Week 43: “Letting the Cables Sleep” by Bush
Looking through Bush’s catalogue, the more likely candidate for this list for most people might be “Glycerine”, which was a pop chart hit in 1996, and has been appearing in sappy wedding montages ever since. But for my money, “Letting the Cables Sleep” is the better song in just about every way.
What makes this a beautiful song:
1. Making the best of what you have. Let’s face it; Gavin Rossdale doesn’t have the world’s most astounding vocal range. If you can sing all the notes in “happy birthday”, you should be able to handle any Bush song at karaoke. But somehow he still manages to come up with some pretty little vocal melodies, and the fact that he has to push it a bit to reach the high note on “…we need to talk about it” just makes it sound all the more compelling.
2. The almost-silence at 2 minutes. Thematically, this song (the whole album, really) revolves around the friction between science and faith, silence and noise, anger and happiness. Okay, I might be reading into it a bit too much. But this brief quiet spot in the song, just before all the instruments come back, is a neat moment anyway.
3. A string section that actually makes a rock song better. As they get older, a lot of rock stars think that hiring an orchestra is a sign of songwriting maturity (see Led Zeppelin, Silverchair, Guns N Roses). But whoever did the string arrangement for this song did it tastefully, and it works.
Recommended listening activity:
Leaving the city for a while.