The Dreaming review by Kate Bush

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  • Released: Sep 13, 1982
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (16 votes)
Kate Bush: The Dreaming

Sound — 10
Released in Sept. 1982, it had been two years since UK singer/songwriter Kate Bush's last album to hit shelves. Her previous effort, Never for Ever, went straight to number one, and expectations were high for 1982's The Dreaming. Yet, upon release, it received mixed reviews, many confused by her new sound. Kate became innovated with the album's sound, incorporating the newly released and highly experimental Fairlight CMI which would allow her to create dense, electronic soundscapes. While her previous efforts could be considered dated by some, The Dreaming has been able to stand the test of time due to it uniqueness of sound. Kate finds herself breaking her stereotype of piano and voice, utilizing Rolf Harris on the didgeridoo on the title track. For the listener, the first listen will prove to be the hardest, as Kate has layered sound after sound, but this also gives repeated listens interest as there is always something new. Though dense, the sound is clean and innovative, and the artist has never been more comfortable in her shoes.

Lyrics — 9
Kate Bush's lyrical style heavily draws on influences outside her life. Hits like "Wuthering Heights" and "Babooshka" are good examples of this type of work, and songs on The Dreaming are no exception. The unsuccessful single, among many on the album, "There Goes a Tenner" is based on an unsuccessful bank robbery, while the title track is about the destruction of Aboriginal homelands by white Australians in their quest for weapons-grade uranium. Odd material, yes, but also extremely unique. Her hunger for knowledge and enlightenment can be seen on the albums other two singles, "Sat in Your Lap" and "Suspended in Gaffa". Having a liking for horror films, she even wrote a song, "Get Out of My House" based on the 1980s film, The Shining based on the Steven King novel of the same name. The song itself is quite frightening, and a risky choice for the final track on the album. Yet it is also one of the most fascinating due to Kate's distortion of her vocal, also seen on "Leave it Open" (a slightly weaker track on the album.) Kate's voice in general came as a surprise to audiences who were used to her high pitched tones. On The Dreaming, she makes use of her lower register more, allowing the ever important lyrics to be understood much better than her previous albums.

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, The Dreaming is an amazing album because of its uniqueness not only at the time, but also still today. It continues to be Kate's most controversial work, and continues to split her fans, some of who miss the more traditional Kate Bush. After Never for Ever in 1980, Kate took full control of her work, from an artistic and production stand point, and she seems confident in The Dreaming. "Night of the Swallow" is a stand out track on the album due to its lifting Irish chorus, and "Suspended in Gaffa" is another because of it's introspective lyrics. Perhaps it is as personal as Kate would get in The Dreaming in regards to her lyrics. Only two tracks in particular are not as strong as the others, but it's forgivable because Kate is still experimenting with her sound and songwriting, and should be applauded for her daring attempts. Overall, it has become a favourite of mine, even though it is a hardly accessible album. The Dreaming marks an artistic peak in Kate's career, and she would even outdo herself when she released the classic Hounds of Love album. Requiring repeated listens, The Dreaming has a dense soundscape, but also a rich reward.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Incredible album. Nothing before it or after sounds anything like it. Probably my fave Bush album (Hounds of Love, especially the B-side, is the other contender) and great to read about it again so many years after it came out.
    Matty, your review does Kate Bush's album justice. It amazes me how The Dreaming still has relevance more than twenty years after its release. When she made the album, she probably had no idea that it would be spoken about in 2010 over the Internet. Pretty cool.
    Thank you so much, it really does me a lot to me Yes, her album is extremely important because it still fascinates audiences today. She should be so proud of her work.
    Thank you Yes, I adore her, but there are other artists of course. I'm getting to them shortly.