Woah. What the fuck?
Well that's quite the change of pace. After the absolutely phenomenal "Vespertine", I didn't really know what to expect from Björk. I mean, she already got the highest possible score I can give, so anything after that is probably just going to be more of the same stuff but at a lower level of quality, right?
NOPE! What Björk has done with this album is take a massive left turn and make her strangest, most experimental album yet. And the result is pretty damn solid!
A chunk of this album is actually relatively a cappella, which I honestly wasn't expecting to work so well. Obviously Björks' voice is one of the main reasons I've loved her music so much, but it's also the instrumentals that go with her voice that make everything come together so well. But here, we actually get vocal performances from other people instead of the usual mix of electronic beats and gorgeous orchestral instrumentation.
After the first track, I was absolutely bewildered. "Wait, this is Björk?" I thought. It's such a sudden and surprising change from what all her albums before this have been, and it caught me completely off guard. At first, I wasn't really that into it, but as the record kept progressing this newly acquired sound of hers started to grow on me.
Towards the end of the first half, I was starting to get a bit bored of the very simple formula that was being used for the songs. Thankfully though, the second half is much more complex, entertaining and fun. I just love how the vocals (including Björks') all blend together and basically act as the instrumentals for the album. It's such a unique and interesting idea, and she really ties it all together and makes it work!
The lyrics here are nice. Not nearly as beautiful or thought provoking as they were on previous releases, but still interesting enough. "Vökuró" is a really sweet and heart warming song Björk wrote about her daughter. That, along with a handful of other tracks here, are sung in Icelandic. It reinforces how flexible her voice is, and how much control she has over it, sounding just as beautiful in her native tongue as it does in any other language.
My only real complaint with the record is that it's a bit all over the place. There's not much cohesion between these tracks, and though the project doesn't drag much, there are still a couple songs that could have simply been left out.
5 albums in, and Björk has not yet managed to make anything that isn't simply amazing. Hell, I'd say this is my least favorite project of hers so far and it's still great!
Overall, this was a very unique and interesting album that marks even more artistic and sonic evolution for Björk. Can't wait to hear what's next.
Favorite tracks: Where Is the Line?, Desired Constellation, Oceania
Least favorite track: Show Me Forgiveness