May 11, 2007
I was lucky enough to pick up a review copy of Bjork's new album Volta (that's $20 saved!) It's an incredibly, well, Bjorkesque album. From the moment I peeled back the imaginatively designed album cover (it has a peel-off sticker on the cover) I knew I was in for something strange and beguiling. There are times when I swore I was listening to a remix album of Bjork's album Selmasongs (the Dancer in the Dark soundtrack), what with it's mix of operatic horns and gut-wrenching vocals alongside epic hip-hop beats and electronica. It really is like a blend of Selmasongs and Bjork's best album to date, the amazing Homogenic.
If you've heard "Earth Intruders" - inspired by Bjork's visit to tsunami-ravaged Aceh - then you haven't heard the best that this album has to offer. I particularly loved the two duets with Antony Hagerty (from Antony and the Johnsons), "The Dull Flame of Desire" and album closer "My Juvenile". The latter one sounds like it belonged on Medulla, actually, a criminally underrated album if you ask me. On "Declare Independence" she turns into M.I.A. on cocaine, positively exploding at the seams with anger. Can't wait to see what Michel Gondry does with that when it's released as the second single (Gondry is filming the video soon).
"Wanderlust" has some amazing stuff going on in the background to match Bjork at the forefront of it. "Innocence" is dripping with Timbaland's beats and it works well and if it were sung by Justin Timberlake (heaven forbid) then teenage girls around the world would be praising it as amazing. I also particularly loved how "Vertibrea on Vertibrea"'s musical arrangement sounded like the long lost musical score of a 1940s film-noir.
There is enough wild histrionics to satisfy all long-time Bjork fans, but those who enjoy her more tranquil work will most likely be disappointed that she decided to actually have a bit of fun for a change and has gone more outrospective over introspective. Those who thought Homogenic was the brilliant masterpiece it actually is will surely get enough out of Volta to keep them happy between uptempto albums.