Björk - Medúlla
Dec 11, 2022
At this point, Vespertine had become Björk most well-received album from critics, garnering universal acclaim. On the Billboard 200, the 2001 album had reached number 19, which is great! Björk’s music is getting recognized. Vespertine also did commercially well, and that is exactly what this effort deserves. You know, after watching Björk’s growth throughout these four albums, I think she deserves a nice break after she’s done with touring and promoting Vespertine.

…and that’s exactly what she did. From touring, that is, she got quite busy with recording a new album and all that. Björk had this idea to make a full-length a cappella album. No instruments, just noises from the mouth. But it can’t just be Björk singing, there must be a backing track for her to sing on, right? She brought in some beatboxers and a local choir in Iceland to help record, and then we got Medúlla on August 30, 2004. She said about Medúlla in the New Yorker:

“The album is about voices. I want to get away from instruments and electronics, which was the world of my last album. I want to see what can be done with the entire emotional range of the human voice… not just melodies but everything else, every noise that a throat makes.”

The voices and beatboxing in all the songs are quite surreal to experience in a Björk album, but I guess it’s quite pleasant to hear if you ignore that information. For the most part, songs such as Pleasure Is All Mine, Where Is The Line?, Vökuró, Who Is It (Carry My Joy On The Left, Carry My Pain On The Right), Oceania, Ancestors- wait, there’s a piano in there! That’s cheating! But continuing, Miðvikudags, and finally Triumph Of A Heart, they have this sort of beat or rhythm accompanying them, but for the rest, it’s pure humming and singing; true a cappella. Also, looking into the liner notes, Björk plays bass synth on Who Is It. Damn it, I thought it was voices only! Medúlla’s lyrics’ subject matter includes songs about Isadora, Björk’s daughter. One of them is about giving birth to her, and the other about breastfeeding. Oceania was written specifically for the 2004 Olympics, because it was being held in Australia, right? No, in Greece, which is why I find it interesting to be called what it is. Some of the songs are about gibberish, because in Öll Birtan, there’s not really any lyrics. Actually, if you payed closer attention to the music, Björk has incorporated some gibberish in her songs throughout her career. Listen to Human Behaviour or Bachelorette.

To summarize this album as a whole, it can get very pretentious at times, but overall, this extremely vocal album is great! I can’t wait to see what Björk cooks up next, hopefully it’s not her worst effort yet. That would be re-volt-ing!

Favourite Tracks: Pleasure Is All Mine, Where Is The Line?, Vökuró, Öll Birtan, Who Is It (Carry My Joy On The Left, Carry My Pain On The Right), Desired Constellation, Oceania, Sonnets/Unrealities XI, Ancestors, Miðvikudags, Triumph Of A Heart

Least Favourite Track: Submarine

I am loving these in-depth analyses you're giving into Björk's career.
I'm gonna dive into her discography in the new after having a lot of love for Fossora.
Yooooooo? Another one???
By the way this discog dive is going on well, you know how to write very entertaining material :)
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More Reviews by Kodan
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Björk - Biophilia
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Björk - Volta
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Björk - Vespertine
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