As one of pop’s finest and most reclusive talents releases her first album in six years, Graeme Thomson explains her enduring appeal.
Google the words “Kate Bush weird” and you will be offered more than 5.5million results, more even than “Kate Bush genius” or “Kate Bush sexy”. While it’s a misconception that the most consistently challenging British artist of the past 30 years is, in her own words, a “weirdo recluse”, it’s one that’s unlikely to be corrected by the promotional campaign surrounding the release of her first album for nearly six years.
Bush has launched Director’s Cut, on which she revisits songs from her albums The Sensual World (1989) and The Red Shoes (1993), without granting any meaningful access. There has been a drip-feed of pleasingly playful photos; a handful of unrevealing print interviews; a couple of radio chats and a terribly hammy video in which she does not appear. She hasn’t toured since 1979 and will not be seen within a mile of Jools Holland’s TV jamboree or Graham Norton’s sofa.