Pop-like virtually all types of music- can be innovated and developed upon. Kate Bush earns my respect for being able to write songs within the mandatory four minute pop cap that still touch me. Perhaps it is the rich way in which she arranges these compositions, or her unique, angelic voice, I find myself attracted to her music, when by any other standard, I should be turned away from it. With enough supporting musicians to man a military regiment, Bush’s third album ‘Never For Ever’ is fairly standard Bush fare,and listeners who haven’t liked her work in the past will not like it here either. However, for those- like me- who like what she does, this is a charming collection of songs that showcase her talents both as a songwriter and vocalist.
‘Never For Ever’ is best defined by its dreamlike fantasy feel. Even from the surreal album art, Bush’s third album feels like the soundtrack to some Victorian fantasy, with plenty of nuances in the music that hide behind Kate’s vocals. Despite the artistic tendencies that run throughout each of the eleven songs here, this is still- first and foremost- a pop album, and Kate’s vocals are therefore the most important part of what the music is about. This is far from being a bad thing, due to the distinctive, unique, and gorgeous sound of her voice. Even looking past her penchant for strong, lush melodies, her higher register delivery is wispy, dramatic, and even seductive at moments. Still, I think that the best thing that Kate Bush’s music offers is a full- blown arrangement. I would draw the comparison of a big budget blockbuster if it did not imply that Kate’s music was shallow, but all of the tricks are really pulled out for this one. For the vast majority of the album, Kate Bush is being backed up by richly orchestrated instrumentation, and the focus on detail is what sets ‘Never For Ever’ apart from most pop records.
The one thing that doesn’t sit so well with me is that there is only one track on the album that I would really consider to be a ‘standout’, that being the first track ‘Babooshka’. That is not to say that the majority of the album is not good, it’s just that most of it does not exude the sense of being ‘classic’ songs. Many of these songs also feel a tad short for their own good, even as pop songs. ‘Never For Ever’ really is a sweet, albeit short album though, and if I had artistic pop needs that needed to be satiated, Kate Bush would always do the trick.