Kate Bush is an incredible musician and "Rocket Man" is an incredible song. So what went wrong?
Kate Bush is a very, very talented musician. "Rocket Man" by Elton John is a very, very good song. So where did Kate Bush's cover go wrong?
It could've slept peacefully in the 1990s, accumulating cobwebs and fading from public consciousness. But today, Bush decided to release the video of her cover officially for the first time—alongside the announcement that an album of her B-sides and rarities, called The Other Side, is coming out on March 8th.
Bush's "Rocket Man" starts out promisingly, with Kate wailing in her singular soprano over dreamy synths, albeit sounding a bit breathier than usual. But disaster strikes about a minute into the video, when the full band leaps in with a disorienting reggae rhythm and Kate steps into the spotlight with a ukulele, hips swaying side to side robotically. The first chorus ends with a flourish on a sitar, a sound effect that's unexpected, to say the least, especially in light of the Uilleann pipes, concertinas, and synths jingling away in the background.
Kate Bush - Rocket Man - Official Music Video www.youtube.com
It's too many genres mixed together, and it fails to capture any of what makes Kate Bush and Elton John so virtuosic. This cover skips all that and instead features a Celtic-sounding fiddle solo three-quarters of the way through, which collides disorientingly with the reggae beat.
The mash-up of styles is an issue, but another problem is that the whole band seems to be having way too much awkward middle-aged fun. Maybe the trouble is that "Rocket Man" is such an emotional song, but Bush seems to be trying to turn it into a stoner anthem—which Young Thug actually did more successfully, with his appropriately spacious "High." That cover is initially disorienting, but it possesses the melancholy expansiveness that makes the original "Rocket Man" so extravagant and blissful to listen to.
Young Thug - High (ft. Elton John) [Official Audio] www.youtube.com
Bush's cover feels like convoluted abstract art rather than music. If she's really using reggae and hip-shaking to turn "Rocket Man" into a celebration of marijuana, she's doing it in a way that's almost as cringe-worthy as when Hillary Clinton said that she was "just chillin'."
Hillary Clinton Snapchat Video Chillin in Cedar Rapids | Chillary Clinton www.youtube.com
There are many ways to read "Rocket Man." It's rife with metaphors and cosmic allusions. It could be about getting stoned, sure, but it's almost certainly also about loneliness, life on the road, and the isolation of fame. Bush's cover just ignored all this, it seems. Her first hit was about Wuthering Heights; she can understand words, and she chose to read "Rocket Man" this way.
What a lost opportunity. Imagine "Rocket Man," but with the intensity, elegance, and clarity of vision that defines every track on Hounds of Love, or almost every other track she has released. Certainly, the odd Bush stan will love this cover, but most music fans will question its existence—instead of questioning their existence, which is what anyone who listens to "Rocket Man" should do.
Elton John - Rocket Man (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com
There are a few shining exceptions. The image of Bush conducting a symphony of planets and fireworks is aesthetically gorgeous, and the few moments where she does unleash a flood of reverb and harmonies (at the very ends of the choruses) hint at what could have been, and why it became a No. 12 hit in 1991. But for the most part, listeners will be stuck feeling deeply uncomfortable.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York. Follow her on Twitter at @edenarielmusic.
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The country band, FKA Lady Antebellum, are suing a Black blues singer over the rights to their new name.
Last month, the country band formerly known Lady Antebellum showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement by changing their name to Lady A—a name that had already been used by Black blues singer, Anita White.
Now, Lady A (the band) are digging themselves an even deeper grave by suing Lady A (the singer). But, hey! At least their original band name isn't racist anymore.
"Today we are sad to share that our sincere hope to join together with Anita White in unity and common purpose has ended," Lady A (the band) said in a statement to CBS News. "She and her team have demanded a $10 million payment, so reluctantly we have come to the conclusion that we need to ask a court to affirm our right to continue to use the name Lady A, a trademark we have held for many years."
According to the lawsuit, Lady A (the band) had been using that nickname in tandem with their original name, Lady Antebellum, since as early as 2006, and it became an official trademark for the band in 2011. The lawsuit also reads that "prior to 2020, White did not challenge, in any way, Plaintiffs' open, obvious, and widespread nationwide and international use of the Lady A mark as a source indicator."
The suit says Lady A (the singer) has identified as that name since 2010, although she told Rolling Stone she's been using the stage name for 20 years, adding: "It's an opportunity for them to pretend they're not racist or pretend this means something to them. If it did, they would've done some research. And I'm not happy about that. You found me on Spotify easily—why couldn't they?"
Although Lady A (the band) and Lady A (the singer) have seemingly been in a constructive discussion over their shared name, the singer's ultimate opinion is that this is an issue of "white privilege."
No Weapon formed against me shall prosper #LadyABluesSoulFunkGospelArtist #TheRealLadyA https://t.co/KBYGnlw6Lw— Lady A (@Lady A)1594250961.0
Under a trademark coexistence agreement, it is possible for two artists to share a trademark so long as the artists in question don't interfere with each others' enterprises; for example, two singer-songwriters can both be known as Alex G because they access different markets. The Lady A debacle could possibly fall under this agreement, if both the band and the singer comply.
But, as Lady A (the singer) pointed out, Lady A (the band)'s decision to sue their namesake is indicative of their white privilege. From the start, the band's choice to change their name was met with a debate over whether or not it was actually constructive in achieving racial justice.
The world "antebellum" literally means "before the war," but it has since come to be most often associated with the Civil War; for example, the Antebellum South describes the period from the late 18th century to the end of the Civil War, when the southern United States depended on and profited off of slavery.
Due to the racist undertones of the word "antebellum" and the recent spark in Black Lives Matter activism, Lady A (the band) shortened their name—although we all still know what the word stands for. Though the band claimed the word "antebellum" was referencing the style of architecture of the home where they took their first band photos, to use the word at all was a gross move. To then adopt a Black artists' name as your own without doing your research and sue that artist is incredibly backwards logic.
Though it's understandable why Lady A (the band) would feel such a strong attachment to the name, perhaps they'd be better off changing their name entirely. Considering the fact that their only other statement regarding the Black Lives Matter movement was a photo of a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote (and no mention of Black Lives Matter at all), it seems clear that Lady A (the band) aren't set on achieving racial justice or effecting any real change—this legal battle is just an attempt at self-preservation.
If you're mad because "Batwoman was never black," there's something you need to know...
TV's newest incarnation of Batwoman, Ryan Wilder, is Black.
The CW's Batwoman has always had a progressive streak. In the first season, Orange Is the New Black alum Ruby Rose plays Kate Kane, Bruce Wayne's cousin who dons the Batwoman cowl to protect Gotham City. Just like every other superhero show, Kate's romantic life factors into the plot. Unlike the rest, however, Kate is an out lesbian, making her the first leading lesbian superhero in television history.
But after the first season, Ruby Rose announced that she was leaving Batwoman for unspecified reasons, allegedly related to burnout from the ridiculously long work hours required from a superhero series lead. This meant that in order for Batwoman to continue, the CW would need a new star.
Enter Javicia Leslie, former co-star of CBS comedy-drama God Unfriended Me. Prior to Leslie's casting, fans of the show wondered how Batwoman might handle the transition of actresses. Would Kate Kane just look completely different in season 2 with no canonical explanation?
Nope. As it turns out, Javicia Leslie's Batwoman will be an entirely new character: Ryan Wilder.