Picks and Pans Review: The Red Shoes

updated 01/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/24/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

Kate Bush

British-born Kate Bush, perhaps the queen of ethereal pop, has been spinning exotic rhythms and esoteric lyrics into space for 15 years. Which is great if you want a huge cult following. But what if you also want listeners closer to the mainstream? Simple. You make The Red Shoes.

This is the best and most conventional of all Bush's albums and even includes a couple of potential Top 40 singles: the happy-skippy dance number "Rubberband Girl" and the Prince-like "Why Should I Love You?" (which features The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, the Human Hieroglyphic himself, on keyboards). There are still plenty of unique twists and turns to Bush's music, however, and on the title cut, a mandolin, some whistles and a tidal wave of vocal overdubs come close to aural theater.

The one constant that will both appease the Kate cult and entice new fans is Bush's voice. She coos. She sighs. She seduces. Her soft and sensual vocals have always cast a sirenlike spell, and on this outing the magic feels too good to resist. (Columbia)

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