On the surface, eccentric British chanteuse Kate Bush and Canadian underwear model Justin Bieber do not have seem to have much in common. While she has been labeled a recluse and has sometimes gone years between albums, he is occasionally nude on the internet and was roasted on Comedy Central. But there are connections between the two performers beyond the mere alliteration of their last names. Both have high-pitched, delicate voices. Both have famous hairdos. And most importantly, both Bush and Bieber have used the medium of popular music to express basic truths about the human condition. Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” from 1989, for instance, is about the anxiety and uncertainty of childbirth, while Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” from 2015 is about the struggle of a man and a woman to communicate honestly and effectively in a relationship. And now, Vermont filmmaker Garret Harkawik and musician Karl Hohn have combined these two songs into an ear-pleasing elixir they have titled “What Does This Woman’s Work Mean?”
Harkawik and Hohn’s pleasantly unhurried mashup marries the vocals from the Bush song to the instrumental track from the Bieber song. Beliebers who feel that this process “removes” Justin from the song entirely should know that the 21-year-old wunderkind both co-wrote and co-produced “What Do You Mean?” His stamp, then, is all over this track, even if his famous voice is not actually audible in it. But, really, Bush is the star here, breathy and expansive as always. The percolating, Bieber-ized arrangement merely lends a bit of urgency to “This Woman’s Work.” Meanwhile, the creators of this mashup throw listeners a curveball at about the two-minute mark with an unscheduled motivational speech.