The Enduring, Incandescent Power of Kate Bush
One secret of the singer-songwriter’s artistry is that she has never feared the ludicrous—she tries things that other musicians would be too careful or cool to go near
Female pop geniuses who exercise their gifts in rampant, restless fashion over decades, writing, performing, and producing their own work, are as rare as black opals. Shape-shifting brilliance and an airy indifference to what’s expected of you are not the music industry’s favorite assets in any performer, but they are probably easier to accept in a man than in a woman. And such a musician, even today, is subject to the same pressures that have always hindered women’s artistic expression. Like the thwarted writers whom Virginia Woolf described in “A Room of One’s Own,” the female pop original is “strained and her vitality lowered by the need of opposing this, of disproving that”—by the refusal to please and accommodate that only a deep belief in one’s own gift can counteract. “What genius, what integrity it must have required in the face of all that criticism, in the midst of that purely patriarchal society,” Woolf writes, “to hold fast to the thing as they saw it without shrinking.” [ . . . ]
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Rebel yell: how the Irish dominated British rock music
From The Beatles to The Pogues, Oasis and The Smiths, musicians of Irish descent played a key role in UK scene, writes Johnny Rogan.
British pop music has been celebrated around the world for decades and rightly so. Rather less attention has been paid to an almost invisible strain of Irishness manifested in the work and characters of several of its leading proponents. A number of these icons, particularly those born of postwar Irish parentage, shared certain characteristics. They were often angry, awkward, polemic personalities whose music or lyrics challenged and subverted. Ironically, many were considered English to the core, but scratch deeper and a different picture emerges. Tracing their stories takes you spiralling through four decades from Merseybeat through psychedelia, punk, Britpop and beyond.
Lennon & McCartney
Back in the early ’60s, Liverpool was the centre of the pop universe. Many of the city’s beat groups boasted members of Irish descent, including the biggest of them all: The Beatles […]
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