Randy McDonald (rfmcdpei) wrote,
Randy McDonald

  • Music:

[MUSIC] Kate Bush, "Jig of Life"

When I first heard track #10 off of Kate Bush's brilliant 1985 album Hounds of Love, I jumped off of my bed and turned up the volume. Hounds of Love is a powerful album, but "Jig of Life" was unexpectedly intense, a catchy fusion of the sort of supple Irish fiddle music that I could imagine hearing on Prince Edward Island with Bush's own literate personal pop. "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" is the most famous and perhaps most likeable song off of Hounds of Love, but "Jig of Life" quickly became my favourite. The only problem with it was that I didn't know where she was coming from.

Hello old Lady
I know your face well
I know it well
She says - ooh-na-na-na-na
I'll be sitting in your mirror
Now is the place where the crossroads meet
Will you look into the future.
Never, never say goodbye
To my part of your life
No, no, no,
Oh, oh, oh
Let me live
She said c'mon let me live
She said c'mon let me live girl

This moment in time
It doesn't belong to you
It belongs to me
And to your little boy and to your little girl
And the one hand clapping
Where on your palm is my little line
When you're written in mine
As an old memory
Never never never say goodbye
To my part of your life
No, no, no, no,
Never, never, never, never
Let me go.
She said c'mon let me live
She said c'mon let me live girl

There was clearly some urgency there, and some risk of death, and what seemed to be some Star Trek-style temporal anomaly bringing a woman at risk of death into contact with her older self. What exactly was going on, though, was beyond me. I should have visited Gaffa.org, I admit, but I didn't.

"Jig of Life" only made sense at the end of last April, when I met up with talktooloose who told me that Kate Bush was thinking of the LP when she made her album. Side A was Hounds of Love, the more commercial side, containing the international hit "Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)" and following by the commercial and entertaining tracks "Hounds Of Love," "The Big Sky," "Mother Stands For Comfort," and the Wilhelm Reich-inspired "Cloudbusting." Side B was The Ninth Wave, a cycle of seven songs ("And Dream Of Sheep," "Under Ice," "Waking The Witch," "Watching You Without Me," "Jig Of Life," "Hello Earth," and "The Morning Fog") describing the experiences of a woman drowning at sea.

"Jig of Life" is the hinge of The Ninth Wave. Does Bush's subject choose to struggle and stay alive? Or, does she choose to surrender to the cool waters and perish, comfortably and quietly. I've always wanted to believe that she lived, that "The Morning Fog" describes her grateful half-dazed reaction to her rescuers, that she returned renewed to the shores. talktooloose thinks otherwise. It distresses me, and impresses me, that I'm so concerned about the fate of a character I didn't know existed for years after I first met her. If nothing else, there's the music.
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