50 Words for Snow

[Fish People/Anti]

This is Bush’s first recording of all new music since the double-disc Aerial in 2005, although earlier in 2011 she released Director’s Cut, which included slightly reworked versions of some previously released songs. Not so much a holiday album as a soft, meditative and lush rumination on winter,
50 Words for Snow will remind listeners of a time when musical artists were more intent on creating unified works rather than single-serving downloads. Bush seems to be focusing less on her vocals and more on creating a stark, almost visual mood. Guests Elton John (“Snowed in at Wheeler Street”) and especially Stephen Fry, with his spoken-word reading on the title cut, are used here like actors in a film. This enchanting album is a timely reminder of a refreshingly original artist whose influence on others, from Björk to Sarah McLachlan and most recently Joanna Newsom, is incalculable. –Steve Matteo

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