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Kate Bush - The Sensual World CD (album) cover


Kate Bush


Crossover Prog

3.50 | 224 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'The Sensual World' - Kate Bush (7/10)

Achieving an association with the progressive rock scene through Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour's discovery of her, British solo artist Kate Bush is certainly a songstress that polarizes the prog community. On one hand, her music is easily recognizable as being pop, but on the other, there's alot of added layers to her music that one might not fully grasp on first listen. While acknowledged to be past her golden era of music, this is my first experience with the music of this songwriter, and it's certainly been a ride with its ups and downs. At first listen, I will admit that I was a bit put off by Bush's voice and overtly 80's production. However, like all truly good pop records of its kind,'The Sensual World' gradually opened up to me. While at its core it is a simply written album, Bush and her collaborators put alot of real thought into the arrangements of the music here, creating a piece of art that may seem very much a work of its time in parts, but is generally a strong album in a style I admittedly have not given enough credit in the past.

While 'The Dreaming' and 'Hounds Of Love' may be stronger works in terms of the songwriting, Bush's strenght on the album relies on the beautiful ways she adds depth to the songs. Over the course of the album, there are musical sounds extracted from a multitude of cultures. The first song (also one of my favourites) and title track 'The Sensual World' makes great use of Celtic pipe music; a really nice way to add some energy and interest to what have otherwise would have been too mellow to open up the album. Also here are choral sets, and some beautiful symphonic arrangements conducted by none other than Michael Kamen. Many of these pieces feel evocative of a dreamscape. Unfortunately however, there are a handful of songs that really break the mood by deciding to go even further into the doldrums of '80s pop. 'Heads We're Dancing' is an example of a song which may be a decent song one could hear on a nostalgic FM station, but really feels undeserving of being on the same record as more involving pieces of songwriting. 'Deeper Understanding' is another track I don't care for as much. Although it has great choral work in it, the anti-technology lyrics seem very tacky and saccharine, no matter how much they may pertain to modern times. What's wrong with spending evenings on a computer, anyway?

Possibly the biggest note of division I have with 'The Sensual World' and Kate Bush's work in general are her vocals themselves. Why her wispy and highly registered voice suit some moments of the album, other parts feels like her inflections and uncomfortable vibrato are unnecessary and detract from the effect of the music. However, like many of the other parts on the album, this was something that gradually warmed up to me with added listens.

Quite a good album by Kate Bush, certainly. It's surprising to me that I would be able to open up to a pop album like this, but alas, the formula of the music here is not without some faults, which run the risk of the making the overall product sound tacky and dated at times.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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