Episode 6: Kate Bush songs about social and political issues

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What do people expect from a Kate Bush song?  Mythical creatures? Fantasy?  So I’ve heard, but in fact much of Kate Bush’s music is heavily rooted in the here and now. Many of her songs deal with critically important issues which pertain to the world today, such as war, the dispossession of indigenous peoples and homophobia.

Unlike more overtly political or activist musicians, Kate doesn’t write songs with an obvious position or political angle.  Instead she inhabits the emotional world of someone in a particular situation – and invites we the listeners, to relate.

In this episode, we discuss some of these wonderful songs, such as The Dreaming, Pull Out the Pin and Kashka from Baghdad.

You can download the sound file at www.katebushradioshow.podomatic.com

All song copyright belongs to Ms Bush.

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3 thoughts on “Episode 6: Kate Bush songs about social and political issues

  1. Glad to see you return! You really do uncover new context and information on her music. I had no idea the word ‘dream time’ was spelled out in the baking vocals.

    The Dreaming album was so ahead of it’s time. Many of the songs were wild and avant-garde in their melodies and yet incredibly catchy and hook-laden.

    It pains me how it wasn’t received very well when released. Today, it would be a different story. But she never really wrote songs like those again. Now maybe that’s just Kate not wanting to repeat herself, but I wonder if it wasn’t something else.

  2. Thanks Trevor!
    Yes you’re right about the songs. I suppose The Dreaming came out of a particular time in Kate’s life – the first time she would take complete control over the writing and production of her songs and the first time she would use the Fairlight synthesizer. Apparently she loved the Fairlight straight away and realised that she could use it to produce her songs as she imagined them. She spent alot of time in the studio and unfortunately this was very expensive.

    I think she would have been disappointed and perhaps felt a bit chastened by the lukewarm response. Kate has said in interviews that it was her ‘she’s gone mad’ album. Some commentators even surmised that her career was finished.(how wrong they were!) It was also around this time that media tabloids started calling her ‘reclusive’ and suggesting that she was strange. I think this must have been disillusioning for her.

    After The Dreaming, Kate built her own studio, where she could spend as much time as she liked working on the songs. Hounds of Love I suppose, came partly out of the independence and solitude which this allowed her.

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