Sunday, February 19, 2012

"Eider Falls at Lake Tahoe" by Kate Bush

This new shadow puppet video from Kate Bush is a section from her much longer track "Lake Tahoe," off of her recent "50 Words For Snow" release.

I wrote a review of the entire release here, and in it I said that “Lake Tahoe” is a tale of a legendary ghost in the frigid waters of this Sierran feature. We discover that the ghost is a woman in Victorian dress who rises up from the waters to call her dog, Snowflake. With this, we understand this is how she died: out in the snow, looking for her dog… but then accidentally plunging into the half frozen water of the lake. Kate tells us that the dog is old and frail now, but drifts off to sleep to dream of running on a long beach. This is clearly the dog’s death as we are now present for the reunion of woman and dog. This section of the song, and what the video is based on, is absolutely heartbreakingly, agonizingly beautiful to me.

Like every song on "50 Words," this song speaks of enduring unconditional love (and especially in this case, the miraculous unconditional love between pets and humans), of pining, of trying to connect, of saving someone in peril. The woman is trying to save her dog but ends up being the one in peril. The music, which features male sopranos in tight, operatic harmony along with Kate’s now-slightly lower voice, shifts and swells within this piece: ghost story, love story--and the woman does end up saving her dog. I weep nearly every time I hear this song, particularly the part where she shows her dog around the new house.

"Her old dog is sleeping
His legs are frail now
But when he dreams,
He runs...
Along long beaches and sticky fields
Through the Spooky Wood looking for her
The beds are made. The table is laid
The door is open - someone is calling: It's a woman
'Here boy, here boy! You've come home!
I've got an old bone and a biscuit and so much love
Miss me? Did you miss me?
Here's the kitchen - There's your basket
Here's the hall - That's where you wait for me
Here's the bedroom - You're not allowed in there
Here's my lap - That's where you rest your head
Here boy, oh you're a good boy
You've come home
You've come home.'"

Kate Bush is magic. Kate Bush taught me how to fly.

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