Kate Bush

Aerial

Aerial is the reason Kate Bush's fans have clung to her through a 12-year recording break -- not because it's the best disc in her catalog, but because only Bush could have made an album as serene yet strange as this one, a spiritual cousin to the flip side of Hounds of Lovethat lures us back to the supernatural England and the world-music-accented ghost stories of her finest work. It's a double album that's full of double-take moments, like the erotic washing machine song, or the chorus in which Bush coos the first digits of pi. Some listeners may find it light or strife-free: The best songs on disc one are a pair of achingly quiet piano ballads, and disc two is a breezy, jazzy song cycle about birds and painters. But when Bush starts cackling at the birdcalls, she assures us that no matter how much she's mellowed, she's still brilliantly bonkers.

 
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