Stevie & Kate

Tuesday, 21 June 2011



















I don't post about music on this blog, which is strange considering how music is pretty much part of my daily life and writing process. I can't imagine a day without listening to a song. I suppose I don't write about it because the reasons I'm attached to certain music and songs often eludes words. But I really feel like writing about it today, so here goes.

When I first started to really appreciate music and forge my own independent taste, I fell in love with Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush. Everything about them appeals to me: their expressions, the tones of their voices, the way they move, their style, the implications and suggestions behind their songs. They seemed so cool to me as a teenager, and they still do now. I love looking at photos of them too: there are no polished faces and silky smooth hairstyles, but a rather endearing frizziness, amateur makeup and fantastically beautiful costumes and clothing. There's a sense of authenticity to them both, even when they're play-acting, dressing up and self-consciously performing on stage.

But what ultimately appeals to me about their music and their voices is something which I have tried very hard to articulate in words in the past, and the only word I can use to describe it now is 'residue'. Stay with me, I hope this makes sense. When I listen to them, I think of photographic residue, the kind that must have surrounded early photography. All the chemicals and smells that must have left their residue on the fingers of those early photographers when they created the first photographic images. Unlike clicking a button on a digital camera, it was a relatively messier process that literally left its mark on the body and the senses. In a similar way, Stevie and Kate have always left a mark on my body and my senses. I listen to them, and my mind pulls out images. Long after their songs are over, these images linger. That's what I mean by residue. I guess we all, to a certain degree, respond to certain music in such a way, which is why the first album or song you loved always remains in your memory like a well-loved photo.

What's your favourite album? Fleetwood Mac's 'Rumours' is at the top of my list, but I have several others. I'm always curious about other people's taste in music, as I am about their taste in books.

P.S. An essay of mine is published in this book collection. Many of the publications I've been working on over the past year or so are finally getting published, so I'm expecting a few more books with my name to add to my collection!

Image credits: all images are from here and here.


Felix Curds said...

So much to like here:) Kate Bush is queen and from what I hear, Stevie Nicks is pretty wonderful too. I love the way Kate is so free and genuine- it's something that so many people fail at today. One of my favourite albums is 'Red, Yellow & Blue' by Born Ruffians because it's the best form of catharsis.

Amelia said...

I used to rock to Stevie Nicks when I was growing up. Kate Bush's Pi is probably one of the best song I've heard.

I have the same feeling of 'residue' with Adele's voice. I think she's one of the up and coming musicians that really stay with me.

There's so much good music out there and so little time to listen to all of it.

aldrin said...

great description and taste. eleven thumbs up

lizzie said...

TELL me all about it. there's a girl right now on the NBC show The Voice whose voice reminds me hauntingly of Stevie's...and I love both of them as well, lady.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Yes, residue. These photographs of Stevie Nicks took me straight back to my childhood. My mother loved the Rumours album and played it over and over again. I know it so well. It's the soundtrack to a wonderful part of my childhood. I have my own favorites, the music I found on my own, later, but the music that became a part of my life through my parents during my childhood is the music I still hold closest to my heart.

etre-soi said...

Oh Hila, you embarked me on a journey through time and I remember being a young girl and listening to my sister's favorite singer: Kate Bush.
Still today "This woman's work" is for me one of the most beautiful songs ever !
This made me think of all these beautiful voices from the 80's and Cindy Lauper was really my favorite.
Thanks for this post, Hila :)

I love such different types of music but what I've been listening since my teenager years is a mix of the 80's pop music that my sister liked, with jazz music that I was completely smitten with (Chet Baker, Nat King Cole, Ella), soul music and all the r'n'b and 90's pop music.
My favorite album (from the 1st song to the last one) must be OLDER by George Michael. For me this is the most beautiful album of all times, he is one of my favorite singers but not my most favorite, don't know why (well maybe I know: the timing, the jazz influences, etc) but this OLDER album was PERFECT for me at a time in my life.
I also adore italian music, so you can see all of these mixed together makes weird but eclectic music choices. :)

Thea said...

one of my favourite songs is "watching you without me" by kate bush (although i've never heard any of her other music). and your words describe it so perfectly: "i listen to them, and my mind pulls out images. long after their songs are over, these images linger." oh, i can't really describe how beautiful and haunting and perfect this song is, and above all, inspiring. it definitely has a lingering presence in the air, like the ghost that it's about. such an exquisite song. currently i do not have a favourite album, but i've been listening to a lot of lykke li, lately. x

Caitlin Rose said...

I love how you've described this residue. Highway 61 Revisited is definitely my favourite album. I can still picture my dad dancing on chairs listening to it. Plus, I'm from Thunder Bay, a small town in Canada near where he grew up, and highway 61 runs right into us, so I always felt like it was partly mine.

I love music, but I'm just so so so bad at researching it, I should find some good music blogs.


Caitlin Rose

Lyndall said...

They are both so amazing and talented with such individuality. I love Kate Bush, especially 'Wuthering Heights' (interpretive dance film clip included!).

Sasha said...

You posts always evoke such thoughtfulness.

I find that the way you describe music as residue is brilliant. It holds true for me at least. Music is my greatest love and I find myself changing my favorite album frequently. Right now Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited has been on repeat (but Bob's always high on my list anyway).

Congrats on starting to see your work published-how exciting to see it finally coming to print!

rubi said...

wow, i love this post so much. i can't ever pick a favorite album or artist but stevie nicks is definitely up there.

congrats on your work being published! that is soooo exciting, i'm currently on the same boat (different industry) but seeing your name in a printed publication is makes all the hard work worth it.

P R I M O E Z A said...

i have to admit that i'm not that familiar with their music but your use of and explanation of 'residue' is fantastic so i 'get it'.

Tana said...

I love her 'coral room', sweet and magnificent, the one that mesmerises me.

jodeska said...

Running Up The Hill by Kate Bush is one of my favourite songs. I'm all about the lyrics with music!

hila said...

felix curds: I agree, there is something so genuine about kate bush, which is why I love her.

amelia: oh yes, I love adele, she is quite special.

aldrin: thanks! that's quite a compliment coming from you :)

lizzie: I always suspected you had great taste ;)

denise: yes me too - my parents had the record, I remember it playing in the background.

sofia: not weird at all! I think we all pretty much have eclectic taste. and 'this woman's work' is a masterpiece.

thea: oh you should definitely give her other songs a try, she's amazing.

caitlin rise: I'm bad at researching it too, and I have to admit, I don't really follow contemporary music as well as I should.

lyndall: I love her clip for 'wuthering heights' so campy and geeky, yet so perfect :)

sasha: thank you! I love highway 61 too, fantastic album.

rubi: thanks! yes, it is a strange thrill to see your name in print, it's like the culmination of sweat and tears :)

primoeza/elizabeth: oh good, I sometimes worry that no-one gets my ramblings but me.

tana: I agree, it's mesmerising.

jodeska: one of my faves too! and the video clip is so awesome as well.

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

Lovely pics! So inspiring!

Sarah Morgan said...

Lovely selection, Hila. Your words are so beautiful; I love how you describe the "residue" of something that stays with you.

And oh, how I long to be Stevie Nicks in that picture with the white horse!

If Jane said...

oh two very iconic women in the world of music...i adore both especially stevie amazing voice!!!

hila said...

vanessa: yep, they are!

sarah morgan: I'd also love to have Stevie Nicks' wardrobe :)

if jane: I love her husky voice too.

Molly said...

Eee! Musical residue, oh Hila, that's perfect. I know exactly what you mean. How lovely that Stevie and Kate provide that for you.

The album that has left the most memorable "residue" on my brain actually comes with an interesting story… I was traveling alone by air from Texas to Alabama to visit Austin, and I brought the book "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick which had recently been given to me. As I began the book, I also turned on my iPod and found that Owen Pallet's album "Heartland" matched the book's tone perfectly and unexpectedly… being wrapped up in my own private world of book and music made for a really magical journey. I think of it whenever I hear Owen's music!

(by the way, "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" is an extremely magical book in its own right, and one I highly recommend to you if it hasn't crossed your path! It's singular in that it relies on images as much as it does words…

(this was long, sorry!)

hila said...

molly: don't apologise, thanks for this! I'll have to check out that book :)

Anonymous said...

I too love Stevie Nicks and Kate much so that I made a mashup of the two of them together. How I'd love a real collaboration, but in the meantime, this will have to do:

-anonymous (Robb)