First Impressions: 'Understanding' Kate Bush's New Direction

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Kate Bush placed "A Deeper Understanding" on her fifth album, 1989's A Sensual World, she probably didn't know how much she predicted the future some twenty years later.

Based on an idea of a woman withdrawing from society and turning to her computer 'like a friend', the rooted truth of the song ties in much more closely to today's Internet attachment and social networking craze. The observance that computers have become not just tools, but part of our human conscious. You may scoff at the psychobabble direction I'm going in, but think about your hard drive and how much of your "life" is stored on it, and think about the number of friends you posses on social networks without ever meeting them face to face, the time you spend daily/nightly on the computer...according to Bush, we could all face the fate of the song's protagonist and go off the deep end with our attachment to a basic machine. 

*cue Twilight Zone music*

I was open for "Deeper Understanding" receiving a 2011 makeover for Bush's upcoming Director's Cut album, which will explore reimaginings  of songs from Bush's respective albums, The Sensual World and The Red Shoes. I was even open to two more minutes of music being tacked onto it, because that's nothing short of a plus. Now, I'm not so open and find this rekindle, a bit tampering.

Coco Chanel has a fashion tip about when you overcrowd on your outfit: "Take one thing off before you leave the house". That's the case with "Deeper Understanding". There is now too much on the song, and something needs to be taken off. Maybe I'm being bias as it is one of my top ten tracks from Bush, but the most off-putting part of  "Deeper Understanding" is the stark vocoder vocalization during the chorus. It's pretty jarring, considering the lush, and eerie coos of the original. I understand the need to making the song sound more mechanical and edgy than what it was before, but it just takes away some of tenderness of the original, and just left a bad taste in my mouth. Thankfully, the extra two minutes that are added to the track bring the song to it's rightful and isolated place, polished off with some sputtering scatting and a quirky harmonica.

This version is a grower for sure. Peep the original after the cut, to compare and contrast.

Kate Bush -Deeper Understanding (Director's Cut version)


  1. I like the new version

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I certainly agree with your 'psychobabble' --it's an idea I share about how much this song predicted a future. As for the Director's Cut Version - wow --I'm as excited as the next Kate Bush fan(atic) about material from her of any kind really but this will have to grow on me because I've so loved the original - it's sparseness made it moody and that was perfect to talk about this woman's growing isolation without doing the obvious 'computer voice' that this one caters to. I agree---it would have to grow on me though I don't see it outgrowing my love for the original --but when all is said and done I'm buying Director's Cut because it's Kate and I'll be interested in seeing what she does with other tracks (ie. Will she give another version of 'This Woman's Work'? Of "A Sensual World'? ) We'll see.


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