Friday, June 17, 2016
92. Kate Bush - Never for Ever
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Some record album covers translate okay to a smaller size – whether it be a CD booklet or a computer thumbnail image. Others, however, have rich detail which gets lost when the image is reduced.
Kate Bush’s 1980 album Never For Ever is one such album.
Painted by artist Nick Price, who had previously provided the cover art for Bush’s 1979 Tour program, it features a myriad of fantastical creatures flying out from under her windblown skirt. Symbolizing
dark and light, a fang-baring bat and a swan are the most predominant. Bush described the cover as “an intricate journey of our emotions: inside gets outside, as we flood people and things with our
desires and problems. These black and white thoughts, these bats and doves, freeze-framed in flight, swoop into the album and out of your hi-fis. Then it’s for you to bring them to life.” (Kate Bush Club newsletter, Sept. 1980) Music to Eat
My own personal observation is that Nick Price (at the instance of Kate) was portraying a dreamy surrealism in the tradition of the Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch. This album cover art
bears semblance with The Garden of Earthly Delights which is attributed to Bosch. In the work above, the original album cover art design is at extreme left. Its right half was flipped and added on the
right in order to mirror itself. The unflipped right half was added farther on the right in order to mirror the flipped half. I would call this a 'Bush flip', somewhat the opposite of but not very much unlike
a Bosh triptych.
While the art of the older masters was based in the physical world of everyday experience, Bosch confronts his viewer with, in the words of the art historian Walter Gibson, "a world of dreams and
nightmares in which forms seem to flicker and change before our eyes". In one of the first known accounts of Bosch's paintings, in 1560 the Spaniard Felipe de Guevara wrote that Bosch was regarded
merely as "the inventor of monsters and chimeras". In the early seventeenth century, the artist-biographer Karel van Mander described Bosch’s work as comprising "wondrous and strange fantasies";
however, he concluded that the paintings are "often less pleasant than gruesome to look at". wiki
Here's the work of Nick Price.
Painting by Nick Price, direction by Kate Bush. Album produced by Kate Bush and Jon Kelly. EMI (UK), EMI America (USA), Harvest (Canada) 1980.
Never for Ever has Kate Bush sounding vocally stable and more confident, taking what she had put into her debut single "Wuthering Heights" from 1978 and administering those facets into most of the
album's content. Bush's dramatics and theatrical approach to singing begin to solidify on Never for Ever, and her style brandishes avid seriousness without sounding flighty or absurd. "Breathing," about
the repercussions of nuclear war, conveys enough passion and vocal curvatures to make her concern sound convincing, while "Army Dreamers" bounces her voice up and down without getting out of hand.
"Babooshka"'s motherly charm and flexible chorus make it one of her best tracks, proving that she can make the simplest of lyrics work for her through her tailored vocal acrobatics. The rest of the
album isn't quite as firm as her singles, but they all sport a more appeasing and accustomed sound than some of her past works, and she does manage to keep her identity and characteristics intact.
Mike DeGagne for AllMusic; abridged.
(A) Babooshka - Delius (Song of Summer) - Blow Away (For Bill) - All We Ever Look For - Egypt
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