What does it sound like?:
This four cd set was originally part of one of the box sets issued late last year, but now, as is often the way with these things, it’s been made available separately, which must be quite annoying if you bought said box set just to get hold of it. It’s 34 tracks round up material that never made it onto albums, comprising B sides, remixes and cover versions – rather like another mercurial artist, Prince, in her prime Bush created a plethora of songs for which she just didn’t seem to have a ready outlet for release..
The first cd deals with 12 inch mixes (remember them?), which are more extensions of the originals than actual reinventions. I’m not a huge fan of the genre to be honest, and some work far better than others – my favourite is the alternate Hounds Of Love, although a bonkers Big Sky runs it close.
The second and third cds cover original compositions that never made the final cut for albums. These are the centrepiece of the album for me, a real motherlode of gems such as Under The Ivy, Burning Bridge and You Want Alchemy. Of course, completists will spot some omissions from the dusty corners of the back catalogue, and it’s not clear why, for example, 1979’s On Stage EP isn’t included. There are, nevertheless, some excellent songs on here, and sometimes it’s hard to understand why they weren’t used at the time – maybe they just didn’t fit Bush’s vision for a particular record, or maybe there were just so many songs to choose from that she was spoilt for choice..
The fourth disc collects up sundry cover versions from over the years – Rocket Man and Candle In The Wind are nice, there’s a rather odd take on Sexual Healing and a more traditional attempt at Billy Holiday’s The Man I Love. Bush always seems to chart a course that both respects the original but simultaneously gives it a unique twist that transforms it into one of her own songs.
Although there’s nothing here that’s previously unreleased (if only), it’s great to have these orphaned songs that never found a true home finally gathered together in one place rather than scattered over numerous, and sometimes hard to get hold of, releases.
An essential buy for Bush fans given that it seems there’s unlikely to be new material coming anytime soon.
What does it all *mean*?
I really enjoyed delving into the depths of this set – most of the songs still feel as contemporary now as they ever did, and there’s not too many artists you can say that about.
Goes well with…
Exploring the back catalogue.
Might suit people who like…
Unique, unusual song writing and performance.