Kate Bush – The sensual world (1989)

Give me that little kiss

The album starts off with some bells in the distance. Knowing that David Gilmour is playing on two of the tracks gives me high hopes that this album will be influenced by his Pink Floyd. It isn’t, instead we get a too heavily produced album, her weakest album so far quite clearly. Have we come to Kate’s “Phil Collins” years maybe? To me, it feels less interesting musically and production-wise than the first five albums at least.

Kate is still drawing inspiration from books and films. The opening track “The sensual world” is inspired by James Joyce’s Ulysses and the last song “This woman’s work” is taken from the John Hughes film “She’s having a baby”. It’s crazy that such a majestic song has that background. I mean I love John Hughes’ movies, but it feels like belittling for this major piece of music.

“Love and anger” is an anonymous and somewhat generic song until the end when Gilmour’s guitar solo appears. Two songs about parents and children and love and longing is followed by a curios little gem “Heads we’re dancing”.  It’s a darkly comical “what if” scenario where a stranger gets a dance with Kate if he wins a coin flip. I appreciate the levity of the song. And the ending part of the song is rather heavy.

The second side is opened with “Deeper understanding” that makes me think about Spike Jonze’s movie “Her” from 2013. It is a bittersweet song about a lonely soul that find solace via a computer program.

Many songs on the album reminds me about the sound of late 80’s and 90’s Peter Gabriel.

The penultimate song “Rocket’s tail” will wake you up in time for the finish. Great lyrics, nice heavy drums, Gilmour’s guitar and the perfect use of the Trio Bulgarka is all there. Kate’s singing on the album is sublime as always, but on this song, she also extends in a funny way on the home stretch.

The final song is “This woman’s work” and this is maybe her best song. Ever. It is so beautiful that I sometimes get tears in my eyes listening to it. It is bumping this album up a couple of notches. It’s brutal.

However strong “This woman’s work” is, I have never fallen for this album. It even had me forgetting about Kate Bush for many moons. It is a tragedy. I have been aware of her newer stuff, of course I have bought them on cd, but I didn’t invest in her. The new music was basically uncharted territory to me. I did not give in, or my all. All this changed when I bought the four “Remastered in vinyl” boxes. It was like a new spring, and thus I began to discover the second part of Kate’s career.

My rating: 4/10

Side A:

  1. The sensual world
  2. Love and anger
  3. The fog
  4. Reaching out
  5. Heads we’re dancing

Side B:

  1. Deeper understanding
  2. Between a man and a woman
  3. Never be mine
  4. Rocket’s tail
  5. This woman’s work

Best song: “This woman’s work”

Produced by: Kate Bush

Media: Remastered 180 gram vinyl, reissued in 2018 (part of Remastered In Vinyl II)

Released: October 17. 1989

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