Saturday, April 24, 2010

For a Song: Pull Out the Pin

Kate Bush: Pull Out the Pin


What? Another For a Song post? Where’s the theme post this week? All good questions. After a year and a half of living elsewhere, this week my family and I are finally moving back into our own home. Why is a very long story, but suffice it to say that this is a great relief. However, the move is also a lot of work and very stressful. So I simply don’t have the time and energy to do a full theme post right now, as things related to the move come to a head. Still, I wanted my readers to have something to carry you into the weekend. And I wanted to continue my theme of music that defies categorization. The theme post is still to follow.

Actually, much as I love the music of Jane Siberry, I had originally planned to post Kate Bush last time, from her amazing album The Dreaming. But I only got that album unpacked today. Here are songs which show a knowledge of English dance hall songs, and also of the Australian Aboriginal dreamtime. Other songs, like Pull Out the Pin, do not have obvious precedents from anywhere. And this is quite a change from the chanteuse who had a British hit not long before with Wuthering Heights. Wuthering was a lush ballad, with soaring strings and a highly emotional vocal. But then Kate Bush met Peter Gabriel, and her musical imagination was unleashed. Pull Out the Pin could have been a lush piano ballad, with a Wuthering Heights type of arrangement and vocal. The piano part is there, but the rest is something else. The odd percussion creates a dramatic tension, while Bush’s vocal is intense but not overwrought. Other songs on The Dreaming express emotional anguish, and the power of Bush’s voice comes to the for in such numbers. But where those songs burn and flame out, Pull Out the Pin smolders with an emotionalism that does not burn out by song’s end.

The lyric here seems to describe a relationship in terms of predator and prey, and it’s not clear which is which. There are also vague suggestions that this may be a werewolf tale. Or it may all be just a metaphor. Either way, it’s powerful stuff.

One last thing to say about this song: there are performances by two notable guest musicians on this track. Bassist Danny Thompson first become known to me as a member of Pentangle. And the male vocals on the chorus are by David Gilmour, best known for his work with Pink Floyd.


Anonymous said...

Kate says it's sung by the Vietnamese woman in "Full Metal Jacket"

Ralph said...

Kate Bush is an amazing artist. I regret that I discovered her at a time she was less active. And I'm floored she never made a bigger mark this side of the pond.