Kite flew out in the world in the spring of 1989, a whole decade after Kirsty MacColl had released her first single. It also came seven years after her last album, her debut, Desperate Character. In the interim, she had a top ten hit with her harmony and jangle-drenched version of Billy Bragg’s A New England in 1985, an evergreen Christmas hit, 1987’s Fairytale of New York, with The Pogues and two sons, Jamie and Louis, with her producer husband Steve Lillywhite. Kite arrived like a bold, glossy statement of intent, full of songs she had written herself and with dear friends like Pete Glenister and Johnny Marr, plus one glistening Kinks cover, which felt like an appropriate choice. In finger-clicking country, Smithsy pop, ballads and modern protest songs, Kirsty was Ray Davies’ natural successor in song writing, observing fame, love and modern life with a sparkling, sensitive eye.
Kite also contains flourishes of what was to come later for Kirsty. Dancing in Limbo hints towards her later work’s Latin flavours. Finale You And Me Baby prefigures the glorious soundworld of 1993’s Titanic Days. Throughout the album, there is a confidence that bristles and burns, the sound of a woman finally seizing the day and having her time.
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