Sound — 6
1978 is often cited in music as the year of Kate Bush. Seeming to emerge from nowhere, her album The Kick Inside became a major hit, strongly aided by her single, "Wuthering Heights", a number 1 single everywhere it seemed, but the US. Kate was only 19 years old at the time of the release and wasn't yet in full control of her own work. Though several tracks like "Wuthering Heights" for it's lush orchestral rock, and "Moving" for its use of whale sounds are extremely innovative, the rest of the album suffers from bad instrumentals. The sounds are dates, especially on a track called "Kite", a perfectly catchy song, but dated. Kate is at her best when it is just her and a piano, especially with tracks like "Feel It" and "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" (which reached 6 on the UK charts). Though the band's sound is weak on several tracks, the album was really brought forth to display Kate's extremely impressive vocals.
Lyrics — 8
Kate's vocals, even at the age of just 19 were revolutionary at the time. High pitched and shrieky, it often shocked its listeners. Her control over it though is also quite impressive. "Feel It" and the title track are both subdued piano ballads showing her sensitive side, and displaying her ever important lyrics. "Feel It" for example was especially innovative for its suggestion of female sexuality. "Strange Phenomenon" was equally taboo for it has often been labeled as "a frank paean to menstruation". I find the lyrics often more impressive than the music on the album, especially because of "Feel It" and "The Man with the Child in His Eyes" (Of which went on to win her an Ivor Novello Award in 1979 for Outstanding British Lyric). These tracks and others seem like daydreams of a young girl, and though not hitting an emotional string as she would in her later work, she certainly hits an artistic one. The title track draws influence from Lizie Wan, an old murder ballad in which the character gets pregnant with her brother's child. Odd material as it is, she's able to make it work by dropping it against a beautiful piano melody.
Overall Impression — 7
"The Kick Inside" is a mightily impressive, albeit a flawed one. Kate did not have full control over her production and was still green in the field of music industry. Later in her career, we would see her flourish and find her own voice when she took full control. While it doesn't compare to her later work, it still possesses some wonder songs, especially "Wuthering Heights", "The Man with the Child in His Eyes", the rocker "James and the Cold Gun" and the strongly sexual "Feel It". Thought it is dated, it still is quite impressive and a must for fans who wish to track this amazing artist's growth over the years.