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29 December 2011 @ 08:43 pm
Bp's Song of the Week #138: Kate Bush (w/ Elton John) "Snowed in at Wheeler Street"  
When Kate Bush releases new material there's such anticipation these days. Since the early '90s she's only released a handful of recordings, far from the prolific schedule she kept in the late '70s and early '80s. But then again, Kate never played by anyone's rules but her own. It does mean that it's easy to over-analyze new material and for fans and critics alike, it's easy to get worked up about new material.

Having listened to her back catalog this summer a fair amount and gaining a new appreciation for some songs that had eluded me in the past, and further understanding why I loved the classics, I came into this new album, 50 Words for Snow, with eyes wide open. It's her first brand-new release since 2005 (not-including her re-arranged Director's Cut earlier this year). While I had some expectations, I carefully checked them in a cupboard by the door and listened with open ears and an open heart.

With Spotify as my source and the bright florescent lights reflecting off my new desk at work, I listened. The album flowed by uneventfully. It was there in my ears but nothing was standing out. Granted, Kate describes the album as songs "set against a backdrop of falling snow" so the energy level is just that, falling snow. The bustle of a new environment and the inability to fully concentrate are not ideal situations to digest a new Kate album, not in the slightest. Especially this one. But sadly, who has the time these days to properly digest an album? This one requires a dimly lit room, maybe a slow-burning fire or candles throwing shapes across the room, while the atmosphere surrounds and envelopes you - isn't that the way all Kate Bush records should be listened to? Oh, and some gently falling snow would help for this as well I suppose.

But back to the initial listen, it wasn't until another familiar voice entered my headphones that I sat up and took more notice. It was that voice, a voice that needs no liner note introduction, the familiar tibre, now combined with Kate's, that elevated the listen from background music to something entirely different. It's about two "old souls who kept meeting up, but every time they meet, they get torn apart again." When Elton came into the studio to sing he purposely hadn't heard the song, nor did he know what it was about thematically. Kate and Elton's voices, "I don't want to lose you," on the chorus just ricocheted around my body and I got chills. The back and forth, the sense of regret, the longing sense of 'reaching, but not touching' - exquisite. That's the perfect word for this song, exquisite.

"Snowed in at Wheeler Street"

Snowed in at Wheeler Street
Excuse me, I'm sorry to bother you but don't I know you?
There's just something about you. Haven't we met before?
We've been in love forever.
When we got to the top of the hill we saw Rome burning.
I just let you walk away. I've never forgiven myself.
I saw you on the steps in Paris, you were with someone else.
Couldn't you see that should've been me? I just walked on by.
Then we met in '42 but we were on different sides.
I hid you under my bed but they took you away.
I lost you in a London smog as you crossed the lane.
I never know where you're gonna be next but I know that you'll surprise me.
Come with me, I'll find some rope and I'll tie us together.
I've been waiting for you so long, I don't want to lose you again.
Don't walk into the crowd again. Don't walk away again.
I don't want to lose you.
I don't want to lose you.
I don't want to lose you again.
There's just something about you.
Have we been in love forever?
9.11 in New York, I took your photograph.
I still have your smiling face... In a heart-shaped frame.
Snowed in at Wheeler street, just two old flames keeping the fire going.
We look so good together.
Can't we just stay there forever? We were so happy.
I'd live that day over and over but the world won't stop turning.
When we got to the top of the hill we saw Rome burning.
I don't want to lose you, I don't want to lose you again.
Don't walk away again. Don't leave me lost again.
I don't want to lose you.
I don't want to lose you.
I don't want to lose you again.
I don't want to lose you.
I don't want to lose you.
I don't want to lose you again.
Oh no, not again!
Not again!

More Kate Bush:
Great interview with Kate about the album
*New* Misty
*New* Among Angels
*New* 50 Words for Snow
Wuthering Heights (live)