250. Kate Bush – ‘Army Dreamers’ (1980)

“Our little army boy
Is coming home from B.F.P.O
I’ve a bunch of purple flowers
To decorate a mammy’s hero
Mourning in the aerodrome
The weather warmer, he is colder
Four men in uniform
To carry home my little soldier”

Taken from the album Never For Ever

UK #16

‘Army Dreamers’ isn’t really I song I listen to, or think about, a lot, but when it comes on I am transported back to when I listened to little but Kate Bush, and got to know every song inside out. The reason I don’t have it on high rotation is because it tears me up inside, really, all the more because Kate chose to go for a delicate, extremely minimalist production, especially for a song that would land in the top twenty.

The song is instrumentally very simple, especially when compated to the songs on later albums The Dreaming and Hounds Of Love. Kate’s call-and-response with the backing vocalists in the bridge: “What could he do, should have been a father?” “But he never even made it to his twenties”, is powerful enough, but the sorrow in Kate’s voice when the chorus begins – “what a waste, army dreamers”.

The video looks quite cheap, as a lot of early Kate Bush videos do, but it’s really effective and starts off a dreamlike aura she would retain for future videos. The genius however, is really the track, a protest song that makes no protests: it just looks at the state of things and shakes it’s head, like a disappointed mother. There is anger in Kate’s voice here, just little hints of it, but the overwhelming atmosphere in ‘Army Dreamers’ is one of pure sadness.

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