Monday, October 24th, 2011

Kate Bush – Wild Man

You know it’s the ’10s and not the ’90s when the entry today with multiple Tori references isn’t Kate Bush…


Katherine St Asaph: You can extrapolate little about Kate Bush albums, as evidenced by every Kate Bush album in decades (granted, that’s three), by their lead singles. I know no more about 50 Words for Snow than you do, but “Wild Man” is probably even less representative. It breathes into the Yeti the life of Frankenstein’s monster as rendered self-aware by Mary Shelley, not Halloween Express, and the empathy is shuddering, but Kate leaves herself mostly out of the story as she tends to do. But what a beautifully rendered story. The same contingent that’s right now circle-sighing in relief that no Auto-Tune was discernibly involved in “Wild Man” would be dismayed that I hear Timbaland in the tense guitar scritch that opens the track. (Pop crit: it’s ruined me.) The spoken word might also worry some. But then the chorus will burst open, masterful as ever, and no objections will remain.

Alfred Soto: Then I remember “King of the Mountain” confused me too. If this is more a miscellany of odd sounds (distorted vocals, wasp-like guitar figure, squelched bass) than a song I can fully endorse, the shrewd way in which Bush discovers new layers of stealth and lust in her sonic signature impressed me.

Jonathan Bogart: She’s always been a remarkably insular self-sufficient artist, but this is the first time that I’ve listened to a song of hers and not felt invited in.

Edward Okulicz: If my first experience of Kate Bush had been this rather than finding a 45 of “Babooshka” as a five-year-old, I think I’d have been too scared to ever listen to music again. It’s not a bouncy pop teaser like “Rubberband Girl” or a promise of great and mysterious beauty like “King of the Mountain.” It pirouettes around whatever point it makes for the most part, throws some eerie vocal processing over the top and then ends without incident. The latter might be the most jarring thing about it.

Anthony Easton: Björky, but Björk has always been a little bit Kate Bush. This might be a bit lazy of me, clumping the odd women together, but I think of it as Björky not because of the gender but because it is isolating and subarctic. The animal, the footprints in the snow and the menace of it remind me profoundly of the oncoming winter, and Björk’s relationship to weather has always been the missing element of criticism about her.

Brad Shoup: It is and isn’t about the Yeti. At its core, it’s about a wondrous, playful creature whose continued blessed existence must be maintained. That’s not quite Bush herself, but I think it’s a fair analogue to her vision, which has thus far withstood the pop centuries. The track is a vintage effort, a patient, rhythmically cunning song-portrait. The bass really digs deep, and the Robert Wyatt-y background warbling turns cartography into invocation. As ever, the subject matter is presented with her patented blend of whimsy and (non-self-)seriousness. Now we await the Christmas single campaign on Facebook.

2 Responses to “Kate Bush – Wild Man”

  1. A fansite told me Andy Fairweather Low sings on this one. I had thought it was a pitchshifted Kate.

  2. Specific Timbaland I hear: “What Goes Around… Comes Around.”