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Björk - Homogenic CD (album) cover

HOMOGENIC

Björk

 

Crossover Prog

3.68 | 115 ratings

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AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars "Homogenic" is the album released following the notorious event where she was stalked and frightened out of her wits by a mad fan. The songs seem to mirror her state of mind which is more paranoia that usual given the circumstances. This was also the period that made headlines with a viral video when Bjork went beserk attacking a reporter at Bangkok airport, and I remember seeing this and thinking that Bjork is the real deal; she really is a nutter. This album perhaps cements this sentiment for me but it is not as bizarre as albums to come notably "Medulla" and "Vespertine". However "Homogenic" is Bjork becoming more experimental and distant from her fans. She feels protective of her real emotions on this, but determined and confident to add metaphorical imagery to convey hidden truths of the human condition. The lyrics are among the best she has written I believe and I will reiterate many in the review.

Hunter gets the ball rolling, obviously about the stalker event. Bjork's voice is chilling with effects and a trip hop rhythmic electronica. A menacing song that is surprisingly full of cellos and strings enhancing the ominous atmosphere.

Jóga has a nice string section though still sounds downbeat. Bork tells stories about the darker nature of the mind. She sings "I feel your emotional landscapes, and you push me up to a state of emergency, how beautiful to be, a state of emergency is where I want to be." The electronic percussion is ethereal and effective, competing against the strings; this is dark stuff and fills me with a sense of dread. It builds to a break of electronic Industrial synth that I like.

Unravel begins with soft brass sounds, and odd sounds as Bjork improvises a melody. Her verses are full of questions, and thoughts of alienation, bad memories and inescapable seclusion. Nice to chill out to when you are feeling low, and her music seems to speak to the darker emotional state, it feeds off it.

Bachelorette has a wonderful orchestral arrangement, like a cinema soundtrack and a driving rhythm. Bjork sings of being a fountain "in the shape of a girl, you are the bird on the brim hypnotised by the world, drink me, wash your beak in the stream". I like the imagery a lot, a bird drinking in her juices, she just captures the feeling of loss and longing like no other artist. The metaphors are there; "if you forget my name you will go astray, Like a killer whale". She is a master of allegory and idiomatic expressions; call it poetry because that is the form of her lyrics.

All Neon Like is a capella quiet Bjork for a while and I am not a fan of this side of her craft. The music chimes in later and tends to build with electronic pulses. The imagery is as usual fascinating; "The cocoon surrounds you embraces all, so you can sleep fetus style". She says she will cut a slit open to allow the luminescence out; sounds like suicide, but she promises "I will heal you". Chilling to the bone.

5 Years is next, with a grinding keyboard and some loud industrial sonic distorted percussion electronica. Her voice is louder mixed to the front and she sings of cowards that say they want what they can't have, and "I dare you show me your pulse, what's so scary but the threat inside, you can't tend to love, its obvious, I dare you to take me home." She seems to be screaming out to the stalker as that makes sense as a source of inspiration. The synths sound like Gary Numan I noticed, so I like this one a lot.

Immature ? Mark Bell's Version is very electronic and brooding. Bjork asks "how could I be so immature" to put up with this unnamed lover. She gets aggressive on this screeching out occasionally, pent up rage feeling real and vulnerable.

Alarm Call has more strong electronic sounds but it sounds too similar to the previous tracks. Bjork growls more but it does not strike me as a stand out performance. Pluto is next with that poor planet getting a mention at least in the title, before it became nothing more than a mini planet. Bjork's vocals are synthetically processed but it is quite awful. The rhythms are powerful and techno speed but this is an industrial headache.

The last song is All Is Full Of Love ? Howie's Version, and has a symphonic texture, swathes of synths over Bjork's mystical vocals. She sounds confident and pretty here, pleading "you have to trust" and "trust your head around, it's all around you, all is full of love, all around you." This is very nice to end the album on a ray of hope.

"Homogenic" is one of the better Bjork entries by a huge margin. 3 stars.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 3/5 |

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