Kate Bush was always the whole packaging. She was a pop star, an artistic creator, a driven performer and, above all else, a quite astronomical vocalist. We’re taking a look at her isolated vocals on 1989 song ‘The Sensual World’.
Written by Bush as the title track for her album The Sensual World, the single arrived in September 1989 and broke the top 20 in the UK single charts. It’s a track that effortlessly displays Kate Bush’s beautifully textured vocals and her literary inspiration.
The song’s inspiration was James Joyce’s Ulysses character, Molly Bloom. More to the point it is about Bloom stepping out of the two-dimensional pages into the real world and is immediately struck by the captivating sensuality of it all. It was in fact originally intended to be on the album as Bloom’s speech from the ending of the book set to music.
Unfortunately, Bush couldn’t get the licensing agreed in time so she decided to alter the speech and create a new track. However, in 2011, the Joyce estate eventually granted Bush the license to the material and she rerecorded the song as ‘Flower of the Mountain’ – it was released on 2011’s Director’s Cut.
While we appreciate Bush moving forward with the original concept of the song, we’re equally as happy that she cut ‘The Sensual World’ before she did. The clip below sees Kate Bush’s vocal emphasised as the rest of the music is inverted on the tape. It highlights the honeyed vocals of one of the most impressive singers of a generation.
It’s not only a pleasure to listen to but, as with ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘Hounds of Love’, the vocals help to illustrate the story. Bush’s singing becomes the narrator of the theme, giving sonic instruction for the audience to follow. It’s a simply mesmeric quality to Bush’s voice and her ability to manipulate tone and expression is what sets her apart.
Listen below to Kate Bush’s isolated vocal on ‘The Sensual World’.