The Sensual World (song)

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"The Sensual World"
Single by Kate Bush
from the album The Sensual World
B-side "Walk Straight Down the Middle"
Released 18 September 1989
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, CD
Recorded 1987-1989
Genre Art rock
Length 3:57
Label EMI - EM 102
Writer(s) Kate Bush
Producer(s) Kate Bush
Kate Bush singles chronology
"Experiment IV"
(1986)
"The Sensual World"
(1989)
"This Woman's Work"
(1989)
Music sample
"Flower of the Mountain"
Song by Kate Bush from the album Director's Cut
Released 16 May 2011 (2011-05-16)
Genre Art rock
Length 05:15
Label Fish People, EMI
Writer Kate Bush, James Joyce
Producer Kate Bush
Director's Cut track listing
"Flower of the Mountain"
(1)
"Song of Solomon"
(2)

"The Sensual World" is a song by the English singer Kate Bush. It was the title track and first single from her album of the same name, released in September 1989. The single entered and peaked at no.12 in the UK single charts. The song was later re-recorded using only words taken from Molly Bloom's soliloquy from James Joyce's Ulysses, as Bush had originally intended whilst recording The Sensual World album. This version, re-titled "Flower of the Mountain" appears on the 2011 album Director's Cut.

The B-Side to the original single was "Walk Straight Down the Middle," a bonus track on the CD and cassette editions of The Sensual World album. The 12" vinyl release of the single had a double-grooved A-side so that either the song or an instrumental version of the song would be played depending on where the needle was placed.

Writing and inspiration[edit]

The song is inspired by Molly Bloom stepping out of the black and white, two-dimensional pages of James Joyce's Ulysses into the real world, and is immediately struck by the sensuality of it all. It was originally supposed to be Molly Bloom's speech (from the end of Ulysses) set to music, but Bush could not secure the rights from the Joyce estate, so she altered it. In 2011, the Joyce estate granted license to the material, and Bush rerecorded the song as "Flower of the Mountain", released on 2011's Director's Cut.[1]

Musically, one of the main hooks in the chorus of The Sensual World was inspired by a traditional Macedonian piece of music called Nevestinsko Oro, or "Bride's Dance". As in the traditional version, the melody is played on uilleann pipes, in this case by Irish musician Davy Spillane.[2]

Music video[edit]

The video, which features Bush dancing through an enchanted forest in a medieval dress, was co-directed by The Comic Strip co-creator Peter Richardson and Bush herself.

Use in Film[edit]

The song, particularly the chorus section, features prominently several times in Atom Egoyan's film "Felicia's Journey",[3] highlighting the main character's sense of isolation and loss as she leaves Ireland and her estranged father for England.

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Kate Bush.

7" single (UK)
No. Title Length
1. "The Sensual World"   3:56
2. "Walk Straight Down the Middle"   3:48
12" and CD single (UK)
No. Title Length
1. "The Sensual World"   3:56
2. "The Sensual World" (Instrumental) 3:57
3. "Walk Straight Down the Middle"   3:48

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart[4] 12
Australian Singles Chart[5] 44
Italian Singles Chart[6] 12
Canadian Singles Chart 58
Dutch Top 40[7] 17
Dutch Single Top 100[8] 20
Finnish Singles Chart 12
German Singles Chart[9] 29
Irish Singles Chart[10] 6
US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks[11] 6

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (6 April 2011). "After 22 years, Kate Bush gets to record James Joyce". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Kate Bush at the BBC". 2014-08-22. BBC. BBC Four. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04f86xk. Retrieved 2014-08-22.
  3. ^ "Internet Movie Database". Retrieved 9 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Chart Stats - Kate Bush - The Sensual World". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  5. ^ "australian-charts.com". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  6. ^ "italian-charts.com". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  7. ^ "De Nederlandse Top 40, week 42, 1989". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  8. ^ "dutchcharts.nl". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  9. ^ "charts-surfer.de search results". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  10. ^ "irishcharts.ie search results". Retrieved 10 January 2009. 
  11. ^ "allmusic - Kate Bush - Billboard singles". Retrieved 10 January 2009 (2009-01-10).