Around the time I ran across ACO’s cover of Kate Bush’s "This Woman’s Work", an R&B artist named Maxwell released his own version of the song. It was the most excruciating interpretation I’d ever heard.
Singing in a painfully grating falsetto, Maxwell attempted to imbue soul into a song that, by its sparseness, had plenty of. He ended up turning it into a sentimental showcase of caterwaul.
It had me running and screaming back to ACO’s version.
ACO went the opposite route. Rather than mimic Bush’s intimate performance, she and her producers, Adrian Sherwood and Skip McDonald, gave the song a backbeat and atmospheric effects, but they were diligent about how they would be used. And the impact of the song wasn’t lost.
ACO herself could almost pass for Bush, were it not for the Japanese accent. It does, however, sound like she’s copying Bush’s English accent.
ACO released "This Woman’s Work" as a b-side to her single, "4gatsu no Hero". It was also included on her album Material.
Maxwell somehow managed to win an MTV Video Music award for his version. Yet another exhibit in MTV’s well-documented irrelevance. And lack of taste.