January 21, 2009
Since I have promised myself to keep this blog up to date and interesting, I must incorporate some new routine practices. That being said, one of these routines I’d like to explore is the world of influential albums that are not so current. To greater appreciate newer music, it is also important to understand where we came from.
I proudly introduce the first in the “Old Favorites” series:
Bjork is a terribly odd person. It is always discouraging when an artist’s eccentric lifestyle choices interfere or reflect poorly upon their artistic contributions (I’m talking to you Ryan Adams), and Bjork is a perfect example of this malady.
Since I was in junior high I have fiercely defended my fondness for Bjork’s music. I may not have fully understood the more technical aspects of her repertoire (I was only twelve years old), but I knew that her voice was gorgeous and that her beats were catchy. Years later, after hearing countless wannabes and imitators, I have come back to Bjork’s music with a better appreciation for her craft.
Homogenic is like the matriarch of modern electronic pop music. It is a risky, frightening record that pushed the boundaries of what was and what was not “pop”, and the results are absolutely breathtaking. Songs like “Joga” are so hypnotizingly beautiful and mammoth in scope, that they only seem to amplify the haunting vulnerability of songs like “Undone”. The jittery masterpiece “Hunter” is a true turning point in Bjork’s career, and perhaps a turning point in electronic music.
Here Bjork is showing her genius. She proves that her voice is not restricted to drum machines, orchestral arrangements, or synthesizers, but rather that she can combine these elements endlessly and comfortably. Perhaps the most striking thing about Homogenic is that despite all of its weaving beats and dissolving synths, the record culminates with a beautiful, beatless swan song in “All Is Full of Love”.
While Homogenic remains silently groundbreaking, part of me can’t help but imagine Panda Bear falling asleep to this record. It’s true that Bjork is easily overlooked by the populous, but I still hold significant faith in the fact that the “right” musicians have not ignored her completely, and we have all benefited from this act of selective listening.