The world is always renewed through the eyes of children. I wish I could see it that way more often. This album helps.

Music to soar in.

Here's a short doc on Kate.


  1. I went for another one in the end but this nearly made it. I was a tad disappointed with King of the Mountain as I thought the production was stuck at the time of Sensual World and Pi just didn't work . However Coral Room and How to be invisible are fantastic.

    However disc 2 was pure genius as it genuinely sounds like nothing else I have. I now play disc 2 everytime I'm feeling a bit jaded and everything else seems too tired and familiar

  2. agreed that Coral Room and How to be Invisible are the best on Disc 1. in fact How to be Invisible is one of the most played track in my iTunes. That and Disc 2 are what lifts this above other albums for me.

  3. She's Mother Earth.
    She's Sister Moonshine.
    She's an Ice Maiden.
    She's... erm... Madam Whiplash.
    Is there a base uncovered?
    She may well be the perfect woman.
    Does her dad own a brewery?

    Sorry, feeling 'blokeish' this morning...