Yesterday, when Spouse was occupied, the dog was asleep, and the cat and a half (Big Kitty plus Grey, the stray who has adopted a spot in our yard right next to the food bowl) were outside, the latter trying desperately to be friends with the former, both of them sitting in the sun, facing into the wind, like very own little flock of seagulls, I decided to listen to some music. And not just any music, but exactly the right sort of music for this day and age of a world fairly barricaded inside its houses and apartments, hospitals and morgues overwhelmed with patients, and not so much as a single sheet of toilet paper to be found on grocery store shelves. Yes, that means I put on Kate Bush, in particular, the Kate Bush that is The Ninth Wave, which is the second half of her brilliant Hounds of Love album.
There are some great songs on there. Like this one
And this one
Down through the years, I have slowly learned that The Ninth Wave, whose name stems from the idea that every ninth wave in the ocean is a crazy big one, is a series of songs about someone literally lost at sea, all alone and hoping not to die, who is visited by fear and nightmares, hope, love, and, finally, rescue helicopters. But it has never been clear to me whether or not this person lives or dies at the end. The final song, which wraps things up, seems to me like it could go either way, yet it also ends so abruptly that, listening to it for decades in my kitchen or on my personal stereo (I was always too cheap/broke to buy a real Walkman) on a tape I’d made from the record I’d bought, I’d always assumed that, so close to the end of the cassette, the bulk of the song had been cut off, that that was the life, popped like a soap bubble into the sweet morning light.
But, thanks to the internet, now I know the truth, from the mouth of the auteur herself.
But the song from a million years ago that I keep coming back to is one I’d been shockingly unaware of until its performer died a few days ago from Covid-19. In fact, I’d been brutally ignorant of her existence until I read the tributes that poured in, at least to certain corners of the internet. How had I missed Cristina? Mind… blown, and… this song came out in 1980?! No wonder it died a death and she gave up her pop-star career. We simply wouldn’t have been ready for it or her back then.
It’s even more mind-blowing when you compare it to the original