Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh Post by Joe Bernstein
Her next album wasn't until 2005; I own it, but have played it much
less, and haven't heard her later albums, both of which came out in
2011, right *after* the discussions I cited in my last post. (One's
the source for the remake video of "Deeper Understanding", and in
that her voice sounds damaged.
It's a rather awful audio post-processing effect rather than her own
voice being damaged - it allows midi-keyboard-driven pitch modulation
of an existing recording, in this case leading to Kate's voice being
distorted well outside the bounds of good taste.
Well, there may be post-processing that made it worse, and damage may
not be the right word, but something's wrong.
People refer to her voice in this century as her "mature" voice,
which seems to me to be a nice way to call her in 1993, when she
turned 35 and when she released <The Red Shoes>, immature. But the
evidence that her voice has changed is pretty strong. She's done
concerts in this century; although she apparently exerts herself to
get rogue uploads of video from those concerts taken down, I've
watched a couple, and her voice in those isn't what it used to be.
It's hard to believe that the voice she used in <Aerial> is so
different from her past voices just as an aesthetic choice.
Problem is, none of the articles I've read about damage to the vocal
cords describes these changes as typical. She hasn't lost her high
notes. She hasn't become breathy or raspy. She doesn't seem to have
trouble sustaining notes. So that's why "damage" is problematic.
But so is "mature". Tenors famously keep performing into their 50s
and 60s, but maybe that's just tenors. So let's look at some people
with the same voice type Kate Bush is usually said to have, dramatic
sopranos. Maria Callas died at 54, and seems to have performed until
a few years earlier, but with, at the end, a worn out voice. Birgit
Nilsson died at 87, and seems to have continued performing until 64,
an age Bush has not yet reached. Other dramatic sopranos are said to
have flamed out, but whether that was because of vocal problems or
because of Callas isn't clear.
Anecdotally, I'm now five years older than Bush was in 2005, and
although I haven't sung much in years, I'm pretty sure my voice is
now more resonant than hers in that year - which was decidedly *not*
the case when each of us was, say, 35. [Tries.] Hmm, okay, maybe
not. Hmmm. (I'm not currently in the best place to sing, but what I
got makes me nervous about what'll happen when I'm in a better one.)
Loss of resonance, which I think is the single biggest change in
her voice, does seem to go with aging , but it comes at wildly
different times to different people. And I think it's probably some
of what some people mean by a "worn out" voice, which would imply it
can be caused by singing.
So in a nutshell. Her voice has changed - not as dramatically as
Marianne Faithfull's has, but to a lesser extent in the same
direction. I would guess that this change came early to her, and did
so because - hypothetically - being a perfectionist, she sang too
many trial runs of songs on albums like <The Sensual World> and <The
Red Shoes>, all alone there in her home studio. Which makes me, at
least, as someone who really likes those albums, complicit in the
change; which may be why everyone pussy-foots around it.
To put this in terms she might find acceptable, and edge this post a
little closer to on-topic. Seems to me her early albums were work of
the Maiden, growing increasingly deranged in her isolation. Starting
with <The Hounds of Love>, she started transitioning toward becoming
the Mother. <Aerial> is the album on which, both in real life and in
her lyrics, she actually *is* the Mother; but in it, she already
sounds like she's embraced the Crone.
[back to the "Deeper Understanding" video]
Post by Jaimie Vandenbergh
the video is a terrible waste of acting talent too.
Ah, I didn't think the acting too bad. But then I'm rarely a good
judge of acting.
PS No YouTube cites to back this post up because YouTube just pissed
me off. I was re-listening to <Aerial>, trying to assess it fairly
now that I know why I've rarely listened to it, but because I didn't
keep my phone in my hand the whole time doing nothing *but* listening
to <Aerial>, YouTube decided I wasn't being subservient enough and
stopped playing it. Faugh.
 The next singer on my list is Flory Jagoda, a Sephardic singer
whose first album came out, sez me anyhow, the year she turned 58.
I listened to a couple of songs on that album - and indeed, not much
Joe Bernstein <***@gmail.com>