[40 Years of Dreaming] -- I know Kate Bush was recently in the news when her 1985 single, "Running Up That Hill," was featured in the hit series, Stranger Things. But this week's flashback is going to wind back to three years prior to "Hill"'s release. In fact, we're winding back to 40 years ago this week, when Kate Bush released her fourth studio album, The Dreaming. A "theatrical and abstract piece of work" (AllMusic) that was equal parts fan favorite and commercial failure (Pitchfork), The Dreaming is considered one of Bush's most experimental recordings. As a product of English art rock, The Dreaming plays in the realms of the fantastic, with witches and otherworldly lovers appearing in equal parts as protagonists and objects of, well, fascination. But it's a grounded and focused fascination, driven by layered synths, echoed choruses, fretless bass, and piano. And, pushing the experimental aspect of the record, the instrumentation also features the use of mandolins, uilleann pipes, and didgeridoos.
Despite the record's seeming (or declared?) uncommercial nature, The Dreaming peaked at #3 on the UK album chart, and it also squeaked into the US Billboard 200 at #157. The album spawned five singles: "Sat in Your Lap," "The Dreaming," "There Goes a Tenner," "Suspended in Gaffa," and "Night of the Swallow." I alternate between "Suspended in Gaffa" and "Sat in Your Lap" as my personal favorites. Then there's the title track, "The Dreaming," with its themes of empire wreaking political and environmental violence; it rates as a close second, at least for me. I also very much like the album's closing track, "Get Out of My House." Inspired by stories of isolated madness (like Stephen King's The Shining), it's pretty much a Gothic horror story masquerading as an avant-garde song. You'll have to let me know what you think of it, but you have to admit that it's an appropriate track to consider as we enter the spooky season.
Perhaps The Dreaming was too experimental, or even shocking, for audiences in the early 1980s. Hence the mixed critical reception it received at the time. However, I notice this record has gained more favorable reviews over time, and maybe there's a wider audience for it now. Stranger things have happened in a record's history, eh?
Flashback: The Dreaming (September 13, 1982)
That's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.
I'll see you in seven!