50 Words For Snow
50 Words For Snow is unique in the Kate Bush canon – like the side long suite on The Hounds of Love and the disc long suite on Aerial stretched out to a lengthy 66 minute album. It’s very relaxed and uniform in feel, with all of the songs built around the theme of snow. Bush’s voice is huskier, while her key collaborator is veteran drummer Steve Gadd who gives these songs a jazzier feel than usual. I’ve heard the analogy of this album as the background for an art installation about snow and it’s apt.
50 Words For Snow is a difficult album to penetrate with its slow tempos and its lack of diversity, and it’s the songs with guest cameos that stand out. Elton John duets with Bush on ‘Snowed In At Wheeler Street’, and their emotional vocals fuel what is perhaps the disc’s highlight. Stephen Fry guests on the title track, inspired by the urban legend that Inuit have fifty words for snow, as he recites often tenuous synonyms for the white,cold, powdery stuff.
It’s difficult to select 50 Words For Snow as a career highlight given how strong the rest of Bush’s catalogue is, but it’s still a very satisfying record, with Bush still restless and exploring new ground into her fifties.