SotD80 - Kate Bush


Inspired by our series of articles looking back at music released 30 years ago, Jimmy Hunter takes a step further back in time to give us a Song of the Day 1980. This week, he concentrates on Breathing...

This week’s artist may feature in more than one review this year. Why? [Yes, DO explain!! – Ed] Simply because I think this was one of her best years. Now hang on, let me finish. Did what came later pale in comparison? No. Was what she did earlier, na├»ve and less mature? Absolutely not. This year saw her move onto a path nobody foresaw and gave us glimpses of the amazing creative force she’d become.

This week’s choice is the post-apocalyptic Breathing by Kate Bush.

Firstly, a brave (or indeed “courageous, Minister”) choice for a single. Especially the first single from a forthcoming album but it shows just how much she was in control – her record label EMI was definitely not calling the shots. At over 5 minutes long and not with the normal pop record construct it got radio plays but I think it perplexed the DJs and the “playlist deciders” because it left absolutely no room for air-time babble.

It’s about a baby in the womb when the bomb is dropped. It’s a remarkable anti-nuclear statement by Bush and (I think) a very effective one but as I said, extremely brave for a single release and yet it did well both critically and commercially. Musically it’s good and the production, in which she had a hand, is also good but it’s the lyrics that provide a very stark listen. Whilst the chorus is somewhat hypnotic, the end section is self-explanatory:

Ooh please!
(What are we going to do without)
Let me breathe!
(What are we going to do without)
Ooh, breath in
(We are all going to die without)
Leave me something to breathe!
(What are we going to do without)
Oh, leave me something to breathe!
(We are all going to die without)
Oh, God, please leave us something to breathe!
(What are we going to do without)
Oh, life is
Breeeeeaaaaattttthhhhhheeeee


Penned very much from a personal perspective this is a fantastic record – the music video is even more surreal.



Image - Amazon