Kate Bush 50 Words for Snow

Kate Bush 50 Words for Snow
For someone who failed to show her face for a good 12 years, Kate Bush has had an extraordinarily productive year. She still refuses to perform and rarely talks, but considering 50 Words for Snow is her second full-length of 2011, she's definitely made up for some lost time. If the release of May's Director's Cut (an album of reinterpreted songs from 1989's The Sensual World and 1993's The Red Shoes) didn't satiate fans, 50 Words for Snow should do the trick. A seasonal album (read: not a holiday album) "set against a backdrop of falling snow," Bush flexes her muscles as a one-of-a-kind storyteller across seven songs in an impressive 65 minutes. The wintry theme isn't the only narrative, as each song is given its own thread. "Lake Tahoe" tells the tale of a female ghost searching for her lost dog. In "Misty," she builds a snowman, only to have a "one and only tryst" in bed where she kisses "his ice-cream lips." She tries to protect a Himalayan Abominable Snowman in "Wild Man" and becomes time-travelling lovers with Elton John on "Snowed in at Wheeler Street." Whether it's through the fantasies she builds with her prose, her ethereal voice that gives them life or the strikingly minimal and comforting arrangements, Bush's ability to evoke the soft, chilly sensation of snowfall is remarkable. There's no finer example than the piano-led nine-minute opener, "Snowflake," which features a duet with her 13-year-old son, Bertie, and his prepubescent soprano. 50 Words for Snow is unique in its concept and execution; it's a vision that will transcend the limitations of the season. And as we've come to expect, only Kate Bush could achieve such a thing. (Fish People/EMI)