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
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

(B) The Wedding List - Violin - The Infant Kiss - Night Scented Stock - Army Dreamers - Breathing

"Babboshka" music video from KateBushMusic on YouTube



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