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Kate Bush - The Sensual World CD (album) cover

THE SENSUAL WORLD

Kate Bush

 

Prog Related

3.43 | 131 ratings

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nmccrina
4 stars Reading the other reviews, it seems like this is an album that one either loves or hates. None of the songs here are as upbeat and "poppy" as Running Up That Hill or The Big Sky, so I can see how some would dismiss it as bland or generic. However, I think this is just a result of the music being much subtler, rather than it having no substance at all. It may take a few listens, but once you "get it" the songs here more than hold their own.

The difference between this album and its predecessor "Hounds of Love" can be seen immediately by comparing the opening tracks. Whereas "Running Up That Hill" started quickly with a driving beat and kept up the intensity through the entire song, "The Sensual World" is more ambient and pastoral. If you're expecting the same type of outright pop hook and danceable beat, of course the song is going to appear to pass by without ever getting started. "The Sensual World" isn't a song that *makes* you pay attention to it like a standard pop song; if you aren't actively listening to it and just have it on in the background you'll look up 4 minutes later and be like "Wait, it's over? I didn't even notice it!". In a way the difference between "The Sensual World" and a song such as "Running Up That Hill" is like the Loudness War: "Running Up That Hill" would be the song with the dynamic range compression that grabs our attention with its aggressiveness, while "The Sensual World" is more restrained and dynamically interesting, but not initially as "catchy". (Note: I am not referring to the actual recording technology used, this is a metaphor only. Also, I do in fact like "Running Up That Hill" and the entire "Hounds of Love" album). This goes for the whole Sensual World album, since most of tracks have a similar atmospheric sound (a notable exception being "Love and Anger", which is very much in the same vein as "The Big Sky" from the previous album).

Overall, this rivals "Hounds of Love" as Kate Bush's best work. It is more ambient and less aggressive than her earlier albums, but it is merely a change of approach; the quality here is still top-notch. I wouldn't recommend it as a first Kate Bush album, but if you are an established fan I don't see how you won't like it provided that you give it enough time to sink in. This is especially true if you like the more ambient songs off "Hounds of Love", such as "And Dream of Sheep" and "Watching You Without Me".

nmccrina | 4/5 |

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