Beelzebub is aching in my belly-o. My feet are heavy and I’m rooted in my wellios
I think it’s to Kate Bush’s credit that the above lyric does not ruin The Kick Inside, the song ‘Kite’ ‘s credit that you don’t really notice it and to my credit that I’m prepared to forgive her for the worst lyric I can think of, off the top of my head. I know the Minnie Mouse vocals polarize opinion a bit sometimes, but I’ll nail my colours to the mast: I think she’s incredible.
I was thinking today if you take out Kate Bush from this LP – yes I know it’s a Kate Bush LP and I know that would be like taking out the ice-cream from an ice-cream sundae but indulge me here, you’d be left with a very run-of-the-mill late 70’s pop rock prog LP indeed (dare I say it I can here bits of Alan Parsons Project^ in there). Add in Kate Bush and you get some very good piano playing (she never really seems to get credit for this), that voice and some divine harmonies, but most of all – you get a whole big jar of weirdness. The Kick Inside, a nice little safe LP? check more carefully and we get songs about oral pleasure, sex, menstruation*, incestuous pregnancy, sex, Wuthering Heights and sex. True story. All this from a 19-year-old. For the record, silly arm-waving video and novelty value aside, I really think ‘Wuthering Heights’ is the weakest track here.
We kick off with whale song, seguing into ‘Moving’, now I don’t want to blind you with my cosmically advanced analytical powers, but it’s a song about, umm moving, which segues again via the medium of whale song in a very Pink Floydian (Floydesque? Floydlike?) way into ‘Saxophone Song’, you can almost feel the hand of her mentor Dave Gilmour here. Now ‘Saxophone Song’ is apparently about the act of fellatio** I read that once in a magazine, so it must be true, after all magazines aren’t like the internet where any idiot with a theory can just let rip, oh. It’s my joint favourite track on this listen, ‘tuning in your saxophone’ and all, it really does sound like Floyd to me. ‘Strange Phenomena’ is the one about lady stuff and I just love the gentle piano patterns and the washed-out melody.
My favourite track of all though is ‘The Man With The Child in His Eyes’, which is just sumptuous and lit with real feeling. I like it for another reason as well, just the plain fact that no-one else could have written this song, it is a beautiful exposition of a totally unique talent – am I gushing yet? she wrote it, apparently, when she was 13. Now I don’t know about you, but I spent being 13 slaying hobgoblins and kobolds with a D10, as a Level 7 elf and climbing trees – writing transcendent songs about beauty, age and love weren’t on the menu at all.
Side 2 kicks off with ‘James And The Cold Gun’ the most straight-forward song on the LP and the only one I could imagine a band belting out in the backroom of a pub and from there on in Side 2 just gets rude, rude, rude with a little break for spirituality on ‘Them Heavy People’. Is this all a product of my over-heated imagination following my over-exposure to the sun on Sunday?
My stockings fall to the floor, desperate for more
Feel your warm hand walking around … synchronize your rhythm now
With that feeling of sticky love inside
That’s evidence, none of it remotely as smutty as I’ve made it sound out of context there though. Chuck in thwarted desire and a hymn to feminine strength, ‘Room For Life’ and incestuous goings-on in the rather astonishing, ‘The Kick Inside’ and you have a slyly subversive LP, a fact that I think is masked due to the melodies and the overall silliness of the ‘Wuthering Heights’ single. I like the fact that chunks of it come over as quite naïve and that despite its polish this is not the finished article by any means. This LP was a real statement of intent but Kate Bush hadn’t worked out her real voice yet – figuratively and literally and when that happened… well, we’ll come to that later, but for now just help me on with this leotard, cue music, cue dancers …
Heathcliff, it’s me, Cathy come home
I’m so cold, let me in-a-your window
P.S – you have to love China Drum’s cover of ‘Wuthering Heights’, it was the B-side to a single I bought called ‘Can’t Stop These Things’ – have I moaned about the death of the single yet this month? I love this because it’s just a good respectful cover and not just a kicking.
*apparently its some sort of lady malady.
**no, contrary to popular belief not a minor character in Hamlet – look it up, if you’re not at work.
^in fact, someone just told me that Ian Bairnson (guitars) played with them.