by Nasser Al-Qatami

Campus Times Staff

When Bjrk hit the music scene with ?Debut? back in 1993, no one expected that the Icelandic sugarcube would change the face of popular music by revamping every aspect of pop music-making. She even got Madonna almost begging for collaboration on her ?Bedtime Stories? album.

With hits such as the painfully pleasurable ?Violently Happy? and the cheerfully twisted ?Big Time Sensuality.?

Her sophomore album also succeeded in capturing catchy tunes with unique arrangements. ?Post? produced such hits as Bjrk?s sharpest number ?Army Of Me? and the funny ?It?s Oh So Quiet,? which permanently imprinted Bjrk?s mark on the pop world.

After her overwhelming success Bjrk released a remix album titled ?Telegram? and then released her darkest collection of songs on ?Homogenic? in 1997. With heavy production and intricate melodies, the third album became an example of the artist?s evolution and a masterpiece of modern music.

It is hard to ignore Bjrk?s impact on today?s music. She is one chick who is not afraid of experimenting with sounds. Bjrk is the last person to stick to pop/rock templates for her songs and that is the reason why her musical style still stands unchallenged in its originality.

?Vespertine? is her comeback to full length recordings after her short, but successful stint as an actress. On the cover, the Icelandic princess sports the infamous swan dress she wore to perform at the Oscars. Her leading-role debut in the critically acclaimed ?Dancer In The Dark? proved that the guru of quirk is a multi-faceted talent. However, music is where she specializes ?or used to.

The album opens with the subtle but warm ?Hidden Place.? The video for this single follows Bjrk?s bodily fluids being exchanged across her face. It might seem gross, if not totally disgusting, yet it grabs you like no other video these days.

Bjrk does not stray from her avant-garde style with her fourth full-length release, but she follows a milder approach that takes away some of her zest. The songs ?It?s Not Up To You? and ?Undo? are doze hymns and ?Cocoon? is simply a sad excuse for a song.

Since her second release, ?Post,? Bjrk has been ice shovelling her way into balladry, which she successfully blended into ?Homogenic.? However, an album almost full of slow numbers is a first time for Bjrk.

Some of the songs on ?Vespertine? sound like a collection of B-sides. ?Pagan Poetry? starts off with ambition, but then merges off into the bland atmosphere of the album.

?Frosti? is a jingle-bell instrumental track that opens for the sappy ?Aurora.?

The melancholy does not stop there.

?An Echo, A Stain? sounds like a trip down someone?s digestive system after a heavy meal of bean burritos.

This trend goes on as the album fails to progress. The title for the song ?Sun In My Mouth? sounds catchier than the song itself.

The album takes a late turn with ?Heirloom? and ?Unison,? but whatever Bjrk captured there gets killed with yet another bleak track ? ?Harm Of Will.?

This is the only album Bjrk has released that lacks musical substance. Compared to the poppy ?Debut? and the striking ?Homogenic,? this album seems like a fall more than a rise. ?Vespertine? lacks Bjrk?s signature catchiness.

It is unlikely that Bjrk will see her fanbase growing anytime soon with the release of this dull album.

Contact Nasser Al-Qatami at nalqatami@campustimes.org.



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