These days, I am going through a major Kate Bush kick, inspired by the amazing new Bat for Lashes album, Two Suns. I downloaded that shit on a whim and before I completed my first listen, Natasha Khan had me hypnotized. She really is a siren, and but she is not the first of her kind. Kate Bush's influence on Two Suns is unmistakable, though not to a disrespectful degree (frankly, Two Suns is the album I wish 2005's grown-and-unsexy Aerial turned out to be). Kahn embodies the same arms-length intimacy as Kate by using a singer-songwriter aesthetic to create characters rather than confess. Instead of just a girl with a piano, we're hearing a girl with a piano along with all the voices her head can conjure. And that's not even mentioning the production similarities (a few Two Suns tracks use the same sort of post-new wave primitive drum programming that inhabits the first half of Hounds of Love).
Khan's more tempered than the fearlessly shrill Kate, though, and, to my untrained ear, her songwriting isn't as sophisticated. But that's for the best as I'm not sure if we could handle two Kate Bushes -- the world's head might explode. While Khan comes off cool even when wailing about her wickedness inside, it's never taken more than a literary reference or the image of a stringed instrument to have Kate wailing, balls-out. And if she didn't have balls that day, she'd probably hire men to dress as them so that she could incorporate them in an interpretive dance of the testes.
I've spent the past few weeks of listening to Kate's music and howling at her videos via YouTube (you haven't lived till you've watched her talk about her vegetarianism or explain her positively batty "Sat in Your Lap" video to a roomful of bored pre-pubescent children). During this time, I finally realized something about Kate, whom I've loved since high school: she was made for me. No other entertainer I've invested myself in has ever struck the balance between awe-inspiring technical proficiency and utter nonsense so well. She has the paradoxical effect of a retarded genius. I've repeatedly written about my obsession with ambiguous intent in pop culture. There's nothing more satisfying to me than something that doesn't announce itself as intentionally or accidentally hilarious, something that slips through that crack of decidedness and tickles my brain as it dissipates into multiple receptors. Take Kate's dancing, alone, which while clearly thought-out and rooted in technique, nonetheless feels absurdly unhinged...
(Warning! Warning! So many more gifs follow. We're talking hours worth of madness. Be prepared to be seduced or, at least, derisively amused!)
Obviously, the other major epiphany resulting from my renewed fascination with Kate is how gif-able she was. Move over Tyra, there's a new head bitch in charge on this blog. She's worse than the other one was...in the best possible way.
As much as I wish I'd been somehow cognizant of Kate as she traveled on her upward trajectory during the late '70s and early '80s, like a witch who took a good half decade to learn how to use her broom, I'm kind of glad that she happened when she did. A lot of the gifs above and below come from videos and weird one-off performances and specials that were made before the music video really became the vehicle of pop music, and certainly decades before doing anything to get passing attention on YouTube became a legitimate means of self-expression. There's something assuring in how little-seen these clips were. If Kate were to do what she did then now, she'd be so easily written off as an attention whore. What's Kate up to now?
Oh, blinking weirdly to prove she still has it.
What's Kate doing now?
Sending the Internet community Christmas wishes via confetti. It's really a gift that we don't have to clean it up.
What's Kate doing now?
Oh you know, wandering around like a mom-mom on meds.
Look, it's arguable that she was doing weird-for-weird's sake even back then. It's just that considering the slower pace of media 25 or so years ago, the chances of her intentions being pure, that she really was invested in finding new ways to communicate and just be, are much greater. Regardless, though, she was a one-woman non-stop show of extreme human behavior:
Make that one-woman freak-show. And as such, she certainly predicted my interest (as well as the world's?) in the one-of-a-kind behavior that keeps even the glaringly untalented around on reality TV. There's something about her unpredictability and willingness to do whever the fuck that seems so relevant to my taste right now. Hence the gifs and my wish that Kate would head a reality show to find another her (in the end, I really do want to see the world's head explode). It could be called America's Next Top Eeeyaaawwww. Instead of instructing people to smile with their eyes, Kate would tell them to shoot arrows with their arms.
The eyes, you see, are too busy doing more important things:
She'd be like, "You look mean, and I need you to look demented. This is mean:
And this is demented:
See the difference?"
You know Tyra always does that wave motion for long, flowing extensions? This would be Kate's go-to gesture when she gave each and every girl a frizzed-out wig:
And, of course...
...is the new "fierce."
I hope it is clear that despite having slowed down considerably in the past 15 years, Kate Bush is still in the running towards becoming the greatest person who ever lived.
And now, the real point of this post (I didn't mean to go on like this...really!), a gif wall for my girl. I can't think of anyone who deserves this, my favorite way to salute someone, more. My parting advice to you is to go out and buy The Dreaming and keep listening to it until you love it. It will improve your life in ways you can't even imagine.
The woman has employed a trail effect on herself in more than one instance. I rest my case.
Say goodbye, Kate.
She can't even do that without being weird about it!