Classic Album of the Week: Bjork-Homogenic

Bjork’s third full-length saw the combination of her iconic vocal mannerisms with an equally potent electro-acoustic instrumental pallet, a bit more focussed than her sophomore LP.  The album is relentlessly icy as electronic beats and soaring strings both underpin the ridiculous passion with which Bjork delivers each line.

The album dots the line between symphonic grandeur and more condensed danceable material.  “Pluto” pulls straight out of the industrial underground with a death-defying vocal effect; “5 Years” is a bit stripped back, but the beat delivers a bit of head-nodding ear candy; then, on the other hand, tunes like “All is Full of Love” or “Bachelorette” read as operatic.

Bjork seems to find peace at the end with the triumphant “Alarm Call:” “It doesn’t scare me at all,” but for much of the album the pulsing tension in the sonic landscape is matched by Bjork’s anxious lyrics.  On “Joga” she embraces “the state of emergency,” whereas “Bachelorette” places a relationship through a dire lens: “I’m a path of cinders burning under your feet.”

Of course Bjork also maintains her talents for the tongue-in-cheek as epitomized on Post’s “It’s Oh So Quiet,” but this time perhaps a bit less brash: “I tried to organize freedom, how scandinavian of me;” “I’m no fucking buddhist but this is enlightenment.”

Like nearly all of her works, Homogenic was an entirely unique, left-field collection of tunes that also managed to conquer the world.  Her creativity is unfathomable and to this day she remains a force in music and an inspiration to songwriters of all genres.

 

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