Alternative Rock, 2011
Whatever her motives are for releasing Director’s Cut, the darling banshee of love known as Kate Bush has actually done something amazing here, from a marketing point of view. It makes her longtime and very patient fans, such as me, play back her older albums. Since my copies of her older albums are in the form of cassette tapes, I ended up ordering the CDs of those albums. It’s a pretty costly endeavor for me, but if even a handful of people end up doing what I did, that would give Ms Bush a tidy royalty check at the end of the day.
This collection of old songs are actually remastered versions, in which Ms Bush decides to go retro and transform these tracks into analogue tracks. This results in songs that feel… quaintly primitive, let’s just say, with the stripped down qualities of the tracks and Ms Bush’s vocal reinterpretation of these songs giving them a slightly different feel from the original versions. Slightly different, that is. The songs, mostly from The Red Shoes and some choice cuts from her greatest hits repertoire (This Woman’s Work, Deeper Understanding), are still recognizable.
The most significant reworks can be heard in Deeper Understanding, where Ms Bush autotunes her son’s voice to give the computer its “point of view”, This Woman’s Work which has been given a complete overhaul, and Flower of the Mountain, which is The Sensual World with a set of new lyrics that incorporates parts of James Joyce’s Ulysses. Still, these changes feel unnecessary. While it is Ms Bush’s right to tinker with songs that she felt were somehow wrong or off in some ways, the changes here don’t really add much to the songs.
This Woman’s Work, for example, now feels pointlessly drawn out, with the vocals being melodramatic solely for the sake of melodrama. The previously frantic and quirky Rubberband Girl now feels like some wedding band’s cover version. Many of the tracks here feature dramatic key changes, but all that drama only drowns out the subtle mélange of vulnerabilities that were once present in haunting tracks such as Top of the City, the anthem of depressed souls everywhere, and Deeper Understanding.
Director’s Cut may help Ms Bush cultivate a new generation of fans, but for me, this one is just a filler album. It’s fortunately nowhere as self-indulgent as her last effort Ariel, but it’s still a self-indulgent effort that inadvertently reduces the cathartic impact of her songs.