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Kate Bush - The Sensual World CD (album) cover

THE SENSUAL WORLD

Kate Bush

 

Crossover Prog

3.50 | 213 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
4 stars I have a hard time understanding just why this album isn't one of Kate Bush's more revered albums, especially in the progressive universe. While it's true it might be a little bit lesser than her previous albums, it is still an amazingly beautiful and diverse album and offers some of her most memorable songs, however, there is that feeling that the songs don't gel together as well as on past albums, but this should only be a minor flaw, as the songs on their own are very powerful, innovative and leave a lasting impression.

The album starts off with two strong tracks, the lush and sultry "The Sensual World" and the bold and driving "Love and Anger", both of which were released as singles and both did rather well. These are followed by the more experimental "The Fog" which show Bush at her most innovative, harkening back to some of the less accessible songs off of "Hounds of Love", mysterious and yet intriguing, her vocals doing things that other vocalists wouldn't dare try while using non-traditional (at least in a rock/pop setting) instruments, usually instruments that are folk instruments, yet hardly ever used together in the same setting. "Reaching Out" has one of Bush's most beautiful and emotional choruses ever, as she shows the power behind her dynamic singing. No one else can emote and utilize their voice as well as Kate Bush can, and that is why she is always one of my favorite artists. Tender and powerfully emotional, this is an amazing song. "Heads We're Dancing" ends the first side with an upbeat track that features Mick Karn's signature fretless bass.

The first few times I listened to this album, I had a hard time with the 2nd half of this album, especially because of the inclusion of the Bulgarian vocal ensemble "Trio Bulgarka" and I didn't like the way those vocals contrasted with the songs, sounding like they were just place there to be more artsy. But as time went on, I came to appreciate the inclusion of this, and now it all just seems natural. She uses the ensemble on 3 of the tracks on the 2nd side, including "Deeper Understanding" which has since become another of my favorite Bush songs. It is very obvious that, even though many think this was a commercial album for Bush, that she was still working to make it extremely innovative, and she succeeded. You can call it art pop if you want, to me it is still all amazingly original and excellent. "Between a Man and Woman" tends to reflect some of Bush's older material and I think would have fit easily on any of her previous albums. "Never Be Mine" again utilizes the Trio Bulgarka. Between this track and the previous one, I tend to believe is the reason that most of the public tends to discount the entire album. These two songs are arguably a bit easier to forget and tend to weaken the album a bit, but once the music from this album starts to find its way into your head, heart and soul, that these less interesting songs start to stand out a little more. Overall, this album is a grower, but that is also its strength, that you can go back to it and discover new things each time you hear it.

"Rocket's Tail" again uses the Trio Bulgarka, and this one is the least accessible of all of the songs on this album. Even though this track is difficult to get into, it was one that stood out at the very beginning for me. Much of the first half of the track is acapella, vocals divided by the main lyrics that Bush sings and the foreign words that the trio sings, and the melodies even contrast each other at times. Everything comes alive when David Gilmour finally kicks in with his guitar solo, and the track definitely stands out as his guitar and the foreign vocals make for a new and interesting experience. "This Woman's Work" was meant to end the album, and it did on the original vinyl version. This is one of Kate's most famous tracks, and also another of her most beautifully written and sung songs ever. It speaks for itself, and even though it has been covered by others, no one can express it like she can. So beautiful and emotional! It is a testament to her powerful songwriting and lyrical brilliance and if it is the song that most of the public will remember her by, then it is well deserved as such. The CD and cassette versions of the album also included the track "Walk Straight Down the Middle" which is a little out of place on this side of the album since it is pretty much the more inaccessible side, but it still works, and it ends up closing the album with another sultry performance from my most favorite female artist.

Even though it is a little bit weaker than its predecessors, it is still an album I love to listen to, and it still has some all time favorites of mine, but its weakness comes more in the way the tracks work more on an individual basis than they do in a cohesive way, and that is the only drawback from this excellent album. I was not a big fan of the album at first, but it grew on me as I became more familiar with each track, and now I consider it a favorite. But it doesn't quite reach the pinnacle of some of her other albums, but it still one that is worthwhile and I still consider it an excellent album.

TCat | 4/5 |

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