Director's CutAlbum | Kate Bush By Stewart Mason
The artist's prerogative writ large.
When Director's Cut, reworking tracks from The Sensual World and The Red Shoes, was first announced, some Kate Bush fans acted as if their idol was going to break into their homes and steal their cherished original albums. But in going back and fiddling with her old work, the artist has actually improved it. It's telling that seven of these 11 songs come from The Red Shoes, by some distance Bush's worst album. Crucially, she focused her musical revisions on both albums' weakest point, replacing their over-processed, horribly-dated drum sounds. Along with new lyrics on "The Sensual World" ( renamed "Flower of the Mountain" and featuring the Ulysses monologue the James Joyce estate wouldn't allow the first time), three songs are completely re-recorded: "This Woman's Work," "Moments of Pleasure" and "Rubberband Girl." The first is to Bush what "Hallelujah" is to Leonard Cohen: a second-tier work that's become her best-known song due to inferior covers and regular appearances on TV talent competitions. However, this minimalist electronic take snugly reclaims the song as her own. Less successful is the bizarre new "Rubberband Girl," inexplicably reminiscent of "Brown Sugar"-era Rolling Stones and featuring a mumbled, tossed-off vocal; then again, it's always been her worst single, so no great loss. Bush's decision to completely redo all the vocal tracks -- some songs transposed down to accommodate her lowered range -- takes getting used to, but some artists have earned the right to do whatever they want, and Kate Bush is one of them.