S03E12 – The Empty Bullring

After a short break, we’re back with a new song episode. So come disappear through a window and out of your mind into our discussion of The Empty Bullring, the first released non-album track of Kate’s career so far and the first b-side of this season.

The Empty Bullring was the b-side to Never For Ever‘s lead single Breathing. Compared with the proggy, densely produced atmosphere of the A-side, Bullring is rather simple in its production. Just Kate and her piano, spinning a tale of a man trying to prove himself when he doesn’t need to, all in less than two and a half minutes. Short and sweet indeed.

For this episode, we’re joined by a great friend of the show, Zoey, who puts this as one of her most underrated Kate Bush songs. Cecilee and Zoey discuss the theme of the song, the way Kate uses her voice and her always intriguing vocal stylings, and when this song may have been recorded.

Song clips used:

The Empty Bullring

S03E11 – Breathing

Can you believe we’re now at the end of a third album? Of course there are still the b-sides and collaborations to go, but all the album tracks from Kate’s third album Never For Ever have now been discussed and dug into!

Our guests for this last song will be familiar to listeners: Zoey P and Christopher Kelley. Not only are they young fans like our host, but also, Breathing is one of their top 3 favorite Kate Bush songs ever. Not just because it’s one of their favorites but also, there is a lot to discuss in general with this epic song!

In this episode, Christopher and Zoey talk extensively about Breathing. There’s the prog-rock song structure. There’s Kate’s voice, beginning to morph into the raw, emotional instrument that would come into full bloom on The Dreaming. The unusual subject matter (nuclear war from the point of view of a fetus). The music video (of course).

And this was a top 20 hit??

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Breathing (album version)

Breathing (live in 1986)

S03E10 – Army Dreamers

After a short break, we’re back with another song episode!

And almost in time for the 38th anniversary of this single being released!

On September 22, 1980, the final single from Never For Ever was released: Army Dreamers. Compared to the previous two singles, Army Dreamers was quite a change of pace from Breathing (prog-rock, Kate’s “little symphony”) and Babooshka (upbeat piano rock). After the intensity of the previous two singles, what we have here is a quiet, folk sort of song in a waltz time (bum BUM BUM bum BUM BUM) with a sweet-sounding vocal delivery from Kate.

But as we all know with Kate, not everything that sounds sweet actually is!

Beneath the quiet atmosphere in this song, we have a tragic tale of a mother mourning the accidental death of her son. And to talk about the song this week, we have two fans: Christopher Kelley, who was featured on the Violin episode, and Gregory Chappell, a long-time fan from Virginia. With these two fans, we get into the history of the song, the folky instruments used in the song’s production, how well it did on the charts, our histories with this song, and, of course, the lyrics! What is a BFPO and, really, she’s saying “like a chicken with a fox”?

After the episode proper, keep listening for an outtake from our discussion with Gregory about what it was like to be a Kate fan in the pre-Internet era.

Song clips used:

Army Dreamers album version

S03E09 – Night-Scented Stock

You would think that an episode about a fifty-two second long interlude track would be about that long. Instead, we got an episode that was almost nine times as long as the song itself! Not bad, wouldn’t you say?

In the shortest episode so far of the show, Cecilee is on her own to talk about this interlude track, an ethereal a cappella piece in between the scary Infant Kiss and the folk-tinged Army Dreamers. In this episode, we’ll learn what is a night-scented stock is and we’ll hear a sample of this song used in a house track from the early 90s, Les enfants du paradis by Loopzone!

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Les enfants du paradis

S03E08 – The Infant Kiss

All our barriers are going. Time to bring you another episode of Strange Phenomena!

Can you believe we’re almost done with Never For Ever album songs? We can’t either.

Our song for discussion this week is a rather controversial Kate Bush song inspired by a movie (of course!) that was inspired by a story (of course again!): The Infant Kiss, a song that takes its inspiration from the 60s film The Innocents, an adaptation of The Turn of the Screw. In this episode, we talk with a super fan of the show and song, Zoey P, about this song’s inspiration, why Zoey loves this song, and why this song is so controversial among fans.

We also discuss the French adaptation Un baiser d’enfant, which was specially recorded for the Canadian market in 1982, two years after this song first appeared on an album!

Relevant videos:

Fan-made video for The Infant Kiss

Un baiser d’enfant

S03E07 – Violin

Are you ready to climb with Paganini up to the chimney to jig along with the fiddle-dee-diddle-dee-dee? If you are, then get ready for a rocking discussion of the violin-infused, well, Violin, the seventh track from Never For Ever.

We are joined by two guests for this episode: Wayne Henderson, who you’ll remember from last season’s episode In Search of Peter Pan, and Christopher Kelly, a young Kate fan who’s come on the show to talk about why he loves this song so much. We get into the history of this song, starting from its inception as a Cathy demo, the live version from Kate’s Tour of Life and her Christmas special, all the way to its inclusion on Never For Ever. Along the way, we talk about the numerous references in this song, such as banshees, Paganini, and Nero. And who can forget the live performances, where Kate hits some of her highest recorded notes ever?

It’s all here in this episode!

Song clips used:

Violin live at the Hammersmith Odeon

Violin live on the Kate Bush Christmas special

Violin (demo)

S03E06 – The Wedding List

We hope you can give the hunt up for another episode of Strange Phenomena! Because it’s here!

The Wedding List is the first song on Side B of Never For Ever, and what a way to start that side! We’ve gone from the ethereal Egypt to one of the most rocking songs that Kate has ever done. Only Kate!

A classic revenge tale of a widowed bride seeking vengeance on the man who killed her husband on their wedding day, The Wedding List was inspired by the François Truffaut movie The Bride Wore Black (itself the inspiration for the Kill Bill movies). On hand to discuss this song is Zoey P, a huge film buff and fan of this song. In this episode, we talk about the lyrics (of course!), speculate about who Rudi is, what a cherootie might be, and our favorite Kate vocal moments!

Oh and of course, we talk about the live performances too: Kate’s 1979 Christmas special performance, and her live rendition in 1982 with an all-star band at the Prince’s Trust charity event, a performance that’s famous for more than just hearing her sing live!

Lots of talk about in this episode!

Song clips used and discussed:

  • 1979 Christmas special: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ymxgS4XHRA
  • 1982 Prince’s Trust: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJvXpvH2-Hk
  • 1990 Les Dogs episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Og4h3EqxuDw
  • The Wedding List (demo): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JwTsif5CYOk

S03E05 – Egypt

Are you ready for a traveling episode? We sure hope so!

For this week’s song, the ethereal Egypt, we make a call to Serbia to chat with a young fan named Uroš about his love for this song, the fifth track from Never For Ever. Uroš is a young Kate fan from Serbia who has always loved this song, so he has a lot to say about why this is one of his favorite Kate tunes!

While we get to talk about why we like this song, we also discuss the theme of the lyrics, which remind both of us of the earlier Kashka from Baghdad from Lionheart. Much is discussed about the issue of stereotyping and romanticizing a place you don’t know much about. We also get into the version of this song performed on the Tour of Life in 1979, before this song was even recorded in a studio, and the first time this song was performed on a TV audience, during the Kate Bush Christmas special later that year!

We hope you’ll be in love with this episode like Kate was with Egypt!

Song clips used:

Egypt (live at the Manchester Apollo, April 1979) (footage of Kate performing the song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXbTak2InhI

Egypt (live at the Manchester Apollo, April 1979) (pictures of her performing the song): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG9gKW1Y9bo

S03E04 – All We Ever Look For

All we ever want for you is to listen to this new episode of Strange Phenomena!

All We Ever Look For doesn’t seem to be a song that is discussed much in the Kate Bush canon, and it’s really quite a shame! Because we found not one but TWO fans of this song to discuss it this week, and they have a lot to say.

This week, we’re joined by two guests who both love this week’s song, All We Ever Look For, the fourth track from Never For Ever: Keith DeWeese, who joined us on Oh England My Lionheart, and Zoey P, a favorite guest on our show last season and this season! With both of our guests, we dig into the complex psychology in the lyrics (especially from Zoey!), the sweet-sounding-but-not-quite arrangement (what Keith called “Kate Bush fairy music”), and one of Zoey’s favorite Kate Bush vocal moments, among many!

Not bad for a song that doesn’t seem to get discussed very much!

Also in this episode, hear a clip of a live orchestral rendition of All We Ever Look For performed by the Göthenberg Symphony Orchestra for their special Kate Bush tribute show, This Woman’s Work: A Tribute to Kate Bush, which is available to watch here:


Song clips used:

All We Ever Look For, sung by Jennie Abrahamson and the Göthenberg Symphony Orchestra

S03E03 – Blow Away (For Bill)

One of the band told us last night that we’d be coming out with a new episode of Strange Phenomena this week! In this episode, we get to fly away with the third track from Never For EverBlow Away (For Bill). This week, Cecilee is joined by Alex Dale, a writer from London who considers this song to be one of his favorite pieces of music ever.

In this episode, Cecilee and Alex discuss the song at length, from its inspiration (the death of Bill Duffield, the lighting engineer for Kate’s tour) to its intriguing musical structure and arrangement, to the leaked piano demo showing different lyrics and the exclusion of a third verse that hadn’t been written yet. Cecilee and Alex also discuss the deceased rock stars mentioned in the song, what it means to “put out the light,” their own personal histories with the song and how this song grew on both of them!

We promise not to thump you!

Song clips used:

Blow Away (For Bill) demo version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_Vcpk2sMsk