Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. Nov 23, 2011
    80
    While it shares sheer ambition with Scott Walker's The Drift and PJ Harvey's Let England Shake, it sounds like neither; Bush's album is equally startling because its will toward the mysterious and elliptical is balanced by its beguiling accessibility.
  2. Dec 8, 2011
    80
    A remarkably delicate, often meandering (though never purposeless) song cycle revolving around snow, imagination and longing, set to rich, spiraling piano compositions and deep open spaces.
  3. Nov 21, 2011
    85
    Her best music, this album included, has the effect of putting one in the kind of treasured, child-like space--not so much innocent as open to imagination--that never gets old.
  4. Nov 23, 2011
    80
    From austere, absurd materials, the cumulative effect is remarkable. [Dec 2011, p.76]
  5. Dec 15, 2011
    80
    There is only one real slip - Stephen Fry's mood shattering appearance on the title track. [Dec. 2001 p. 123]
  6. Jan 10, 2012
    80
    Sounds miraculously unburdened by its conceptual weight.[Dec. 2011 p. 90]
  7. 70
    To hope for a "Running Up That Hill" or a "Wuthering Heights" would be to miss the point, and the subtle pleasures – there's enough people walking the ways Kate cleared 30 years ago. Follow her footprints off the beaten path, and you'll find some weird winter wonders.
  8. Nov 22, 2011
    70
    At times, piano, strings, bass, and drums carefully follow Bush like members of her court through a series of meditations that move like falling snow, which she sometimes refers to directly or metaphorically within the lyrics.
  9. Nov 22, 2011
    75
    Her first full-length of new material since 2005, 50 Words is by far the subtlest and least immediately accessible she's ever made.
  10. Nov 15, 2011
    90
    It's absorbing and enchanting without having to resort to formulaic song structures, pop thrills or radio-friendly catchiness.
  11. Nov 16, 2011
    90
    Whatever the case, 50 Words...demands to be listened to as a whole.
  12. Nov 21, 2011
    70
    The overall dark, diaphanous sound here almost oversells the title, but it's impossible not to get lost in 
the drift.
  13. Nov 17, 2011
    100
    50 Words for Snow is extraordinary business as usual for Bush, meaning it's packed with the kind of ideas you can't imagine anyone else in rock having.
  14. 90
    While looking for 50 Words For Snow, she has found 50 other original ways to express herself effortlessly, creating another intriguing piece of work.
  15. Nov 28, 2011
    80
    It's human connection despite the odds that has been at the heart of Bush's music from the beginning. With 50 Words for Snow, she casts the theme in a bolder and bleaker light than ever before.
  16. Nov 15, 2011
    85
    It's a linguistic lesson you never asked for, or even wanted, but also one you'll never forget.
  17. Nov 29, 2011
    100
    One of the year's most imaginative albums.
  18. Nov 21, 2011
    70
    50 Words for Snow is a success not only because it's so challengingly bold and peculiar, but because it repackages Bush's usual idiosyncrasies in an entirely new form.
  19. Nov 21, 2011
    70
    The music has a bare-trees feel that dovetails with the wintry theme. There's plenty of orchestration, but it's all framing and backdrop for Bush's piano and voice.
  20. Nov 15, 2011
    80
    The album only really reaches the heights Bush has set for herself when she appears centre stage.
  21. Nov 22, 2011
    66
    Bush's return to recorded music is unexpected, sometimes distancing, weird and obdurate.
  22. Nov 21, 2011
    80
    It's the work of a mature and serious artist, who has made a unique and lasting contribution to pop, and this album will continue her reputation.
  23. Nov 22, 2011
    70
    Those cameos [Elton john & Stephen Fry] aren't exactly intrusive, but they do weigh down an album that's otherwise content to drift as gently as the snow in question.
  24. Nov 30, 2011
    80
    Once again, Kate's found a new sound world to operate in and made an effortlessly great album that works both as a conceptually cohesive whole and as a set of standlone songs as warm and comforting as a roaring fire.
  25. Nov 21, 2011
    88
    With all seven of the songs clocking in at six to 10 minutes each, Bush takes her time, but the songs aren't built of different parts; it's more like mounting meditations on one theme.
  26. Nov 14, 2011
    90
    She's brilliant, sometimes inspired, and this tenth studio album finds her gifts undiminished.
  27. Dec 8, 2011
    60
    The mood is subdued, the backing spare, meditative, but--as we've become used to with Bush--lacking in any adventurousness of spirit, at points, you could even describe it as late night jazz club tasteful. [Dec 2011, p.52]
  28. Nov 21, 2011
    90
    50 Words for Snow is undoubtedly whimsical, but it's played and arranged so exquisitely that even the most po-faced should be able to acknowledge the scale of its achievement.
  29. 100
    The result is a lush, immersive work which is sonically more homogeneous than her earlier albums.
  30. These tracks are sparse but airtight, haunting but unrelentingly gorgeous, both logical successors to the stunning second half of Aerial and completely unlike anything she's done.
  31. Nov 21, 2011
    60
    This album is rather better when it is winking at you, rather than seeking to cryogenically preserve emotion.
  32. To the relief of anyone who carries a torch for the reclusive genius, it's a beauty.
  33. Nov 21, 2011
    100
    Bush is still making music that intrudes and abducts.
  34. Nov 21, 2011
    75
    The singer does a lot of luxuriating on her 10th album; 50 Words for Snow spreads seven songs over 65 leisurely minutes, her multi-octave voice and piano mostly at the forefront.
User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 19
  3. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Nov 21, 2011
    10
    Among the best releases this year. Kate Bush is a legend, so no one was expecting something bad, but this album goes beyond expectations, it'sAmong the best releases this year. Kate Bush is a legend, so no one was expecting something bad, but this album goes beyond expectations, it's not just beautiful music, it's art, it's winter, it's love. Full Review »
  2. Nov 25, 2011
    2
    Kate is a legend. I desperately wanted to like this. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't identify with this world. To me it paints a pictureKate is a legend. I desperately wanted to like this. As hard as I tried, I just couldn't identify with this world. To me it paints a picture of winter as seen from the window of a warm country house somewhere in the south of England. An isolated view, insulated from reality. Too serious, too introspective and taking romance to absurdity. Definitely one for those who loose track of time as they stare endlessly into space. I could have done with a blizzard or two. Full Review »
  3. Nov 21, 2011
    10
    Hands-down, 50 Words For Snow is THE album of 2011 - not your typical album by any standards, each song tells a story with the linking themeHands-down, 50 Words For Snow is THE album of 2011 - not your typical album by any standards, each song tells a story with the linking theme of snow. This is not pop, this is art, and Kate Bush has created another masterpiece on par with her other masterpieces Aerial, Hounds Of Love, The Sensual World and The Kick Inside. If you haven't started listening to music's true genius now, I strongly suggest starting now with the magic that is 50 Words For Snow. Full Review »