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Bjork's third release saw her taking on even more complex material than ever before. There was a shift from commercialism to experimentation and it was a bold and important new direction for her.
Who is she:
Bjork used to front Icelandic group The Sugarcubes, before going solo. She occasiionally acts, but is known foremost for her music.
On this album:
'Hunter' is a complex track, with an intricate set of drum beats pounding away. It is minimal and creepy, as she sings of going hunting, you are met with images of Bjork being part human and part animal. I adore 'Joga' with a set of graceful sweeping strings building to a ravishing crescendo, it is one of her finest moments. 'Unravel' finds her in typical weird mode, as she wraps her girly voice delicately around some smart lyrics. For me, this song had a sensual feel about it.
'Bachelorette' is stunning, with strings, lyrics which go beyond anything you will have heard her do before and peaking with a soaring climax, where Bjork is almost screaming the lyrics with such passion.
Weakest song: 'Alarm Call' does not sit well with me, I know she is kooky but it just made little sense and despite having a dancey feel about it, it seems out of place with some of the other more graceful tracks.
Verdict: 3rd album, best so far.
Perhaps more than most artists, Bjork suffers from the Marmite syndrome, in that people think she is a genius or a nutter in equal measure. A child star in her native Iceland, she gained underground fans through her work with the Sugarcubes before going truly global with here first release ‘Debut’. Solidifying her fanbase with 1995’s ‘Post’ album, which spawned her biggest UK hit to date, the novelty ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’, she went musically quiet for a few years although stayed in the headlines thanks to a certain incident with a reporter at an airport. Her third full studio album release with One Little Indian, ‘Homogenic’ was a rapid departure from the eclectic ‘Post’, whose atmospheric warmth and classical elements were replaced with more sparse, electronic rhythms. However, whilst more inaccessible than its predecessors, ‘Homogenic’ displays a depth to it that makes it arguably Bjork’s best album to date. From the stark opener ‘Hunter’, with its juxtopostion of sinister strings with swooping vocals, the tone is set for something spectacular. ‘Joga’ is possibly Bjork’s finest song, although it was never released as a chart-eligible single. A song about the landscape of Iceland no less (!), she sings with her usual passion. However, there’s a beauty in the song which is hard to describe, with the atmospheric strings bringing her words to life and creating a mental image about what she sings so passionately about. Another highlight is ‘Bachelorette’, with its unforgettable video featuring the story within a story within a stroy. Like ‘Joga’, it is gorgeously instrumented, and has an epic filmic feel to it. Veering from fragile and delicate to strong and robust, Bjork’s highly original and intricate style makes the song better with every listen as like ‘Joga’ is proba
bly the highlight of her back catalogue. Many of the tracks such as ‘Cocoon’ and ‘All Neon Like’ are sparsely instrumented, but work so well as Bjork’s voice is an instrument than doesn’t require accompaniment to evoke images. More expressive and complex that pretty much any other vocalist in the world right now, it is undeniably an acquired taste, but is never boring. ‘Alarm Call’ is a change of pace from the more sedate selection of songs on here. More aggressive and uptempo, it sounds a bit raw and messy upon first listen but is an undeniable grower, and was surprisingly the most successful of the songs off the album, albeit in a remixed form. The album’s conclusion is bare ‘All Is Full Of Love’, as sensual and tender piece of music as you’re ever likely to hear. Arguably the precursor to her fourth album ‘Verspertine’ which deals purely with songs of a more emotional nature rather than the abstract ideas that usually comprise an album from Ms Gudmundsdottir, its ends the album in a beautiful manner. Whilst atmospherically wintery and laden with electronica, ‘Homogenic’ still has a warm heart thanks to her vocal performance. Unlike her previous albums, it is also more coherent and the tracks gel more coherently. It may not an album to suit all tastes, and does take a few listens to fully realise its brilliance, but it’s certainly worth a buy for anyone wanting to investigate Bjork or try something a little different.
"Homogenic" is the third album from Icelandic princess Bjork and her best yet. Her unique style and voice is maintained here and on many of the tracks is taken to a new level. The numerous string arrangements throughout the album are what gives it its edge, icy and powerful they sweep the listener away into a world of the artists own making. The tracks are at times dark but, because of Bjork's voice, at the same time appear utterly harmless. The opening track "Hunter" is brilliant while "Joga" is both beautiful and majestic however I'd have to say my favourite is "Pluto", an electronic blizzard during which Bjork's voice screams loud enough to burst eardrums. With music rivalled only by the beauty and originality of the videos which accompany them Bjork is an artist always ahead of her time and incomparable to anyone else.
I was one of the lucky few who were able to hear songs from this album sung live at a secret gig. The venue was the Blue Note in London, packed full with 400 odd people - all huge Bjork fans, and everyone enjoyed it. Homogenic has a very different style to her previous two albums, and may surprise some listeners with its unique sounds. And the sounds are unique, Bjork acheived this by recording natural sounds from her native Iceland, such as geysers and moving iceburgs, these create crunching, raw sounds and unusual drumbeats. These industrial beats are beautifully mixed in with sweet strings and vocals, it sounds like Bjork has fused lullabies with death metal and created a stunning sound. And heres a trick to get even more from some of the tracks on this album. Leave the balance in the middle and you'll hear the beats and the strings; put it all the way to the left and you'll hear mostly strings, all the way to the right - mostly drumbeats. You can therefore listen to three different versions of the album. The highlights of this album are Joga, and bachelorette - which have both been released as singles. The full track listing is: Hunter, Joga, Unravel, Bachelorette, All Neon Like, 5 Years, Immature, Alarm Call, Pluto, and All is Full of Love. If you're not a huge fan of Bjork I'd recommend you listen to this album, you may be plesantly surprised. Then again you may hate it. It's worth a listen either way. Visit Blorks website at http://www.bjork.co.uk/bjork
If you own either of Bjork's previous albums but not this one, you are in for a shock. Bjork has always been known for her extremely unusual and original style of music. And Homogenic just might be the epitome of that. First off I have to say that even as a huge Bjork fan, I didn't really like this album at first. Simply put it was too weird. But I've come to realize that it's albums like these that withstand the test of time, and end up being one of the more important and influential ones. I can guarantee that you have never before heard music quite like the ones on Homogenic. Bjork lets free every last inhibition she might have had on Debut and Post. She produced this album herself, making it her most deepest, and most confessional. Each song shows an unique part of Bjork. From the low and sexy bass beat of Hunter, to the absolutely transcendental soaring strings on Joga. She mixes phat experimental electronica, with classical style arrangements. Alarm Call has to be one of her best songs, with a great funk beat you can't help groove to. She ends her musical journey with All Is Full of Love, a song that made me shed tears in its musical simplicity and lyrical sentiment. If you're looking for radio-friendly hooks and instant "hits", don't buy this album. But if you want music that actually evokes profound emotions and makes you think, then Homogenic is your answer.
It was this album that convinced me of Bjork's genius. i got as a birthday present, and listened to it pretty much constantly for a couple of months. The two singles, Bachelorette and Joga, are my favourite tracks from the album, and I challenge anyone to dislike them. The rest of the tracks aren't quite up to the same standard, in my opinion, and the album as a whole is not quite as impressive as her previous effort, Post, but if you want an introduction to Bjork, or if you must own tose singles, then you can't go far wrong with Homogenic.
I bought this CD without having heard any of its songs before. I just wanted to try something new, something different. And I was delightfully surprised. This album mixes so many different styles of music, classical in the background with pop and an amazing voice. The feeling with which Bjork sings, you almost don't need the lyrics, you can hear her story and raw emotions just with the beautiful sounds of her voice. If you want to try something new, you won't be disappointed!
Even though it is different to Post and Debut, this album is instantly recognisable as Bjork's work, thanks to her voice which may not be to everyone's taste, but is certainly unique. That is problem the best way to describe this album, unique, because although many experiment with the different elements of this album; classical music, dance beats, programming..., no one else puts it all together, often in the space of one song. One minute Bjork can be whispering or singing sweetly over a backing of cellos, and the next all hell breaks loose and she starts screaming at an improbable pitch as if she were possessed, with all sorts of electronic noises going of in all directions. This album certainly shows off Bjork's talent, most notably in the beautiful arrangements which she has written for the Icelandic string octet. Her lyrics are also much more personal than before with the almost autobiographical 'Bachelorette'. However, the only downfall with the album is that it could be seen as a bit too intellectual, with few tracks having much of a tune to speak of, and the collection having a slightly disorientating feel, but I would nevertheless recommend it, as it becomes very rewarding after several listens where more and more elements are revealed to the music.
For me this is a truly fantastic album. I have to admit to knowing next to nothing about Bjork. I'm not a fan, I don't read books about her, follow her website, or even own another album. I simply heard one track off this album, and decided I had to buy it. Bjork seems to be completely unafraid to try anything at all. One minute she can be screaming her head off, and the next track might sound quasi classical. With every track she questions the conventions of the pop world and pushes at the boundaries. I don't know whether this is someone just doing what they enjoy, and saying to heck with everyone else's opinions; or whether she is being quirky for the sake of being quirky, like a new Yoko Ono or something. But it hardly matters - the album is refreshing to listen to. If you can, get hold of the Japanese import version, which has another 4 tracks, one of which, 'So Broken,' is one of my all-time favourite tracks.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Jöga - Martin Björk
5 All Neon Like
6 5 Years
7 Immature [Mark Bell's Version]
8 Alarm Call
10 All Is Full of Love [Howie's Version]