Björk can’t outdo herself
I like Björk. I really do, but I also really don’t know why. Her new album is pretty crazy–with her soaring voice (I get goosebumps sometimes, hear the song “Play Dead” on Debut, for example), and tribal drums pounding down the rhythm.
Björk said about her 2001 album, Vespertine, “This album is partly about creating a cocoon.” I’m not entirely sure why this is a sentiment I strongly relate to. I don’t mean to say that I feel the exact same way about the album, but the sensitive awareness of crawling inside a warm home of your own materials is something I think I might find immense joy in doing. Maybe that’s why I like Bjork, perhaps we share a metaphysical wavelength.
How do you follow up an album like Medullah? That shit is awesome. That particular album lacks instruments–it’s all voices, choirs chanting the harmonies and melodies, Rahzel laying down the beats with the mixing board that resides in his throat. It’s insane… insanely crazy and undeniably bad ass. You’ve never heard anything like it, I promise. Volta? You’ve heard it before, trust me.
It isn’t that Björk has decided to slack off, but how does one continue to outdo themselves? Medullah completely outdid Vespertine… while allowing Vespertine to maintain it’s own unique and credible identity. Volta’s identity has already been captured and discredited. My disappointment, however, is not Björk’s fault–it’s mine.
I expected too much, I expected Björk to outdo herself time and time again, and this view and expectation just isn’t realistic. If I could separate the albums apart from one another, and look at each one as their own respective entities, I would probably say Volta is a great record. It’s got everything–production by Timbaland, tribal drums, oriental string work, and a guest appearance by Antony on the track “The Dull Flame of Desire.”
However, this isolation is not something I can do with Björk. Listening to her evolution has been so much fun, but this is a stagnation period in her evolutionary process, and that’s where the disapointment lays. It isn’t that the album isn’t very good, or that Bjork has lost her touch, it’s that I expected too much.
I halfway expected Bjork to be the one to come out and make the album of the decade (the oughts, if I’m not mistaken), which she hasn’t. Had I never heard Björk before, I think I would love this album. So, see? It isn’t her fault. Instead of letting her meet her own expectations, I forced her to meet mine.
“I See Who You Are”