* * DREAMING * *

A 'Best of' Love-Hounds Collection

The Sensual World

Reviews Pt. 2

Back to The Sensual World album page

Date: Wed, 8 Nov 89 12:34:16 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Review of the album in the Nov. 13 People

Yes, People magazine has a review of the album. It's actually coupled with a review of The Innocence Mission's first album. Since this magazine is widely available in the US, I will paraphrase the review. Anybody who needs a complete copy should e-mail me.

He (David Hiltbrand) starts out praising her vocal qualities. She is "one of the most striking stylists in pop music.. .By turns stern and breathily fragile in the lower range, her voice is quite ethereal in its upper reaches." He calls the melodies and harmonies "adventurous and exotic", as usual for Bush. He mentions the "sensuous, snake-charmer allure of the title track", and the "mock woodwind, river-fairy piping" on "Never Be Mine." He then says, "The most exciting moments in the Bush canon have come when her reserve melts and the passion of the music carries her away. That happens here on "Love & Anger" and "Heads We're Dancing," but not often enough. The album is, though, often pretty and thoroughly characteristic."

Then he says that Bush fans may want to check out The Innocence Mission. He says that lead singer Karen Peris's voice is "similar to Bush's, if slightly earthier." He concludes by saying, "Though many of the songs are more traditional in form than Bush's leaps of fancy, at their best [they are] creating music every bit as entrancing as the idiom's past mistress, old Kate herself. The similarity in sounds is a serendipitous treat for listeners."


From: Doug Alan <nessus@athena.mit.edu>
Date: Thu, 09 Nov 89 12:46:24 EST
Subject: Campus Calendar

The following is a review of *The Sensual World* from the November *Campus Calendar: Boston's Independent Guide to College Activities*. It is a free rag that is published in Brookline and littered around college campuses in the Boston area:

Kate Bush


On the surface, Kate Bush's first album in four years is a letdown, especially in comparison to 1985 masterstroke *Hounds of Love*. You expect more from this British art-rock veteran, especially in the face of all the female newcomers (Enya, Sinead O'Connor, the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Frazer) who have scored with etherial vocals which echo those of Bush. But a closer listen to *The Sensual World* reveals a more personal album, as Bush searches within herself, as a person, a woman and an adult. Musically, the album is less grabbing, but eclectic touches still exist, including the use of Irish pipes, a "psychiatrist" dialogue and the Bulgarian female vocal group The Trio Bulgarka. Producer Bush keeps the Bulgarian vocalists low in the mix, except for "Rockets' [sic] Tail," where their exotic style distracts from her own vocal.

That piece erupts into a lurching rhythm a la Pink Floyd -- it is one of two songs featuring Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, who financed Bush's first demo tape in the mid-'70s. Bush is more in focus on the glorious "Reaching Out", about a child's "push and pull" with its mother, and "This Woman's Work," a piano ballad about missed chances with a mate who has passed on. It is surely one of Bush's barest, most emotive songs in many years.

It doesn't compare to "Under The Ivy", however.


"A is for Amy who fell down the stairs"


Date: Thu, 9 Nov 89 22:09:05 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Review of the album from the Oct. 18 RAW

Here's the review of the album from the Oct. 18 RAW (Rock Action Worldwide), a British magazine that seems to specialize in heavy metal. Despite their focus, this is, once again, a rave review.


'The Sensual World' (EMI EMD 1010)

A Kate Bush album is unlike anything else. There are no comparative works against which it can be judged. It just *is*. Kate Bush has successfully defined an area of modern Rock music for herself. She herself becomes the only reference point by which her work makes any sense. It's a unique situation.

'The Sensual World' is a 'Russian doll' of a composition, as Ms. Bush marries music from East and West. You decipher one level of meaning only to discover another, equally as perplexing beneath. But, like a Chinese puzzle, you know the solution is in there somewhere if only you can figure it out.

Initially I perceived that, as usual, Ms. Bush was giving little away. But as I unwrapped each underlying 'doll' I began to see that this album is almost singularly confessional. 'The Fog', 'Reaching Out' and 'This Woman's Work' offer enticingly veiled portraits of this world. Snapshots from her childhood come shrouded in mystery, blurred photographs of her family life enveloped in a soft, warm afterglow of remembrance. Both the music and production on this record are uniformly excellent. Like a siren, Ms. Bush ensnares her listener.

'Heads We're Dancing' -- a bizarre tale, like an answer to the Stones' 'Sypathy For The Devil' -- and 'Rocket's Tail' find guitars pushed up in the mix, the latter featuring Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour as Kate dances on the edge of Hard Rock. But it's still the more introverted pieces, 'Deeper Understanding' -- a love affair with a computer -- 'Never Be Mine' and the family snapshots above, which I find most compelling and intriguing. Like coded messages I have spent hours wrapped in their mysteries, unravelling their dark and beautiful secrets.

'The Sensual World' is an artistic triump and quite possibly Kate Bush's finest work ever. ***** [The highest rating] -- Dave Dickson

I think this review comes quite close to explaining what *I* like about Kate so much.

Ed (Edward Suranyi)


Date: Sat, 11 Nov 89 22:05:26 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Oct. 25 Number One

First of all, I found a couple more really great reviews of the album.

Here's the review from the Oct. 25 Number One (a British teeny-bopper magazine which has something about Kylie Minogue on every other page). The first sentence of this one is definitely one for the ages.


The Sensual World (EMI)

***** [The highest rating]

The trouble with Kate Bush is once you've listened to her music it makes the rest of your record collection redundant -- everything else pales into insignificance against the fabulously original, mystical, magical music she makes. And, oh joy, 'The Sensual World' is yet another magnificent offering from the elfinlike one, well worth every minute of the four year wait since 'Hounds Of Love'. The title track has to be the most sensual, sexual thing ever written while you'll weep at 'This Woman's Work' (from the film She's Having A Baby ). It'll take several listens to get used to a Kate Bush who's a little less, um, *complicated* than on superlative albums like 'The Dreaming', though even seemingly straightforward songs like the disco-ish 'Heads We're Dancing' and the thumping 'Love And Anger' soon draw you into their mesmerising beats. Kate's love affair with Irish music shines through the 10 tracks and she's also employed the vocal skills of the warbling Bulgarian songstresses The Trio Bulgarka to brilliant effect on songs like 'Rocket's Tail' when they manage to sound like fireworks!

Kate's music is always so *different* and never appears to follow trends which is just as well, because as she points out, her albums take so long to make they'd be out of date by the time they're released. And who else could still get away with lyrics like, in 'Rocket's Tail', "I put on my cloudiest suit/Size 5 lightning boots too/Cos I am a rocket". Ho yes, Kate's back with a vengeance -- one artist who makes records worth buying.

-- Kate "Bush" Davies


Next, from the Nov. 2 issue of Hot Press (Irish), we have the following review:



"The Sensual World" (EMI)

[Rating:] 10 [out of 12]

Kate Bush rests uneasily in the comfortably given world of pop. Unlike Joni Mitchell, or Joan Armatrading, or Tracy Chapman, or Maria McKee, she is no troubadour. Her music and textures and literacy and theatricality are too dense and complex for the current back-to-the-strum movement.

She seems ever the troubled, overly-gifted youngster who finds shelter in her room, in her gifts, in her imagination, *in the space within*, rather than running away and hanging out with the misfits and desperadoes on Pebble Beach. An internalised, rather than an externalised, loner -- but a loner nevertheless.

There are many things to like and respect about Kate Bush, and this is one of them. She is not a part of any mainstream (she isn't even part of the loner mainstream!).

Clearly she has strength of character to follow her own instincts, her own values -- and her own way of working; with a small, close, almost familiar group of collaborators, she has maintained a remarkable degree of independence from the uglier side of the music business, and a tight control over her own output. Which is fine with EMI, I dare say, since Kate Bush is also remarkably successsful.

Another factor which isolates her from the mainstream is the particular Englishness of her muse. This album could never be American: the textual focus of "The Sensual World" is distinctly European, with Davy Spillane, the Trio Bulgarka and Alan Stivell contributing to the eclectic brew. What's involved however is not the adoption of strange ethnic instruments and tones and key changes for the sake of sounding unusual and exotic. They are there for atmosphere and perspective. One might describe it as a cinematic approach.

The results are never less than interesting -- and sometimes they are rivetting. Most of the song "Rocket's Tail" has Kate singing against the voices of the Trio Bulgarka, without any other instrumentation; the effect is like a bright beam of winter sunlight falling on an old eastern rug, in which you suddenly see all the detail and the wild ornamentation come to life.

She could have used a synth, or a string quartet, but the Bulgarian voices take the whole song two or three notches further out. A brilliant sound.

Again, as a songwriter, Kate Bush is as independent as in other areas -- her music is full of surprising melodic moves. They are not always comfortable, nor necessarily pleasing, but they are almost always arresting. Take nothing for granted -- you don't know from where she'll come at you next.

Nowhere is this more true however than in the subjects she writes about. The title track is self-explanatory, but elsewhere we find her exploring (in considerable depth), such dark and risky areas as parent-child love, and anger -- "the pull and push of it all", as she puts it.

Moreover, these issues are confronted with clarity and honesty. Love and anger are the very stuff of songwriting, but who calls them by their name? In "Love And Anger" and "Never Be Mine" La Bush explores the illusions under which we labour n the search for what we call "happiness".

"The Fog", "Reaching Out" and "This Woman's Work" delve into parent-child relations, and how they echo and re-echo through our lives. Not a comfortable subject, and these are not comfortable songs. "The Fog", in particular, with wistful whistles by Davy Spillane, touches on change, on growth and decay, and how we all inevitably come to moments where we have to let go -- and how frighteningly alone we can feel.

That one is for papa, but "Reaching Out" is for mama. "See how man reaches out instinctively/For what he cannot have." It has one bizarre line -- "reaching out for the hand that smacked." Yes indeed!

But the core of this song, as with others, is to do with that longing for the unattainable safety of the womb, and the warmth and inviolability associated with certain formative experiences.

And in "This Woman's Work": "I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking/Of all the things we should've said/That were never said.. . All the things that you needed from me/all the things that you wanted for me/all the things that I should've given/But I didn't..."

But the track to savour most is the title track. Brimming with the dark scorpio satisfactions of the senses, it mmm, yesss, mmmms through a successsion of images -- "Then I'd taken the kiss of seedcake back from his mouth" -- right inside your head.

"You don't need words," she sings, "just one kiss, then another..."

Mmmmm, yesssss.

-- Dermot Stokes


Date: 8 Nov 89 01:34:13 GMT
From: megadude <@JHMAIL.HCF.JHU.EDU:megadude@JHUNIX.BITNET>
Subject: Review of TSW, from JHU News-Letter

Here's another review of KaTe's new album, this time from the pages of the November 3rd issue of the "Johns Hopkins News-Letter". It is followed by a nice review of Jane Siberry's Bound By The Beauty, but I'm not going to type it in unless someone wants me to (no time, no time!) It's also accompanied by a picture of the album cover (probably the LP) sporting the caption "Kate Bush on the cover of 'The Sensual World'" (descriptive, eh?).

On to the review:

Kate Bush's Exhilarating "Sensual World"

by Mark W. Stewart

"Mmh yes/Then I'd take the kiss of seedcake from his

mouth/Going deep down South, go down, mmh, yes."

That Kate Bush opens her new album, "The Sensual World," with such provocative declarations signals something of a change in her lyrical outlook. In the past, Bush tended to couch the charged eroticism of her work in metaphors that gave a sense of distance. Her perchant for fantastical settings, musical and lyrical, is less indulged on "The Sensual World": such songs as "Love and Anger", "This Woman's Work", and the title track (quoted above) actually reach a level of realism characteristic of a writer like Elvis Costello.

At age thirty, after five albums of eccentric pop art, Bush seems anxious to abandon the life of the kinky spinster, intent on "stepping out of the page...where the water and the earth caress" and discovering "the powers of a woman's body." While the title track combines sexual liberation with coy come-ons (cleverly paraphrased from the closing pages of James Joyce's "Ulysses"), the album's first single, "Love and Anger," considers contradictory human motivations - the danger of "opening up" to one's lover and the intense desire to do just that. After seducing a man in the previous song, here it's as though Bush is abruptly seized with self-doubt. She conveys the resultant tensions via an array of bristling electric guitar, trap drum kits, hugely ambient Irish hand drums, and massed vocal harmonies, creating a mix more dense and harrowing than anything since 1982's hysteric "The Dreaming".

It's an exceptionally mature (read: confused) perception, especially in contrast with "The God", which, while equally focused, seems something of a lyrical step backward. Featuring some of Bush's most exquisite orchestral writing (arranged by Michael Kamen), the song seems more in the spirit of the childhood themes of her previous album, "Hounds of Love". Indeed, with its Cinemascope-style production and oceanic sound effects, "The Fog" is in essense a very lovely rewrite of that album's "Hello Earth."

A more thematically connected song, "Deeper Understanding," provides one of the album's true high points. One of the three songs featuring the magnificently non-Western harmonies of the Trio Bulgarka -Yanka Rupkhina, Eva Georgieva, and Stoyanka Bovena - "Deeper Understanding" provides an apt insight into Bush's change in attitude. "As the people here grow colder/I turn to my computer/and spend my evenings with it/like a friend," she sings, depicting a character who seems almost the opposite of the one who began the album with such lewd thoughts.

Yet one gets the feeling that the "deeper understanding" the woman seeks won't be found in the architecture of computer software, but in the warmth of the physical - sensual - world. Certainly, it's a leap of logic to make such assumptions; Bush has never abided by any of the programmatic notions common to that 70s' anachronism, the concept album. But the sense of place, mood, and continuity that Bush develops through the album's eleven songs invites the listener to take part.

Among other things, the 80s will be remembered as the decade in which electronic instruments - the digital sampler particularly - became primary sources of musical development. Classicists have accused electronics of removing the human element from the craft of making music. To the contrary, an impressive amount of time and thought is required to provide synthesized sounds with the harmonic richness, expression, and warmth of more traditional instruments.

So rather than spend her time in such pursuits, Kate Bush developed a sound fusing traditional acoustic, rock-and-roll electric, and electronic modes and instrumentation. To say that "The Sensual World" is only the latest refinement of that sound would be true, but a serious understatement.


Date: Sun, 19 Nov 89 16:45:32 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: From the Nov. 1989 Vinyl Propoganda

[album review by Karen L. Newcombe!]

Vinyl Propaganda is the monthly publication of the Western Association of Rock Disk Jockeys, and it is published in San Francisco.

The November 1989 issue has a review of the single ("The Sensual World"), and later an independent review of the album. Here's the review of the single:

Kate Bush "The Sensual World" - EMI (U.K.)

I promise you this: there is nothing to dance to, no hard edge stuff for college radio, and easy listening stations will be bored to death but mark my words, this record will be bought by many. (Pretty bold, huh?) Kate never ceases to surprise us and neither does her husband/photographer [sic, sic, sic, sic, sic!] who continually manages to find another aspect of her beauty and capture it for the world to see. That alone would be enough to own the import 12" but wait, the song inside, so sweet and spooky, so much emotion, I can listen to it endlessly, but -- I have a column to write so, let's get on with it.

-- Ted Cousens

I think I'll send a postcard to this guy informing him of his error.

Anyway, here's the review of the album:

Kate Bush


She fairly cackles in your ear, then confides, "You see, I'm all grown up now." Not only has Kate Bush grown up, she has spent three years in her studio distilling rocket fuel. Her seventh album, THE SENSUAL WORLD, is going to grab you by the hair and drag you away. Kate has brought together some of the best talent in the business: David Gilmore [sic], Eberhard Weber, Davy Spillane, Alan Stivell, and Nigel Kennedy, as well as the remarkable Trio Bulgarka (the tree lead vocals on the phenomenal MYSTERE VOIX DE BULGARES [sic] albums). THE SENSUAL WORLD is far and away the best album Kate has produced, and with a string of double and triple platinum albums to her credit, [in the UK, that is] that is saying a lot.

You may have heard the unusual first single, "The Sensual World." Kate's warm and embracing echo of Molly Bloom's primal "Yes, I said yes.. ." gives little warning of what you are in for. With the second song, "Love And Anger," Kate has created a paen to the mystery of the human condition that will pick you up and carry you away. The songs follow with unremitting power and unity, the most rock of any album Kate has done (Dave G. has brought his magic with him) that builds through the layers of emotion. Kate has become a consummate artist at unifying her music with her intended effect -- working gradually to a point where she introduces the Trio Bulgarka, first in the background then sifting the music in beautiful and strange harmony.

The hight point of the album comes near the end the the triumphant outcry of "Rocket's Tail", simply one of the most moving, wild rides any rock musician has ever produced. It made hair stand up on the back of my neck, and is such a stunning mesh of voices, banshee guitar, unnamable and indistinguishable sounds that I couldn't even tell you what the lyrics are. Fortunately, Kate has placed lower key songs at the end of the album to wind you down for a return to earth, like "This Woman's Work", the typical Bush piano ballad which was featured in the John Hughes film "She's Having A Baby." Other songs of note include "Heads We're Dancing," and the ballad of the lonely computer addict "Deeper Understanding," which also features the Trio Bulgarka.

As usual, Kate's lyrics are richly poetic and personal. THE SENSUAL WORLD is spacious, full of light, but burdened with darkness, exhibiting a dimension and power that show Kate's synthesis of all her past work and her interest in classical and ethnic music and the influences of the great rock musicians. You are going to need three copies of THE SENSUAL WORLD: one to give to your best friend, one to listen to, and one to replace it with when your first wears out.

-- Karen L. Newcombe


Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 00:14:03 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: December issue of Musician magazine

First of all, there's a very favorable review of the album in the December issue of Musician magazine. Since this magazine is fairly widely available in the US, I will only quote a few lines from it:

"All it takes is a single listening of The Sensual World to understand why it's been four years since Kate Bush released an album; a song cycle as rich and deep as this takes a while to mature."

Well, suffice to say that nearly every line of this review says something good about the album. If anyone needs to see the entire review, please e-mail me.

Kate's mentioned a couple of other times in this issue as well. There's an article about the Innocence Mission, in which the writer says, "Kate Bush on Valium might sound like this.. ."

Next, from the Oct. 28 issue of Melody Maker :

Our Price, which I now know to be a chain of British record stores, has a full page ad promoting The Sensual World.

There's an interview of Nigel Kennedy, the classical violinist who has played on some of Kate's tracks. Here's an excerpt:

"EMI Classical's rising star, who won a gold disc and the BPI Classical Record Of The Year Award for his Elgar Violin Concerto, and has just gone straight into the album chart, at number 43, with his recording of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" [this could never happen in America], has also played on albums by Talk Talk, Paul McCartney, Judie Tzuke and has been working with Kate Bush on the long awaited follow-up to 'The Hounds of Love', 'The Sensual World'."

Then, later in the interview:

"Kennedy makes no secret of his intense admiration for Kate Bush and the two have been close friends ever since he worked with her on 'Experiment IV'. This time around, he contributed to two tracks on 'The Sensual World'.

"'She's just a great musician, so inspired in her attitude to music. I think she's one of the greatest composers of the century in my opinion. That's another type of music that relates to my way of thinking. You can call it classical, whatever, it just takes in influences from all over. The main song I played on was "The Fog", where I played the counter melody to her vocal. I also did chord banks on another song -- "Heads We're Dancing". We did it in her own 48-track studio. It was all acoustic. I think it's about the best studio sound I've ever had -- her boyfriend Del is a great engineer.'"

That's it for now, folks.


Date: Mon, 20 Nov 89 23:32:51 -0600
From: Pete Hartman <bucc2!pwh@bradley.edu>
Subject: KaTe review from MUSICIAN, SPIN

Two new reviews recently came to my attention, the first in SPIN magazine (which I refuse to re-post because I may bust a vein if I read it again) which basically accuses Kate of being an outmoded "sex kitten" type, which has no place in music. Of course he doesn't make any mention of all the other artists that use sex much more blatantly (if you can accuse Kate of "using sex" at all) to sell their "music".

The other review was quite good, from the latest issue of MUSICIAN magazine:

Kate Bush

The Sensual World

All it takes is a single listening to of The Sensual World to understand why it's been four years since Kate Bush released an album; a song cycle as rich and deep as this takes a while to mature. An overnight sensation who became a star at the age of 19, Bush, now 31, has proven herself an artist whose vision yields new and unexpected rewards with each record, and she executes several stunning turns on this, her sixth LP. Her original use of rhyme and meter, the wide frame of reference she draws from as a composer and her inventive and fearless approach to singing fall into perfect sync on nearly every song.

Often dismissed as self-consciously precious, Bush counters that criticism here with 11 songs of such wisdom and poetry that only the most hardened cynic would write them off as conceits. Centering on the eternal struggle between male and female, the album kicks off with a title track inspired by James Joyce's Ulysses. A celebration of the idea of giving oneself over and embracing all that life offers--textures, tastes, experiences--"The Sensual World" is an extraordinaryily erotic song, and Bush's breathless vocal style perfectly complements the theme. Next up is "Love and Anger," an anthem of faith in the notion that, despite the overwhelming fear that pervades the planet earth, human beings are capable of knowing and being known by one another. "The Fog" explores that theme further by celebrating the leap of faith that love demands, while "Reaching Out" looks at how we're instinctively drawn to both danger and comfort. Every track on the album offers something different to think about, and Bush's point of view on the subject at hand is usually as smart as it is sweepingly emotional.

An atmospheric, ambitiously produced tapestry of sound, The Sensual World has a massive, orchestral quality about it (one number [sic] features backup vocals by the Trio Bulgarka--in case you missed it, Bulgarian folk is the hot ethnic music of the moment). Despite the alaborate trimmings, Bush's music remains profoundly human, earthy and moving. Her songs seem too reside in that waking dream state where deeply rooted fears and desires intermingle with the concrete reality known as the world; as painted by Bush, that place is the essence of life itself. -- Kristine McKenna


Date: Mon, 27 Nov 89 09:39:34 EST
From: "Robert M. Kelner" <KELNER@LL.LL.MIT.EDU>
Subject: Kate on VH-1 Dec. 12

The other day I received a complimentary copy of some T.V. Guide clone called Cable Guide. Inside they had a section of highlights for the month. On the page for Variety they had a picture of Kate (sitting on her legs. Black sleeveless top and blue jeans. A background pattern of orange & yellow.) Underneath was the caption "VH-1 feels the pull of the Bush" and below it said KATE BUSH

"You may not know her, but Bush is a musical genius who weaves the stuff of myth, sex, and magic into marvelous songs with irresistible beats. VH-1, 12th. (Dec.)"

The guy who wrote that must be a fan. Since "pull of the bush" isn't a song title but rather an obscure (although highly dramatic) line and clever pun, he must be quite familiar with her work. What's more, you wouldn't describe her as a musical genius to people who've never heard of her unless you really believed it. Maybe the show will really be good.


Date: Tue, 28 Nov 89 14:03:28 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: review in 20/20

Here's the review of the album from the November 20/20, a slick British arts magazine:

Kate Bush: 'The Sensual World' EMI

1985's 'The Hounds Of Love' tranformed Kate Bush from mildly charismatic pop curio to fully-blown eccentric genius. 'The Sensual World' is more readily accessible (no side-long thematic suites in the vein of 'The Ninth Wave'), its ten songs mostly working within a conventional format, the faster moments in the vein of 'Big Sky' and 'Cloudbusting'. But when the pace slows, the music becomes more beautifully indulgent. The opeining title track will already be familiar, having entered the charts at number 12 in the first week of release, and as soon as Kate sings the opening line 'When I take the kiss of seedcake right from his mouth' you know this is going to be the maladjusted, lunatic adventure of her career.

From that dizzy start, the album proceeds from on delirious swoon to another: 'Never Be Mine' and 'This Woman's Work' echo 'The Man With The Child In His Eyes', ricocheting with soulful, Marvin Gaye-ish abandon. 'Reaching Out' and 'Deeper Understanding' mine the familiar, swirly vein that we've come to expect, but Kate never plays to the crowds: 'The Fog' is another matter entirely, using two chords to spark up a snowstorm in your head. The Beatles may have been bigger than Jesus, but Kate Bush is sexier.

-- Paul Lester


From: Doug Alan <nessus@athena.mit.edu>
Date: Wed, 29 Nov 89 12:22:04 EST
Subject: Time Magazine

Well, it seems that we can add *Time* magazine to the list (already containing *Spin*) of hardened cynics.

*Time*, 6 November 1989


Well, it does have a lonely-hearts love song about a computer. Otherwise, the histrionics are so heavy and the passion so sham on this record that it would be wiser to just press DELETE.



From: dbk@mimsy.umd.edu (Dan Kozak)
Date: 30 Nov 89 06:52:08 GMT
Subject: Waxie Maxie's "Developing Artists"

Here's what Waxie Maxie's "Developing Artists" had to say about TSW:

Kate Bush, The Sensual World

The Sensual World is the sixth album from Kate Bush. It is her most personal and confident release to date. Recorded at Kate's own studio in Kent, England it includes many acclaimed guest musicians. Especially interesting is the title track which incororates the haunting sound of Davey Spilane's Uilean pipes alongside Kate's unique voice. It's been a four year wait since the last Kate Bush album but her vocal style is as intriguing as always. She produces quality -- not quantity and her fans know it is well worth the wait.

Not exactly brillant prose, but what the hell. ..



Date: Sun, 3 Dec 89 20:14:37 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Request

A review of the album from the December Request, the in-store magazine of Musicland and Sam Goody. The review is generally favorable, but it ends on a sour note that I must comment upon.



Back when the rest of Britainnia writhed in the throes of punk, a precocious 16-year-old Kate Bush was harboring images of a mythic Victorian England in which arcane literature was savored in the privacy of carefully tended gardens. Visions of midnight moors and star-crossed lovers danced in her head as she recorded her 1978 debut, "Wuthering Heights," a breathless single that promptly went to No. 1 on the English pop charts. Afraid of flying and reluctant to tour, she outfitted her charmed world with a home studio, a musical sanctuary where her increasingly elaborate recordings could take shape without outside interference.

Surprisingly, Bush's relative seclusion over the years has coincided with an expanding musical vision, much as a cloistered child might explore exotic worlds armed only with some musty tomes and an overactive imagination. Albums like The Dreaming and Hounds of Love layered rhythms and electronic samples over epic song structures, parelleling similar inclinations in the work of her friend and occasional collaborator, Peter Gabriel. The Sensual World, Bush's first album in four years, tempers those experimental inclinations with the more straightforward pop sensibilities of her first three albums. Pink Floyd's David Gilmour and Bulgaria's Trio Bulgarka lend helping hands on several cuts, the most impressive of which is "Rocket's Tail." The track starts out as an a capella number and expands into a full-blown rocker, as the throaty quavering Eastern European voices release Bush from her Victorian inhibitions into a state of expressionist frenzy.

The Sensual World also includes the suitably Celtic title cut (inspired, as it was, by Joyce's Ulysses ), the exhilarating "Walk Straight Down The Middle" (on CD and cassette), and the contemplative "Never Be Mine." Together, they showcase Bush's intricate melodies, imaginative keyboards (a lot more piano this time around), and sweet mock-operatic vocal stylings. Occasionally a cloyingly pretentious cut like "The Fog" effectively breaks the spell cast by most of The Sensual World. It's the kind of self-indulgence that suggests our heroine may be spending a bit too much time in the garden with her precious books. -- Bill Forman

The following reviews of "This Woman's Work" all appeared in the November 25 issues of these magazines.

From New Musical Express :

The whole story of this song should guarantee sentimental naffness. Is it possible through pop to truly represent the emotions of a young man stranded in the waiting room while his lover's life is threatened by the birth of their baby? I think not. Unless you're Kate Bush. Oh, how I want her to have my children!

-- Len Brown

From Melody Maker :

A luscious, spiritually elevating, showstopper/ballad from the artnymph of the aureoles, who's surely never done a day's work in her life. How does anyone get that much cool air into a voice? Sort of "The Man With The Child In His Eyes" as interpreted by Leonara Carrington [who?]. Ecstatic with wintry tragedy. So undeniably beauteous that for me to sell it further would be heresy. Quietly, one does wish she'd released "Rocket's Tail", but maybe that's next. Heaven's Kate.

-- Chris Roberts

From Sounds :

Hardly a commercial sound, although it's already seen daylight on the soundtrack for She's Having A Baby. It's a bit profound for a John Hughes flick -- the line "Oh darling just make it go away" is a heartbreaker coming from a young woman experiencing motherhood for the first time -- and orchestrated to buggery by the fussy Michael Kamen. On the B-side, with "thanks to Nicolas Roeg", is 'Be Kind To My Mistakes', a song from Castaway. This is even less commercial, a sort of jungle melodrama with hints at tension. These two sides smack of complete disregard for the Top 40. Good on her.

-- David Cavanagh


Date: Sat, 9 Dec 89 13:24:43 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Dance Music Report

Once again I found a wonderful review of the album. This one is in, of all things, Dance Music Report, published in New York. It's from the Nov. 19 - Dec. 1 issue. Here it is:


"The Sensual World" (Columbia 44164)

Produced by Kate Bush

Now I come from England and over there Kate Bush has been huge since her first album, "The Kick Inside" spawned a number one single called "Wuthering Heights". She went on to make more albums -- "Lionheart", "Never For Ever", "The Dreaming", "Hounds Of Love" --which got more individual and experimental as she went along. Nobody has ever sounded like Kate -- for easy reference maybe she could be considered a female Peter Gabriel. But I'm only saying that cos in the US she has enjoyed little more than a large cult. And the reason has to be that this remarkable artist, who operates within her own world and time-scale, is quite possibly *too* unique and, yes, "far out", for the safe, predictable world of the American radio-dominated robo-punter. But take the time and there is a treasure-trove of delights and brilliant music to be found in Kate's finely-crafted music.

And so to "The Sensual World", more than three years in the making and as intriguing, intoxicating, inspiring and individual as anything she's done before. Where Kate's first three LPs were finding her feet and made on a rush of overnight acclaim, the last three have taken a lot of time and effort to produce -- by the time the 80s bow out there will only have been four Kate Bush albums. [I think he means that she'll have put out four albums during the 80s, including TWS .] And that's the way it has to be -- every cut is composed by Kate with her piano (and later synth), then sculpted into shape in the studio using suitable musicians for each cut.

Whereas "Hounds" was half-composed of an ambitious side-long suite and, contrastingly, cuts like "Running Up That Hill" and "Big Sky", which made great singles, "The Sensual World" is ten perfectly-crafted tracks which range from her gorgeously-textured mid-tempo stuff like the aptly-named title cut to Kate's trademark heart-stroking ballads. Only the title cut, with its "mmh, yes" vocal hook and the distinctive tones of the traditional Irish Uillean pipes, seems to be an obvious single (and it is). Never does this remarkable lady pander to any trend or anybody to take the easy out. Each album is a labour of love, a single entity with its own character. The mood on this one is quite subdued, lush, densely-textured with much use of ancient instruments (long a specialty of her brother Paddy, who plays on the record).

The single opens the LP, followed by the gradually-building tension of "Love And Anger", the closest thing to the last album with its mass-chorale and impassioned vocal. The first truly breath-taking moments come with "The Fog", a misty, atmospheric floater which seems to deal with growing up and the love of family. A predominance on violin and cello (plus orchestra) give the cut a rich texture like an aural painting of the last century using 90s technology. It's completely beautiful -- and Kate's doctor dad makes a cameo! "Reaching Out" is the kind of at-the-piano ballad she excells at, which again harks back to childhood emotion. Great strings. "Heads We're Dancing" takes a step back to World War 2 with its evocative lyrics and could be the next single as Kate establishes a groove which is exotically percussive and electronically-boosted at the same time.

Side Two kicks off with "Deeper Understanding", a quite sinister tale of computer infatuation-then-madness. It's the first of three cuts with the amazing Trio Bulgarka, three Bulgarian women who contribute soaring, emotive harmonies and lift the cuts they're involved to another dimension altogether. "Between A Man And A Woman" is a dense, multi-layered pulse with an atmosphere of magic and mysticism. "Never Be Mine" brings back The Trio to sing out their hearts behind a stomach-clasping ballad of lost love.

The most "normal" cut is "Rocket's Tail", with guitar by Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour (who produced the original demos by a 16-year-old Kate Bush in the early 70s). Well, not *that* normal. It begins with Kate and the Trio beseesching half the words a capella before the band lurches in to let Mr. Gilmour wail away as he is wont to do over a Floyd-ish plod. The subject matter appears to concern a guy intent on impersonating a rocket by dressing up in a pointed hat, silver suit with a firework back-pack -- he lands in the drink.

This stunning set bows out with my favourite cut, "This Woman's Work", just Kate and her piano (backed by a tasteful orchetra) pouring out a melancholy ode to lost love and loneliness. It kind of evokes "Don't Give Up", the heartbreaking duet she did with Peter Gabriel in '86. Kate's fragile strength is at its peak here and I love it.

Obviously there will be singles pulled off this album, maybe even given dance remixes, but it's this LP that's Kate's masterpiece and one of the best things she's done. -- Kris Needs


Date: Mon, 11 Dec 89 13:00:57 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: From the Modern Rock News

Because of all my letters and phone calls to KITS over the course of the past year, they put me on their mailing list. Every month I get a four-page long newsletter called the Modern Rock News. One page is always an ad, two pages are news about the station and short notes about artists, and one page is always an article about an artist the station is featuring. Well, I just got the December issue, and the featured artist is -- you guessed it -- Kate!

I suspect that they simply transcribed a Columbia press release; that's what it reads like. But here it is:

Kate Bush was born in Bexley, Kent, England, on July 30, 1958. Her father, an avid spare time piano player, and mother, an Irish woman who takes much joy in music and dancing, raised Kate and her two older brothers with an open mind to artistic experiments.

Kate began violin lessons (reluctantly) around the age of nine but took a passionate interest in the piano. The day after her father showed her the scale of C, Kate became a songwriter.

As a result of a three-track demo, organized and financed by Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, Kate was signed to EMI before leaving school. Accepting a modest advance from EMI, she was able to concentrate full time on expanding her catalogue of songs. Kate also continued her dance studies, which were initially inspired, and later taught, by theatrical mime-master Lindsay Kemp. They would prove invaluable later on with the dawning age of video.

"I'd wanted to make a record more than anything else," Kate remembers. Her ambition was achieved in mid-1977 with the recording of her debut album, The Kick Inside. Her first single "Wuthering Heights," became a #1 single in the U.K. It was followed by the album, which rapidly sold over one million copies in the U.K. alone.

The pressure was on to make and release a second album. But when Kate realized her recording schedule had to be fitted around promotional demands all over the continent, she vowed to exercise much more control over her career in the future. Nonetheless, the Lionheart album came out in December '78 and a decision to tour was finalized.

Thirty odd dates took place in Britain and Europe during the spring of '79. Every show was a sellout and the two and a half hours of music, dance, mime and magic defied critics' expectations. But the rigors exhausted Kate to such an extent she's never been able to seriously contemplate the idea of another tour.

Then came the five and a half minute single, "Breathing," which championed Green issues back on 1980, and marked a major change in the expectations of Kate Bush's many observers. The single entitled "Babooshka" was followed in September by a new album, Never for Ever. Here was vinyl confirmation that Kate had much to offer for the often bland world of pop.

" The Dreaming album was so difficult to make," says Kate of her next record. "Just about everything that could go wrong did during that period." With studio problems and her method of working and the cost involved, she decided to upgrade her own demo studio to a professional recording level.

Meanwhile, critics were left to ponder the merits of an album that had yielded "Sat in Your Lap" and the title track as singles. In fact, The Dreaming added considerably to the Kate Bush fan base between its release and that of Hounds of Love exactly three years later.

Hounds of Love quickly established itself as Kate's most successful album to date both in a commercial and critical sense. It was the first to give her real chart success in America, htting the top 30 in 1985 (as did the "Running Up That Hill" single). The album was also the catalyst for several superb videos, most memorably the one that accompanied "Cloudbusting," which starred Kate and Donald Sutherland -- one of her favorite actors.

The Whole Story came next, the million-selling compilation album and video released late in 1986. Both formats charted high amongst the best-selling titles that year. [In the UK, that is.] Kate's videos, many of which are directed by her, are almost as popular as her records.

"I know it's taken a long time but each record gets harder to make," she says, explaining the four-year gap between the albums, Hounds of Love and The Sensual World. "This is my most personal and female album so far. I particularly wanted 'The Sensual World' as the first single because I feel it is a strong expression of positive female energy."


Date: Thu, 14 Dec 89 11:42:47 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Review of the album from the Dec. 16 Cash Box

Cash Box has finally reviewed the album, in the Dec. 16 issue:

KATE BUSH: The Sensual World (Columbia OCT 44164)

Kate Bush's influence can be heard in so many new acts that she should be receiving royalties. Ethereal vocals, literate, provocative lyrics and an unforced sexiness that almost always catches the listener slightly off guard, so powerful and potent is that element of her work. All those characteristics are in full force on World, Bush's first release in three years and a timely reminder of one of the biggest talents, male or female, of this decade. Whereas she was once awfully pretentious (appealing, interesting and full of promise, but pretentious nonetheless), her talents have ripened so that the gap between what she hears in her head and what we, the audience, finally hear are, if not in perfect sync, then at least on the same wavelength. No longer do you say, "Well, I know the effect she's *after*." The emotional and social terrains covered on this album are among the richest and most ambitious of this year, and are wholly satisfying. The track "This Woman's Work," originally featured on the soundtrack to She's Having a Baby and now available as a single on import, should turn up on several critic's lists as one of the best of the year, if not the decade. The same could be said of the album. -- Ernest Hardy


Date: Wed, 27 Dec 89 04:30:37 EST
From: chris@world.std.com (Chris'n'Vickie of Kansas City)
Subject: from the October 27th issue of Punch review

The following is from the October 27th issue of Punch, the british humor mag. It's not a great review, but then, getting a review in "Punch" is like getting a review in "National Lampoon". Warning: contains pointless comparisons.

Everything and the girl

Richard Cook on Kate Bush et al.

Sex isn't what it used to be, in popular music as everywhere else. Singers bill and coo more explicitly than ever before, but today's pillow-talk is either the phallic conceits of rap of the professional lip-smack of a new generation of disco tarts. It's as depressing as anything else that has to be fetched off the top shelf. No wonder that the return of Kate Bush, often pinned up as a thinking man's strumpet, has brought forth a gush of enthusiastic copy from sensitive music writers. It's understandable. This is like getting your hands on a Henry Miller after toiling through a trunkful of exploitation.

Actually the inspiration behind "The Sensual World" (EMI), or at least the title song, is James Joyce. The song refurbishes Molly Bloom as a pop goddess, and with it's swirl of pipes and synthesisers around the repeated cue of Bush's 'mmm-yes', the music takes on some of the giddy excitement which marks the best of her work. It's a trick which she has trouble in pulling off. Most of her songs shudder under the weight of ingredients. If it weren't for Bush's fruity soprano, delivering some of the most exaggerated vowel sounds this side of Al Jolson, the LPs could be the work of some refugee from the rarified climes of art-rock: Jon Anderson, say.

"The Sensual World", though, aims to concoct yet another world-music for our pan-continental palates, as well as imparting a 'feminine statement' (note to feminists: this is not what you're thinking). The Bulgarian singers Trio Bulgarka, world music's answer to The Beverly Sisters, warble away on three tracks, while Kate ululates through lyrics about a woman and her computer, meeting Adolf Hitler at a Saturday dance and so on. In spite of all that, it's a pretty record, melodies peering through the jumble sale of musics which seem to turn up on most 'serious' rock records at present. Bush's persona, though, grows increasingly like some scatterbrained Home Counties postmistress who's had one too many sherries at the WI function and starts spouting Blake. Her perennial complaint is of being seen as a sex kitten with brains, but it's difficult to sympathise with any conviction. Launching a record at the Top Ten which has the singer talking about her breasts and 'feeling his spark grow in my hand' might be a shot at getting real-capitol-P-Poetry on to Radio 1. It's still going to end up as sex therapy for unrequited fans.

I imagine there are, so far, no plans for "The Sensual World" to be covered by Linda Ronstadt. It seems bizzare to recall that Ronstadt was once considered the raunchiest thing on two white legs in American rock. After a bunch of dreary standards with Nelson Riddle arrangements, her return to her roots on "Cry Like A Rainstorm - Howl Like The Wind" (ELEKTRA) is about as sex-charged as a sniff at a Milk of Magnesia bottle. Ronstadt remains America's sweetheart so she's lucky that she doesn't have to get by on the quality of the music, which is flabby with orchestras and bad guitarists. It makes me wonder if she ever looks twice at the song on the stand: Jimmy Webbs 'I Kept It Hid', once superbly recorded by Glen Campbell, should end with a quiet shrug of the shoulders, but Ronstadt gives it the full emotional breakdown.

Pop-sex is still most successfully handled by gentle, allusive words and music, and the best performer in that style is the Canadian songwriter, Jane Siberry. She is painfully thin and wears a pointed, Jack Frost face. Her new record, "Bound By The Beauty" (REPRISE), is more or less thrilling in its ingenuity and capriciousness - at one point, she does a piece called 'Everything Reminds Me Of My Dog' - and it ends with two songs, 'Miss Punta Blanca' and 'Are We Dancing Now', which swim in all the sensual charm and secrecy which Kate Bush splashes desperately after. She's also very funny. I'll give you that name again: Jane Siberry.


Date: Wed, 27 Dec 89 04:29:56 EST
From: chris@world.std.com (Chris'n'Vickie of Kansas City)
Subject: Washington Post reviews

Vickie here. This appeared in the Washington Post. Hope no one has posted it already.


The photographer Diane Arbus, who made a brilliant career of capturing the essences of unusual people, had an insight into eccentricity, "If that word as too double an edge," Arbus wrote, "we could use some others: the anomalies, the quixotic, the dedicated, who believe in the impossible, who make their mark on themselves, who-if-you-were-going-to-meet-them-for-the-first-time-would-have- no-need-of-a-carnation-in-their-buttonhole."

That pretty twisty definition might well suit such contemporary singer-songwriter-musicians as Jane Siberry, Kate Bush and the extraordinary newcomer Mary Margaret O'Hara, who are foremost among a growing group of women wielding the triple threat of studio finesse, a range of concerns far beyond the "love song, and a concomitant disregard for conventional commerciality. Each has a sound and a poetic voice so personal, you might feel you'd recognize her on the street after hearing her records.

... [stuff ybout other artists deleted]



A teenage prodigy discovered by Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour, British thrush Kate Bush moved from the sensual and occasionally brilliant boudoir concerns of her 1978 debut "The Kick Inside," to the ambitious (what other word for a pop record that opens with a paraphrase of James Joyce's "Ulysses?") self-produced techno-expertise "The Sensual World" (Columbia). It's her sixth album and first since 1985's "Hounds Of Love." which introduced her to American audiences.

Though she's gained a reputation for highly theatrical videos and vivid stage performances, Bush is a reclusive studio obsessive, and except for her duet with Peter Gabriel on his "Don't Give Up" single, she's been all but invisible for the past several years as she's tinkered with "The Sensual World" in her home studio in London.

With its swoony swoops and flourishes, and given her tendency toward acting every color and character in her populous songs about erotic instinct, Bush's voice is lovely, but arguably an aquired taste. Here she plays against a musical backdrop more lushly baroque than ever, an audio world tour crammed with special effects. Bush plays assorted Fairlights, DX7s and just plain pianos here, and her sidemen include guitarist Gilmour, who places a slowly uncoiling solo at the center of "Love and Anger." An early proponent of world music (Gabriel's influence rubbing off?), Bush taps into the Bulgarian trend and employs the metallic harmonies of the Trio Bulgarka on three songs, and visited Dublin to flavor several tracks with Celtic harps and uilleann pipes.


Date: Wed, 3 Jan 90 10:47:14 PST
From: ed@das.llnl.gov (Edward Suranyi)
Subject: Jan/Feb issue of Option

The Jan/Feb issue of Option has a review of the album, and it's pretty good:

KATE BUSH: The Sensual World

Over the years Bush's voice has matured from a fingernails-on-a-chalkboard shrillness to a finely controlled instrument with amazing vibrato, falsetto and sustaining capabilities. These eleven new songs (one cassette/CD only) are perhaps the most personal of Bush's career. This album is somewhat of a celebration of sensuality; omnipotent carnal images mingle with submerged Freudian suggestions and Bush's personal revelations. Uniting Celtic instrumentation with modern technology (Bush is a studio wizard and a master with synth-sequencing gadgetry) and utilizing the likes of Bulgaria's Trio Bulgarka and uillean pipist Davey Spillane, she's taken on some heady yet intimate subject matter.

The opener (said to have been inspired by Joyce's Ulysses ) embraces the erotic world of flesh, sex, and love with its lusty rhythms and Celtic-mid-eastern accents. "The Fog" and "Reaching Out" explore childhood, adolescence, and separation ripe with earthy images and bodily metaphors. "Never Be Mine" is hopelessly romantic in its self-realization that the dream of love is often more powerful than the reality. The melody lines, hooks, and bittersweet delivery here find Bush at her most approachable; the most immediately memorable, soothing song of her career. The Sensual World is clearly the work of a matured artist at the top of her form. (Columbia) -- Brad Bradberry

On to The Reviews Part 3

written by Love-Hounds
compiled and edited
Wieland Willker
Sept 1995 June 1996