The Sensual World
|The Sensual World|
|Studio album by Kate Bush|
|Released||16 October 1989|
|Genre||Art rock, baroque pop, alternative rock|
|Label||EMI all territories except the US, Columbia (US)|
|Kate Bush chronology|
|Singles from The Sensual World|
|Spin's Book of Alternative Albums||(8/10)|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|Robert Christgau||(B) |
The Sensual World is the sixth studio album by the English singer Kate Bush. It was released in October 1989 and peaked at no.2 in the UK album charts. It has been certified Platinum by the BPI for sales of 300,000 in the UK, and Gold by the RIAA in the US.
Bush drew inspiration for the title track from the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. Bush realised that Molly Bloom's soliloquy, the closing passage of the novel, fitted the music she had created. When the Joyce estate refused to release the text, Bush wrote original lyrics that echo the original passage, as Molly steps from the pages of the book and revels in the real world. She also alluded to "Jerusalem" by William Blake in a reference to the song's gestation ("And my arrows of desire rewrite the speech"). The song includes Irish instrumentation (uilleann pipes, fiddle, whistle) under a breathy rendering of the orgasmic 'Yes' of the original text.
The songs "Deeper Understanding," "Never Be Mine," and "Rocket's Tail" all feature backing vocals by the Bulgarian vocal ensemble Trio Bulgarka. "Heads We're Dancing" includes a characteristic Mick Karn fretless bassline. The song "This Woman's Work" from the movie She's Having a Baby (1988) was re-edited for this album. On 27 November 2005 it was featured in the British TV drama Walk Away and I Stumble starring Tamzin Outhwaite. Due to that broadcast, the song reached #3 on the UK download chart in late 2005. This song has also been used in a long-running UK television advert for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, broadcast in 2005–2008, and in the Extras Christmas Special in 2007. A version of the song was recorded by R&B artist Maxwell in 1997 for his MTV Unplugged album.
Released as CD players were becoming increasingly popular, the original LP ended with "This Woman's Work", whilst "Walk Straight Down the Middle" was included as a bonus track on the CD and cassette versions of the album. The gap between these two tracks is slightly longer to indicate the album was intended to finish with "This Woman's Work".
A video collection called The Sensual World: The Videos was also released. It contained videos for the title song, "Love and Anger", and "This Woman's Work" (all directed by Bush herself), as well as excerpts from an interview Bush gave to the music TV channel VH1.
In May 2011, Bush released a new album, Director's Cut which featured new versions of four songs from The Sensual World, including the title song now called "Flower of the Mountain". Finally having received permission from the Joyce estate, Bush recorded a new vocal using Molly Bloom's soliloquy as the lyric. Additionally, she re-recorded a sparse, piano-only version of "This Woman's Work". The new version of "Deeper Understanding" was released as a single, with an accompanying video.
For years, Bush has wanted to insert a laugh between tracks, and for years the record executives have denied the proposition. Originally, the laugh was set to be put between "Strange Phenomena" and "Kite" on her first album "The Kick Inside". When this plan was nixed, Bush decided to place the laugh after "In Search of Peter Pan" on her second album "Lionheart"; after that, on the following record "Never for Ever" at the very end of the album. Again, to no avail, but this time the executives met Bush half way and let her add a little extra bass at the end of "Breathing" instead. Despite the first three rejections, Bush endeavoured once more to include the laugh on the fourth album "The Dreaming" just after "Suspended in Gaffa". Once again, the executives dismissed this demand, as unreasonably antagonistic towards the general public who would have a hard enough time figuring out just what Gaffa was without the added intimidation of a mocking laugh.
So it was in the fifth album, "Hounds of Love", where Kate was first able to sneak in the laugh, cleverly mixed backwards into a secret message in "Watching You Without Me", the forward contents of which were later discovered by fans. Luckily, the record executives never discovered this laugh, although its effect is all but lost in the mix. But Bush was still unsatisfied, since she knew most people would probably never know the laugh was even there. The Sensual World was the next candidate for the laugh, but since it had never charted as a single, the executives refused. Bush even volunteered to redo the laugh as a "new vocal" cut, but alas, no go.
Finally, Bush had had enough. "Look," she said, "no more albums unless I get a full, uncut, forward, undistorted laugh on the next one." British executives gave in, but Bush had to change labels in America to have her demand met. But still, it wasn't easy... a full year of bickering about where the laugh should go on the new album ensued and caused unprecedented delays in release. And now we see the fruits of Bush's effort: the laugh, in full, is indeed a part of the album The Sensual World. But in attaching the laugh to different songs on the two pressings of the CD, and omitting it entirely from the single and the video, Bush has left the fans still questioning which song the laugh belongs to.
Some fans believe it is the perfect ending for "Love and Anger", while some others say it's the perfect beginning for "The Fog". It was later theorized that the laugh doesn't belong to any particular track, but to itself.
All songs written and composed by Kate Bush.
|1.||"The Sensual World"||3:57|
|2.||"Love and Anger"||4:42|
|5.||"Heads We're Dancing"||5:17|
|7.||"Between a Man and a Woman"||3:29|
|8.||"Never Be Mine"||3:43|
|10.||"This Woman's Work"||3:32|
|11.||"Walk Straight Down the Middle" (CD bonus track)||3:48|
- Haydn Bendall: engineer
- Andrew Boland: engineer
- Stoyanka Boneva: vocals
- Kate Bush: piano, keyboards, vocals, background vocals, producer
- Paddy Bush: mandolin, background vocals, valiha, whip, tupan
- Clare Connors: violin
- Ian Cooper: cutting engineer
- Stuart Elliott: drums
- Eva Georgieva: vocals
- John Giblin: bass guitar
- David Gilmour: guitar
- Paul Gomazel: engineer
- John Grimes: assistant engineer
- Michael Kamen: arranger, orchestration
- Mick Karn: bass guitar
- Nigel Kennedy: violin, viola
- Kevin Killen: engineer, mixing
- Tom Leader: assistant engineer
- Dónal Lunny: bouzouki
- Charlie Morgan: drums
- Alan Murphy: guitar
- Michael Nyman: string arrangements
- Del Palmer: bass guitar, percussion, rhythm guitar, engineer, Fairlight CMI, mixing
- Justin Pearson: cello
- Dimiter Penev: arranger
- Yanka Rupkina: vocals
- John Sheahan: fiddle
- Davy Spillane: pipe, whistle (human), whistle (instrument), uilleann pipes
- Alan Stivell: background vocals, Celtic harp
- Trio Bulgarka: vocals
- Eberhard Weber: solid-body electric double bass
- Bill Whelan: arranger
- Jonathan Williams: cello
"While Bush's famously fey voice would probably be enough to hold the disparate strands of The Sensual World together, the album takes its cue and colouring too from the hypnotically sinuous sway of the pipes on the title track," wrote Robert Sandall in Q. "There are some strapping power chords to be despatched here and there, most notably on Love And Anger, but the dominant mood is of Oriental reverie, similar in feel to that achieved latterly by Japan. And in fact the last track on side one, Heads We're Dancing, reproduces that mysteriously sproingy bass sound favoured by Mick Karn." Slant Magazine listed the album at #55 on its list of the "Best Albums of the 1980s" saying "Blessed with one of music's most wildly expressive voices, Bush takes each song further than she has to, resulting in an album that forms its own unique world."
Certifications & Sales
The Sensual World - The Videos
|The Sensual World - The Videos|
|Video by Kate Bush|
|Recorded||1989 - 1990|
|Director||Peter Richardson, Kate Bush|
|Kate Bush chronology|
- Track listing
- "The Sensual World"
- "Love And Anger"
- "This Woman's Work"
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