Saturday, 14 November 2009

Björk Part 2

After a month and 10 days of not posting anything, I've finally found some time to scribble my thoughts out concerning Björk's latter two albums. And here they are:

Medúlla (2004)

This is probably Björk's most experimental record. There's so many things she's never done before on this one, such as sing accapella and collaborate with other, highly varied vocalists. There are several songs on here that are less than two minutes and completely beyond the realm of pop songwriting, which in the past was Björk's ususal MO. Since there are mostly no conventional musical instruments, the album sounds so different from all of Björk's other albums, and like nothing else I've heard. The singer and all her collaborators really got creative this time and it mostly succeeds. "Ancestors" is slightly unlistenable, though I appreciate the risk-taking and that it is not just a regular pop song. Though it must be said, some of the more conventionally structured tracks are some of the highlights: "Who Is It" and "Mouth's Cradle" are both phenomenal. This album really reminds me of fall and winter, in that it's the kind of album to listen to when it's cold outside since it's so full of warmth, much like Vespertine. But, unlike her previous record, none of these songs are too long or same-y. There's enough variety AND unity.

Volta (2007)

Now, as I've previously written, I'm not a fan of Post. However, Volta is easily Björk's weakest album. There are some outright absolutely boring and unmemorable songs, like "Pneumonia" and "My Juvenile." And then there's the clunky duet with Antony "The Dull Flame Of Desire." The songs just don't seem to really go anywhere; they just sort of meander around, without any real direction or drama. The album's not all a loss, approximately 4 songs are actually pretty good ("Earth Intruders," "Wanderlust," "Innocence," "Declare Independence"), but still they are overly complicated, too long or have vocal/lyrical/melodic problems. "Innocence," for example, has too many samples and tries to force a melody that just isn't working. It wants to be spontaneous and spirited, but it sounds strained and a bit flat. I think maybe Björk and her collaborators just tried to do too much and didn't edit enough. Pardon the cliché, but sometimes less is more (see Medúlla for proof).

Overall Ranking of Björk's Major Studio Albums:

1. Homogenic
2. Medúlla
3. Debut
4. Post
5. Volta

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