The Kick inside always makes it into my top twenty albums of all times list, yet I don’t listen to it very often. I put it on today and was hit by a wave of nostalgia. This is the album of my twenties, and as I heard her sing “Heathcliff, it’s me, I’m Kathy, I’ve come home now, so cold let me in a your window..” it strikes me that the dying of youth is worse than the death itself. We are all getting old, even the young ones. Even the nubile Kate with her ballet as pop art moves grew older. I cannot look, I can’t watch. Kate has to remain forever 21. Always young. Always a bubbling cauldron of feminine sexuality.
So here I am, burying myself in James and the Cold Gun, I hear that Patti Smith-ish yelp, that jump from low to high tone, and all of a sudden this album seems fresh again. This is a girlishly joyous heartbreak of an album. You can hear the Gilmour involvement in the dreamy arrangements and driving guitars, that is for sure, but this album is all Kate, all Kate and her witchy chiffon energetic self, high pitched, soaring and heavenly. The only ‘false notes” are the tracks Them Heavy People and Room for the Life, the former knowingly theatrical and not in a good way, the latter goes on too long and never really launches itself in the first place. Thank goodness, after almost losing me, she launches into the triumphant Kick Inside, which tends towards epic and interwoven, but this time the arrow hits the mark in her ‘killer storm.’ It is that “7” chord, that almost blusey sound which saves this track from being too big for it’s ballet shoes.
This album has the first song ever to reach number one in the charts that was both written and performed by a woman – Wuthering Heights, and its impressionistic Monet painting of a music video, which now looks charmingly homemade, beautifully amateur, with Kate in her ballet clothes and expository dance moves. James and the Cold Gun works just as well, and the girlish “Man with the Child in His Eyes.” This is the song of a woman just past the cusp of girlhood, shedding her toys and discovering herself in new ways of seeing the world around her. Kate is a girl genius, a young thing who doesn’t know just how precious she is, has yet to grow into her talents nor that voice of hers. No wonder Dave Gilmour was entranced.