An Ode To Kate Bush

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Kate Bush is the anti-diva. "Artists shouldn't be made famous," she said in a 1980 interview. "They have this huge aura of almost god-like quality about them, just because their craft makes a lot of money. And at the same time it is a forced importance...It is man-made so the press can feed off it."

Keep in mind that this was only two years after she released her breakout 1978 single, "Wuthering Heights," which reigned as the number-one song on the UK Singles Chart for four weeks straight — topping even Blondie's debut, "Denis." For a chart-topping singer to totally reject the very idea of celebrity was refreshing, to say the least.

Bush could have embraced the fame that inevitably followed the success of this strange song, but she didn't. It made her uncomfortable, embarrassed even. She could've become the next Olivia Newton-John, Karen Carpenter, or Carly Simon — but she didn't. She tiptoed on the periphery of mainstream success, her sui generis sensibility always one step away from widespread appreciation.

But, that oddness is exactly what draws the people who love Kate Bush to her music. Seriously, look at this:



Could an artist today dominate the pop charts with a soprano interpretation of an Emily Brontë book? Gaga, we dare you to try.

Though, it would be unfair, if not impossible, to compare Bush with current pop stars or even her contemporaries in the '70s and '80s — she's always spoken another language. This is a woman who ignored the platitudes about which the music industry wanted women in the '70s to sing. Instead, she sang about Hammer Horror, a legendary British producer of Gothic camp films like Horror of Dracula and The Hound of the Baskervilles. She sang about dancing with Hitler, because it's pretty hard to rhyme anything with "Oppenheimer."

Bush has always been a bard more than anything else — she uses her voice as a conduit for other people's stories. She's channelled Houdini's wife and the governess in The Turn of the Screw. And, let's not forget "Babooshka":



Clearly, Bush has never been afraid to buck convention, just as she wasn't afraid to bray like a donkey in "Get Out of My House," a driving cri de coeur based either on The Shining or an old British folk song, or most probably a combination of the two. It is, in this author's estimation, one of the most powerful rejections of a man in music.



And, the dance moves: What's not to love about those weird, spastic, fantastic interpretive dance moves?



Or her large, evocative eyes?



We could go on. We could talk about the crushing, emotional climax in "This Woman's Work" or the odd, haunting beauty of "50 Words for Snow," but we don't need to. Kate Bush, you wild woman. Never change.