The Sensual World is the sixth studio album by the English singer-songwriter Kate Bush. It was released in October 1989 and peaked at no. 2 on the UK Albums Chart. It has been certified Platinum by the BPI for sales of 300,000 in the UK, and Gold by the RIAA in the US.
Bush drew inspiration for the title track from the novel Ulysses by James Joyce. Bush realised that Molly Bloom's soliloquy, the closing passage of the novel, fit the music she had created. When the Joyce estate refused to release the text, Bush wrote original lyrics that echo the original passage, as Molly steps from the pages of the book and revels in the real world. She also alluded to "Jerusalem" by William Blake in a reference to the song's gestation ("And my arrows of desire rewrite the speech"). The song includes Irish instrumentation (uilleann pipes, fiddle, whistle) under a breathy rendering of the orgasmic 'Yes' of the original text.
The songs "Deeper Understanding", "Never Be Mine", and "Rocket's Tail" all feature backing vocals by the Bulgarian vocal ensemble Trio Bulgarka. "Heads We're Dancing" includes a characteristic Mick Karn fretless bassline. The song "This Woman's Work" from the movie She's Having a Baby (1988) was re-edited for this album. On 27 November 2005 it was featured in the British TV drama Walk Away and I Stumble starring Tamzin Outhwaite. Due to that broadcast, the song reached number 3 on the UK Download Chart in late 2005. This song has also been used in a long-running UK television advert for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, broadcast between 2005 and 2008, and in the Extras Christmas Special in 2007. A version of the song was recorded by R&B artist Maxwell in 1997 for his MTV Unplugged EP.