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50 Words For Snow by Kate Bush
Album: 50 Words For SnowReleased: 2011
Recorded in the same sessions as Bush's reworking of old material, Director's Cut, 50 Words For Snow comprises seven songs "set against a background of falling snow." "I'd had this idea for some while to do a wintry album," Bush explained to The Independent, "and pretty soon after I started writing for it, I homed in to the idea of snow. It just seemed such a fascinating subject that it was very easy to think of so many ways of writing about it. It's such extraordinary stuff, isn't it? Even a single snowflake, when you look at it under a microscope, is such an incredibly beautiful thing. And apparently they are all different." The album was released through the singer's personal imprint, Fish People.
Speaking to American radio station KCRW, Bush said that the idea for this song came from thinking about the myth that the Inuit Eskimos have 50 words for snow. She then decided to make up increasingly fantastical words herself, and recruited actor and writer Stephen Fry to recite the 50 synonyms. They include such words/phrases as "spangladasha," "mountain-sob, "blown from Polar fur," and "shimmer-glisten." Bush told The Independent, she didn't need to coach Fry with his delivery. "Really, it was just a case of focusing on the tone of it, him finding what his character was, because he is an absolutely brilliant actor. And in a way, the softer he said them, the more beautiful they became," she said.
Whilst the Inuit did have about as many words for snow as the English (and now a lot less after Bush's verbal creations for the frozen precipitation), the Sami in Finland have in excess of 50.
This is not Bush's first wintry recording. Back in December 1980, the then 19-year-old singer recorded a Christmas single "December Will Be Magic Again," which stalled at #29 on the UK singles chart in the wake of John Lennon's death.