Spun: Kate Bush

By Ben Hoffman

Released a scant six months after Kate Bush’s previous album, 50 Words For Snow is reminiscent of 2005’s Aerial, with a significant exception: it captures not the airy lightness of summer, but rather the melancholy of the cold winter months. With her teenage son “Bertie” as the only other artist appearing on the album, her trademark husky, earthy and surreal voice floats through and captures it. Accompanied by Enya-like vocal stylings, quiet jazz and an emotionally wrenching piano, 50 Words For Snow carries itself at a measured pace — and although it is not her best work, it is an immensely profound release nonetheless.

Bush, famous for her bizarre lyrics and unique arrangements, creates a winter wonderland on the track “Misty,” where having an affair with a snowman brings with it the same emotional resonance that any torrid romance would. Metaphorical lyrics comparing feelings of hurt to actual flesh-and-blood pain add to the album’s poignancy.

The titular track is more aptly named than it would seem. Bush actually lists 50 words for snow, some of them outlandish and others recognizable. They range from the gentle and soft to the almost violent and nonsensical.

The real gem of the album, however, is the final, sweet, redemptive love song “Among Angels.” With delicately carved verses and blunt protestations of a frosty love, it is truly the epitome of Kate Bush’s latest release. 50 Words For Snow is evocative, haunting and intricately made — and like its conclusion, a treat worth savouring.

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