What was the question? I was looking at the big sky.

Nov 17, 2009 (Updated Nov 17, 2009)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:This amazing album just got even better.

Cons:Hmm. The lyrics of the new songs are missing.

The Bottom Line: In Kate's own words: "WOW! UNBELIEVABLE!"

Hello, old lady
I know your face well

I’ve reviewed Kate Bush’s groundbreaking Hounds of Love album once before, but that is the product of its original CD pressing. Sometimes, if a record is really good (or at least popular with the mainstream), it is treated to a re-issuing. And if the record company is good, then they will not half-ass the process (you hear that, Blondie?). Unlike a lot of remasters and reissues, the 1997 pressing of Kate’s mid-80s masterpiece was not for nothing. Aside from a general improvement in sound quality, this release comes with a few nice add-ons that the original pressing excluded. I have both of these, and I wish I could compare them side-by-side (my other copy is still in Boston). Regardless, this one seems to be a no-brainer. But before we get into the nitty-gritty science of it all, I should somewhat mention the sound of this record. First of all, this is Kate’s greatest record. The album served as not only a comeback for the English singer, but it is also a musical triumph in the form of twelve exceptional pop songs. Much like Björk, who I’ve recently reviewed, Kate’s method of writing music differs greatly from anybody else’s, and the sound on Hounds is more than original, featuring an awkwardly used drum machine that never sounded so artistic—Phil Collins this is not. It’s also worth noting this was her break-through record in the US.

So, blah blah blah. The album rocks. But what about this particular pressing? Well, I love this release in more ways than one. The bare-bones booklet of the original pressing has been compensated for with this version, which features beautiful promotional shots from the Hounds era, as well as the lyrics, a simple thing that Kate’s original pressings didn’t contain. There are moments on this album where she is different to understand given her insane vocal throwing and octave changing, so it’s nice to have printed words to look at. Then we look at the back of the album cover to notice something: there are six extra songs on this CD (how’s that for good use of the medium, wlswarts?) This list of songs very much makes this release worth it. Two of the tracks are remixes: the Meteorogical Mix of The Big Sky, which is an interesting club-modified version of the track, focusing more on the insane percussive moments; the latter is the 12” version of Kate’s classic Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) single. But I was far more interesting in the b-sides and songs deemed not good enough for the album’s original release.

While none of these songs truly live up to some of the incredible material on the actual record, they are still great tunes from the golden era of Kate’s songwriting. Burning Bridge features more of that classic percussion work that set her apart from other pop acts at the time. At the time when Madonna was hitting it big with Like a Virgin, Kate Bush was having just as much success in the UK with her challenging methods of music. Had this song been released as a single, I think it could have done quite well. Other songs, like My Lagan Love, are slower and showcase Kate’s vocal presence. That particular song is sung acapella and closes the disc out. And after it all, it just feels like the perfect use of 7,90EUR ($11.71USD).

Total words: 569

01. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) [5 Stars]
02. Hounds of Love [5 Stars]

03. The Big Sky [5 Stars]
04. Mother Stands For Comfort [4 Stars]
05. Cloudbusting [5 Stars]
06. And Dream of Sheep [4 Stars]
07. Under Ice [5 Stars]
08. Waking the Witch [4.5 Stars]
09. Watching You Watching Me [4.5 Stars]

10. Jig of Life [5 Stars]
11. Hello Earth [4.5 Stars]

12. The Morning Fog [4 Stars]
13. The Big Sky (Meteorological Mix) [5 Stars]
14. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) (12" Mix) [5 Stars]

15. Be Kind to My Mistakes [4 Stars]
16. Under the Ivy [3.5 Stars]
17. Burning the Bridge [5 Stars]
18. My Lagan Love [4.5 Stars]

BEST: The Big Sky
WORST: Under the Ivy
SCORE: 5 STARS (4.5)


1985 - Hounds of Love
1985 - Hounds of Love (1997 Re-issue)
1986 - The Whole Story
2005 - King of the Mountain (CD-Single)


For the Lean & Mean Write-Off: HERE

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