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Studio album by Kate Bush
Released November 2005
Recorded 1999–2005
Genre Alternative rock, art rock, pop rock
Length 80:04
Label EMI
Producer Kate Bush
Professional reviews
Kate Bush chronology
Live at the Hammersmith Odeon

Aerial is the eighth studio album by the British singer Kate Bush. Released on 7 November, 2005, it was her first album since 1993. The album peaked at No.3 in the UK and has been certified Platinum by the BPI and has sold 1.5M copies worldwide.



Aerial is Bush's first double album, released after a twelve year absence from the music industry during which Bush devoted her time to raising a family. The anticipation leading up to the album's release was immense, with press articles devoted to Bush being printed months, even years before.[1]

Aerial is one of Bush's most critically acclaimed albums.[2] Musically, the album is a multi-layered work, incorporating elements of Folk, Renaissance, classical, reggae, flamenco, and pop. As with 1985's Hounds of Love, the album is split into two sections. The first disc, subtitled A Sea of Honey, features a set of seemingly unrelated songs including the hit single "King of the Mountain", a Renaissance-style ode to her son "Bertie", and "Joanni", based on the story of Joan of Arc. In the song "π", Bush sings the number to its 137th decimal place (though she omits, for an unknown reason, the 79th to 100th decimal places). The piano and vocal piece "A Coral Room", dealing with the loss of Bush's mother and the passage of time, was hailed by commercial media reviewers as "stunning" in its simplicity,[3] "profoundly moving"[4] and as "one of the most beautiful" pieces Bush has ever recorded.[4]

The second disc, subtitled A Sky of Honey, features thematically related songs linked by the presence of birdsong, (the album's cover art, which seems to show a mountain range at sunset over a sea is in fact a waveform of a blackbird song). All of the pieces in this suite refer or allude to air or sky in their lyrical content. The song "Nocturn", which starts with a soft rhythm not unlike the sound of waves on a coast, stands as a metaphorical reference to lovemaking, particularly in its climactic ending bars. "A Sky of Honey" features Rolf Harris playing the didgeridoo on one track, as he had done on her 1982 single "The Dreaming" (Harris also provides vocals as "The Painter" on 'An Architect's Dream' - which takes its name from a painting by Thomas Cole - and 'The Painter's Link'). Other guest artists include Peter Erskine, Eberhard Weber, Lol Creme and Procol Harum's Gary Brooker. Two tracks feature string arrangements by Michael Kamen (one of his final projects before his death in 2003), performed by the London Metropolitan Orchestra.[5]

On 13 November, 2005, Aerial entered the UK Albums Chart at number three, selling more than 90,000 copies in its first week on release. Within five months of its release, the album had sold more than 1.1 million copies worldwide, despite very little publicity by Bush herself (she conducted only a handful of magazine and radio interviews). In Canada, the album was certified Platinum (100,000 copies sold).

On 10 January 2006, Bush was nominated for two BRIT Awards for Best British Female Solo Artist and Best British Album for Aerial.[6] On 27 January 2006, the album went up against Demon Days by Gorillaz and Coles Corner by Richard Hawley in the pop category of the South Bank Show's Annual Arts Awards, but was beaten by Hawley. UK music magazine Mojo named it their third best album of 2005, behind I Am a Bird Now by Antony and the Johnsons and Funeral by Arcade Fire.


The only single from the album was "King of the Mountain". The song makes references to Elvis Presley and the film Citizen Kane. The track was played for the first time on BBC Radio 2 on 21 September, 2005, and was made available for download on 27 September. The B-side (or second track) of the single was a Marvin Gaye cover, Sexual Healing, and is not available on any of her albums. The single entered (and peaked in) the UK singles chart at no.4, and gave Bush her first top five hit for twenty years and her third highest singles chart placing. The song also peaked at no.6 on the UK download chart.

Track listing

All songs written by Kate Bush.

Disc one: A Sea of Honey

  1. "King of the Mountain" – 4:53
  2. "π" – 6:09
  3. "Bertie" – 4:18
  4. "Mrs. Bartolozzi" – 5:58
  5. "How to Be Invisible" – 5:32
  6. "Joanni" – 4:56
  7. "A Coral Room" – 6:12

Disc two: A Sky of Honey

  1. "Prelude" – 1:26
  2. "Prologue" – 5:42
  3. "An Architect's Dream" – 4:50
  4. "The Painter's Link" – 1:35
  5. "Sunset" – 5:58
  6. "Aerial Tal" – 1:01
  7. "Somewhere in Between" – 5:00
  8. "Nocturn" – 8:34
  9. "Aerial" – 7:52

Chart Performance

Chart (2005) Peak
United Kingdom 3
Finland 2
Germany 3
Norway 4
Netherlands 7
Sweden 7
France 12
Switzerland 12
New Zealand 22
Austria 23
Australia 25
USA Billboard 200 48
Japan 53
Chart Certification
BPI Platinum
CRIA Platinum



  • "King of the Mountain" was the first track to be written for the album back in 1996 - nine years before it was eventually released.
  • The painting credited to "James Southall" in the centre spread of the album booklet is actually a cropped and mirror-reversed (flopped) image of "Fishermen and Boat" by Joseph Edward Southall (1861-1944), painted in 1923.[1] The name AERIAL has also been added to the side of the boat.

External links

(National Post 22 December 2005)

See also


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