I thought you told me this album was going to be weird.
OK, I mean, it’s a little out of the ordinary. The second side did get a little out there. (The brief highland dance interlude definitely blindsided me.) And Bush’s voice is certainly not a typical pop star voice. But mostly I was just like, yeah, I could get into this.
As I thought about it, I realized that’s because I already am.
Seinfeld (stay with me on this one) is widely considered to be one of the best, most successful, most groudbreaking television programs of all time. The so-called ‘show about nothing,’ following the often bizarre adventures of four borderline-sociopathic residents of New York City, completely revolutionized the world of primetime TV. But if you were to take the average middle school-aged kid today in 2015 and show them a random episode of Seinfeld, you’d probably get a response along the lines of: “This isn’t funny.” (Or at the very least, that it’s not particularly original.)
Of course, it’s not that Seinfeld isn’t funny. Rather, it’s that Seinfeld was so funny that everything about it has been imitated by its successors to the point that aspects of the show that were once groundbreaking (the unlikable cast, idiosyncratic language, the dissection of the quirks of polite society, etc.) are now a standard part of the genre. Seinfeld changed TV so fundamentally that, to someone with a cultural tabula rasa, its explosive originality is essentially invisible.
This phenomenon crops up in other media all the time. I’m sure this hypothetical middle-schooler would be completely nonplussed by Die Hard, and would tell you that Final Fantasy VII is a category-five cliché storm dressed up to passingly resemble a video game.
I put it to you that Kate Bush is the Seinfeld of female art-pop stars.
Bush has this apparent reputation for weirdness, but taken alongside contemporary acts like Björk, Fever Ray, or even someone like M.I.A., she’s really not as out there as I’ve been lead to believe. But I expect that this is in large part because she was the prototype for this particular type of act. Hell, even Lady Gaga owes some portion of her success to Kate Bush.
This was a fun listen. Plus, I now have some interesting new ideas for future assignments. But that’s all yet to come — I still need to rub your face in some punk rock first.