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Director's Cut

Kate Bush

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Album Review

During her early career, Kate Bush released albums regularly despite her reputation as a perfectionist in the studio. Her first five were released within seven years. After The Hounds of Love in 1985, however, the breaks between got longer: The Sensual World appeared in 1989 and The Red Shoes in 1993. Then, nothing before Aerial, a double album issued in 2005. It's taken six more years to get The Director's Cut, an album whose material isn't new, though its presentation is. Four of this set's 11 tracks first appeared on The Sensual World, while the other seven come from The Red Shoes. Bush's reasons for re-recording these songs is a mystery. She does have her own world-class recording studio, and given the sounds here, she's kept up with technology. Some of these songs are merely tweaked, and pleasantly so, while others are radically altered. The two most glaring examples are "Flower of the Mountain" (previously known as "The Sensual World") and "This Woman's Work." The former intended to use Molly Bloom's soliloquy from James Joyce's novel Ulysses as its lyric; Bush was refused permission by his estate. That decision was eventually reversed; hence she re-recorded the originally intended lyrics. And while the arrangement is similar, there are added layers of synth and percussion. Her voice is absent the wails and hiccupy gasps of her youthful incarnation. These have been replaced by somewhat huskier, even more luxuriant and elegant tones. On the latter song, the arrangement of a full band and Michael Nyman's strings are replaced by a sparse, reverbed electric piano which pans between speakers. This skeletal arrangement frames Bush's more prominent vocal which has grown into these lyrics and inhabits them in full: their regrets, disappointments, and heartbreaks with real acceptance. She lets that voice rip on "Lilly," supported by a tougher, punchier bassline, skittering guitar efx, and a hypnotic drum loop. Bush's son Bertie makes an appearance as the voice of the computer (with Auto-Tune) on "Deeper Understanding." On "RubberBand Girl," Bush pays homage to the Rolling Stones' opening riff from "Street Fighting Man" in all its garagey glory (which one suspects was always there and has now been uncovered). The experience of The Director's Cut, encountering all this familiar material in its new dressing, is more than occasionally unsettling, but simultaneously, it is deeply engaging and satisfying.

Customer Reviews

What is this?

I've always thought her to be the most creative, artistic singer...and these songs didn't need to be re-interpreted. And they ESPECIALLY didn't need to be -re-interpreted TERRIBLY. What is this mess? Where are her vocals on "Rubberband Man?" This is just a terrible mess. Don't waste your money on this...buy the glorious original versions.

Great new stuff

Wonderful new vocals on some old favorites! Kate never plays live, and her songs don't evolve in concert the way that they would otherwise. This record is the next best thing. New life is breathed into these tracks. "Never Be Mine", "This Woman's Work" and "Lily" are fantastic. Hearing the original intent of the title track from "The Sensual World", now "Flower of the Mountain", is one of those rare pop moments. Fantastic stuff. Thank you, Kate!

It might be great given time.

In some respects one always wonders why an artist revisits their earlier work,
normally with disastrous results and most "director's cut" of movies make you
appreciate editors more than ever. This is slightly different.
This album has enough that is the same, enough that is different , so
that it is not a watered down "best of" album. It is more like the difference
between a studio album and a live album. She did a good job resetting
the tracks for her voice as it is now, and the tracks have more of an
intimate, laid back quality. Like most work by a serious artist, this work
can not be digested or appraised in one sitting. It has all the appeal of
any Kate Bush release, and personally I like the more traditional
instrumentation, the tracks seem to have a more organic production
that helps frame the lyric and melodies nicely. It's good now, it could
be great later.

Biography

Born: July 30, 1958 in Bexleyheath, Kent, England

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most successful and popular solo female performers to come out of England during the last several decades of the 20th century, Kate Bush was also one of the most unusual, with her keening vocals and unusually literate and complex body of songs. As a girl, Catherine Bush studied piano and violin while attending the St. Joseph's Convent Grammar School in Abbey Wood in South London. She also amused herself playing an organ in the barn behind her parents' house. By the time she was a teenager,...
Full Bio