If I had to use one word to describe Kate Bush it would be mystical. She’s mysterious, she rarely performs live anymore. And, her image is that of a fairy. Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush collaborated multiple times, Kate Bush appears as a guest vocalist on quite a few of Peter Gabriel’s songs and I would say her voice adds the mysticism that both “Games Without Frontiers (1980)” and “Don’t Give Up (1986)” needed.
The first time I heard “Games Without Frontiers” I was absolutely struck by the lyrics and backing vocals. The song is telling stories about what I would imagine to be children playing games. It seems so innocent then is contradicted by the chorus, which is “If looks can kill they probably will/In games without frontiers-war without tears.” That is a very striking. Paired with Kate Bush’s haunting voice singing “Jeux sans frontieres” over and over again the song is unsettling in the best way possible. The interesting thing is that this song was inspired by the British television show “Jeux Sans Frontieres” which showed different European countries competing in bizarre games. Was this song Peter Gabriel’s commentary on it or am I making something out of nothing??
“Don’t Give Up” couldn’t be what it is without Kate Bush. I’m not gonna lie, this song makes me inspired to finish my grad school application, get up in the morning earlier to shower before work, never leave a beer unfinished, live another day. I’m not sure I would feel that motivated if only Peter Gabriel was singing the song. He’s great and all but Kate Bush is definitely the star of this one. And with her magical fairy powers, you feel like you shouldn’t give up and try to accomplish your toughest goals. Also, could I get a 6 minute 30 second hug from Kate Bush every time I listen to this song? That would really be inspiring.