Bush: Black and White Rainbows – Review

Not a return to what they have done before, but something to look forward to in the future.

I have always been a fan of Bush. I would listen to them very heavily during my “Nineties Only” phase in high school where I would listen to only what the title suggests. With albums like 1994’s Sixteen Stone, a grunge classic, and 1996’s Razorblade Suitcase, which is honestly one of the best titles for any album period, Bush cemented themselves in the grunge scene mainly due to their hard-hitting sound, almost similar to that of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, but coupled with the lyricism of the band’s frontman Gavin Rossdale.

I did not even know that Bush was even releasing a new album this year, let alone any time soon, until last week with the release of the album’s third single “The Beat of Your Heart.” Upon listening to this song, I was instantly hooked. So, I listened to the first two singles, “Mad Love” and “Lost in You,” one of which I will explain further later in the review.

So, if you’re expecting Bush to create the same type of music that they made back in the mid-90s with albums like Sixteen Stone and Razorblade Suitcase, then you might as well skip over this album and go back to those albums because this album is nothing like those. And I certainly do not mean that in a negative connotation at all. Like any normal band, in my honest opinion anyway, Bush (and especially Gavin Rossdale) has grown and matured as the years have gone on. With the release of 2011’s The Sea of Memories and 2014’s Man on the Run, there is a significant departure from that edgy and hard-hitting grunge music that made Bush popular back in the mid-90s. Here we see a more finely-tuned band with a bit of an Adult Alternative side to them.

I honestly really liked the title. I think that it gives a hint into how Rossdale is feeling at this point in his life. What is supposed to be a happy thing and bring joy to many people (the rainbow) has been bogged down by many influences, some positive and some negative, darkening the rainbow to black and white. After coming off the divorce of his wife Gwen Stefani, songs like “Mad Love” might showcase his positive feelings that he still has for her. This song is definitely one of the many highlights from the album.

The other two singles, “Lost in You” and “The Beat of Your Heart,” are also very good tracks. Rossdale was very smart in picking the three singles that he did in order to promote the album. The album’s closing track “People at War” is a socially conscious track that speaks about Syrian refugees and other problems related to that. The eighth track “Nurse” is another one of my favorites. It is a very cleverly written track. Honestly, all of the tracks on this album are very well-written and executed, except for maybe “Water,” but that song is still pretty good. Bush has done something new with this album. Not new in terms of innovation in music itself, but new in terms of new for them. I have honestly not heard Bush doing anything like this, though it might have been hinted at in the two previous albums.

This is a really enjoyable album. There is absolutely no reason to say that it’s bad or awful compared to Sixteen Stone and Razorblade Suitcase because you would be comparing completely different albums. So what if they don’t sound like they did over twenty years ago? I think that would honestly be a bad idea on Bush’s part, and even some other bands as well. You can still tell that those sounds and influences from their earlier albums are there, though, like in “Dystopia” and “The Edge of Love. But I think that’s perfectly fine. Just not too much, or they might try to recreate something that probably shouldn’t even be recreated.

Overall, Black and White Rainbows is definitely a must-listen for any Bush fan. I give this album an 83 / B-, for enjoyable instrumentation that has some electronic influences, lyrics that are still very unique and interesting, and an overall sound that cannot be compared to anyone else.

Favorite songs include: all of them
Least favorite songs include: maybe “Water,” but I still fairly enjoy that one

Release Date: March 10, 2017
Label: Zuma Rock
Genres: Adult Alternative / Alternative Rock / Indie Rock / Pop Rock / Post-Grunge

Thanks for existing,

Austin

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