Sound — 7
Released in 1993, The Red Shoes was Kate Bush's latest release since 1989's The Sensual World. The album also made a mark on the US charts, peaking at #28, her highest in her career. Yet this does not mean that it is her best work, and in fact, is most likely one of her weakest. The album has not aged as well as her previous works, especially 1982's The Dreaming or her classic album, 1985's Hounds of Love. This is due to the rather constricted percussion and unimpressive lyrics. A prime example is the album's first song and first single, "Rubberband Girl". While the song is encouraging the listener to be more flexible, the percussion is rather rigid. It is, as usual, Kate's voice that is able to breathe life into a song, and her near-wailing pitches perfectly reflect how we as humans need to stretch ourselves and "go with the flow". "Eat the Music" was another interesting choice for a single, for it is much more free-flowing and loose than most of the other tracks. However, it drags with the same melody for quite awhile and gets boring halfway through. The most impressive part of Kate's sound however is her collaboration with other artists such as Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton and Prince. Yet, as an artist known for continuous innovation to music, Kate has not really stretched herself on this record.
Lyrics — 7
Kate's lyrics take a dramatic turn from her usual work, with themes of loosing up and dance taking prominance over dangers of nature and internal lives shown on Hounds of Love. While these themes are all well and good, the urgency is not there on the album, making it quite less exciting than her previous work. Her lyrics seem simply corny on the last few tracks. Never known for getting overly sentimental, Kate heads toward corniness with the album's last track "You're the One". It's a fairly dull song to end an album with, and the previous three tracks are similar in this regard. "Moments of Pleasure" however has a perfect balance of sentimentality and realism. Kate is looking back on those she had lost in her life, stating that "just being alive can really hurt". It's one of the few lyrical moments on the album that seem to reach out, the other being "Top of the City" which truly reads like beautiful poetry. Kate's voice is as majestic and gorgeous as usual, and keeps growing with every passing record.
Overall Impression — 8
Overall, the album is one of Kate Bush's weakest to date, but still has prominance in her prolific career. Not everything on it is bad, and it truly only gets boring toward the last four tracks. What's great about her music is the surprise each track brings and never knowing quite what she will sing about next. Respect for her work should not be lost because of a weak album as Kate was going through an especially hard time in her life between losing her mother and ending her long term relationship with Del Palmer. The most impressive songs on the album would have to be the title track and "Top of the City", both of which shine musically and lyrically. Fans of Kate's work however are constantly divided by what she does, and in no way should my favorite songs be someone else's as well. And that's truly the magic of what this woman does. Each song is different, just like each person's tastes.