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Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I think this was the defining album in 1997 after more than a decade of experimentation, dance, trip hop and plain individualism, Bjork embarked on a more sombre, progressive and electronic sound. Homogenic really did spark the beginning in terms of firmly having a whole album consistently producing an overall defined sound. Chilly vocals, mixed with fizzy electronic sounds and unpredictable beats. " The Hunter" kicks the album off in slow predatory style, almost stalking the listener as it slowly builds to a nice steady plateau of output. One of the highlights on the album as is the follow up " Joga" . " Unravel" is more of a vocal work as Bjorks enjoys accenuating different words all bundled with her beautifully directed Icelandic slant. " Bachelorette" probably is the most accessible and commercial track off Homogenic, however the next track " All Neon Like" is an equisite combination of minimalist sound and wonderful vocals, again I cannot help thinking back to very early Popol Vuh or even Ash Ra Tempel. Definitely the pick of the bunch. " Immature" has Bjork really stretching her vocal chords and the final track " All Is Full Of Love" reverts back to a slow number but equally ending the album on a positive note.

Homogenic marked the introduction of Bjork as not only as a continued popular artist, but one with progressive pop and progressive electronic tendencies. She went on and did even more interesting works, namely Vespertine and Medulla, but still this is an excellent starting point for those keen to explore her works further and especially the progressive side of her music. Four solid stars.

Report this review (#339987)
Posted Wednesday, December 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is one of the greatest electronic albums. It has a wonderful fusion of warm string arrangements as well as abstract and stuttering beats. It doesn't have any peppy dance/house tracks like on previous albums. There are lots of instruments throughout and some unique touches especially from some accordian, violins, horns, cellos and glass harmonica which create a nice warm atmosphere.

A lot of the songs on the album are a tribute to Bjork's native Iceland and she aimed for the music to have a certain "roughness" about it, like the country's landscape. In addition there are some subtle traditonal vocals typically used by Icelandic chior men. Highlights for me include "Joga", "Bacherolette" and "Immature". The only one track on the album I don't find so appealing is "Pluto" as it's a little too warped for my liking.

Overall this album shows Bjork becoming even more interesting. Even more intriguing sounds were yet to come on later albums. Homogenic is highly recommended to all. 4 stars.

Report this review (#341426)
Posted Friday, December 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Wow, I'm simply amazed that Progarchives has included Bjork. Not that I'm complaining. I love many prog groups, and I love Bjork's music, but I honestly never considered her in any way prog or prog-related. However, when one considers her close relationship to IDM and other electronica personnel, and *their* indebtedness to people and bands like Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd et al, it certainly makes sense for her to be included. Wise choice :-)

Anyway, HOMOGENIC is my favorite Bjork album. It's recommended that newcomers start here. While her 2 earlier releases were great, they were more dance-oriented, while this one and its follow-up delve further into electronica and is clearly influenced by non-dance-oriented musicmakers like Aphex Twin, Autechre and Boards of Canada. Many of her fan favorites are on this album, including All Is Full of Love, Hunter, Joga, and Bachelorette. It also contains one of her most simple but haunting works, "Unravel." Radiohead has been known to cover this song live. Quite a compliment indeed. In fact, that's how I view Bjork - the female counterpart to Radiohead. (They are mutual admirers of each others' work, and have collaborated on more than one occasion.)

A few notes to pass on: The follow-up album, VESPERTINE, is like a companion piece to this album, so if you find you really like this one, definitely seek out the next one; it's my 2nd favorite Bjork album. HOMOGENIC contains the original version of All Is Full of Love. While that's a great song, the version that was released as a single, and which appears on her Greatest Hits album, is even better. (While many consider Bachelorette to be her best song, my favorites are the single/video version of All Is Full of Love, Unravel, Undo, and Venus as a Boy.)

Report this review (#344534)
Posted Monday, December 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars "Excuse me, but I just have to explode" -Pluto

Indeed. Homogenic was Bjork's third 90s album and a period of some turmoil for the now international star. It was recorded in Spain to get some distance from press coverage of an unfortunate stalker incident which greatly upset the singer. Coming off the long Post tour Bjork was exhausted, dealing with another failed high-profile relationship, and suffering more bad press after she assaulted a reporter who tried to interview her at the Bangkok airport. It also marked the beginning of her musical relationship with producer Mark Bell, whom Bjork called one of the most influential people in her artistic life. After two albums of chasing her musical whims wherever they would lead, she wanted something very different here. This album was to be Bjork in the "here and now" with a singular flavor, simple sounds ("just beats, strings, and my voice"), and a desire to capture the spirit of her native Iceland. She was growing weary of England and was ready to go home, physically and creatively.

As with Post, despite the critical acclaim this album has received it is a mostly disappointing affair for me. Homogenic features one of Bjork's greatest songs, perhaps her very best, a handful of good songs, and another half-album of irritating clunkers. I'm not buying the exclamations of progressive-electronic genius that she garners. There's nothing compelling to a bunch of sampled beats if the songs and melodies aren't there for some emotional connection, or if the compositions merely ride the back of the beats with little exciting diversion. Homogenic does succeed in its attempt to be a more cohesive work, where the songs connect with each other rather than the collections of different animals her first two albums were. But that alone doesn't mean much for me as a listener. Sometimes her songwriting just drowns itself in too much nonsense and other times it can't get out of its own way. I'm not surprised to read some have complained about her rather indecisive and perfectionist tendencies in the studio.

Cold and alternately boring or irritating, I can completely write off the second half of the album. This is what is known as the "front-loaded" album, where the first few tracks are pretty cool but it just dies after that. Bjork and Bell employ some genius track ordering that allowed them to stretch a few good songs into a critically acclaimed album, and I have to call them on it. Very few people will, and this abrasive and largely hollow album gets unbelievable accolades considering what is really under the hood. I can barely listen to the childish rant over nails-on-chalkboard music that is "5 Years." The only interesting part of the second half is "Pluto", where she uses her voice as pure tension-building and release, almost grating screams, it is very intense indeed. The album's worthwhile moments come in the first four songs, when some very lovely melodies that capture her love of home (especially effective with the videos) are lavished with the strings of the Icelandic String Octet. And then comes the album's lone masterpiece, the incredible "Bachelorette." This track is the musical sequel to Post's wonderful "Isobel," and follows the story of the same character. A gorgeous melody oozes to a perfect pace and strong bass line, with her vocal absolutely soaring over the cliffs, and the strings welling up behind her. Powerful stuff and an indication of what she is capable of.

Nevertheless, I'll have to be the party-pooper, because aside from "Batchelorette" this album is just nothing special. It's a noisy, emotionally cold mess. I love Bjork's voice on certain songs when she pierces the cumbersome wall of disarray, stuttering beats, and noisy screech; when she embraces the melody and does something with it, but unfortunately that happens only sporadically on Post and Homogenic. Fortunately, things were to get better on the next album, a much more personable release called "Vespertine." There the promise of "Debut" would return. 2 stars for this one-but not enough to round up.

Report this review (#352084)
Posted Monday, December 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Having listened to most of Bjorks albums, I have developed a bit of love for her, for some reason, for about 2 weeks I could listen nothing to Bjork and kind of fell in love with her, watching interviews and just kind of wanting to be with her all the time...but this little crush has died off...but who knows, our love might be one of these days.

This album seems to be one of her most critically aclaimed albums, and I can see why, for I see it as her most consistent album, with a similar sound throughout, but each song still maintaining a uniqueness.

I think this album would be the one to give someone who hadn't heard of Bjork, cause it's her most easiest to get into, with after one listen, understanding what she is doing with it.

1. Hunter - This again is one of her most well known songs, but I'm not the biggest fan of it, but within the context of the album, it fits in perfectly. It has a great trippy vibe to it. 9/10

2. Jga - One of the albums most strongest songs, with such a strong and beautiful melody throughout. Nice and serene. 10/10

3. Unravel - The lyrics are so childlike, but it adds to the beauty of the song. One of Bjorks most accomplished devolved melodies. Thanks to Guy Sigsworth I believe. 10/10

4. Bachelorette - The repetitive melody is built up throughout. Has a hidden sadness behind it, and some nice poetic lyrics. 10/10

5. All Neon Like - Very trippy and the mixing is amazing. The build up is quite intense. 10/10

6. 5 Years - Nice experimental structure. 9/10

7. Immature - Quite noisy at times, and has a bit of a punk vibe to it. 8/10

8. Alarm Call - Quite funny lyrics and one of her most upbeat songs. 9/10

9. Pluto - Very eerie and noisy, even for Bjorks standards. 9/10

10. All Is Full Of Love - I prefer the single version, but as an album closer it does bode well, but I think the album would have been better starting off with the single edit of this song...just throwing it out their. And you just kind of need to hear this song to understand haha. 10/10

CONCLUSION: She's just a genius

Report this review (#371861)
Posted Monday, January 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars 'Homogenic' sees BJORK begin the path of experimentation that has led to her presence here on ProgArchives. Though none of this music sounds remotely like it came from the 70s, it is still progressive.

To my ears - and I knew nothing of BJORK's influences when I first heard this - this album is founded in the rhythms of the WARP stable of progressive electronic/IDM musicians. 'Hunter' begins with an AUTECHRE-like series of blips, though it fills out in a way AUTECHRE never did. I heard PLAID in 'Joga', that lovely, almost jazzy rhythm behind those wonderful strings. (It is certain BJORK was acquainted with PLAID's work during this period, as they remixed 'All Is Full Of Love'). Two songs in and no sweet melodies like her first two albums: she is no longer looking to the market, but instead looking within. This album is darker, colder, smothered with ice and rumbling with suppressed volcanic activity as befits an album about her home country of Iceland and, as the title suggests, that feeling is present throughout the album. Certainly she'd done nothing as somber as 'Unravel' before... and then there's 'Bachelorette', offering us a musical and lyrical palette as broad as you can imagine. This track is justly well known for its delicious combination of rhythm, strings and oh-so-poignant vocals.

It turns out that BJORK collaborated with LFO's Mark Bell (among others) for this album. I don't know why I didn't spot that at the time: LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) was responsible for one of the seminal albums of the 1990s in 'Frequencies'. If you want insight into why this album sounds the way it does, have a listen to LFO.

The second half of the album abandons any pretense of pretty dance music. Here is the portrait of an artist ready to try anything. On occasion she overreaches herself, as with the adventurous '5 Years', a glitch-laden rhythm that fails to convince, but mostly she produces worthy material, certainly more weighty than that of 'Post', her previous album. At times the sheer outrageousness of what she does comes together brilliantly, as in 'Pluto'. I'm particularly fond of 'All Is Full Of Love' - perhaps as much for the stunning video as for the song itself. I can see why this album was an almost unanimous critic's favourite, though to describe it as the electronic album of the decade is to ignore an enormous body of work to which BJORK owes a great deal. It is good, yes, but BJORK could do even better than this.

Report this review (#420170)
Posted Tuesday, March 22, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rating: 8/10

One of those albums filled with some incredible standout compositions, and at the other completely opposite pole somehow not too bright attempts to accomplish modern/avant-garde atmospheres and structures.

"Bachelorette" is an unbelievable songwriting masterpiece.

"Hunter" is also outstanding (unbeatable beginning).

The first single "Jga" brings a beautiful landscape and "Pluto" is the most corrosive, challenging Bjork ever.

Part of the rest may be disposable but somehow Bjork finds the way to make those tracks worthly either turning them into hard-beating dancing machines ("Inmature", "Alarm Call") or deep smoothered moods ("Unravel", "All Is Full Of Love"); always on a soulful way where she knows how to ballance the machines' coldness with her touching, inspiring and memorable vocals and general interpretation.

But once you get into the atmosphere of "Hunter"... damn it makes it all allucinating, fascinating!

Report this review (#459189)
Posted Saturday, June 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars It took me a long time to get into Bjrk, it wasn't the style of music I was listening to, Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant etc... But one day, It clicked and... Wow!!!

Bjrk and jazz pianist Hiromi, are, as I like to call them, my two godess in music. Homogenic and Vespertine are my two favorite album by Bjrk. Homogenis started with the desire by Bjrk to mix strings, violon, viola & cello, on one side, with electronic beats on the other. She was persuaded to change her idea with a more stereophonic mix instead, witch resulted in a masterpiece from beginning to end.

The album start with the strong beats, curtesy of Mark Bell, of Hunter. A strong opening with good use of stereophony on the beats and effects on Bjrk voice. When the string make their entrance, they fit very well with the rest of the music. From then on you know that her idea of mixing strings with beats, not only works, but elevate the music into something unique and very strong.

Joga is next and show how strong a lyricist Bjrk is. In fact, with her unique voice, her lyrics is what I like most about her. And talking about her voice, I belived that only feeling comes out of her mouth, pure feeling and nothing else. Joga and Bachelorette are a very good exemple of what I am saying. Joga makes a good use of the mix between strings, witch starts the song, and the beats that gradually comes in, it follow the emotion of her lyrics and her voice, pure magic!

Unravel is a welcome calm between the two strong and intense songs that are Joga and Bachelorette. I really like Unravel, the use of multiple vocal in the chorus mix with the simplicity of the beats, makes it very emmotional.

All I can say about Bachelorette is that it may be the ultimate Bjrk song in terms of representing most of the element that you can find in her music, a masterpiece in it's own!

All Neon Like, the song tha fallows Bachelorette, may be not a fan favorite, but it's my all time favorite song of her. I love the repetitive beat, I love the way it built up, getting more intense and the lyrics... Most of the time, i'm in tears after hearing that song. The way she sing her lyrics is emotion in it's purest form.

5 Years is somewhat a let down compare to All Neon Like, but it's still a great song. Great groove.

Immature is the song that got me into Bjrk. I liked it the first time I heard it. I really like loop, and the loop in Immature is very good and simple, witch can be a good thing sometime, like in here. Another personal favorite of mine.

Alarm Call bring a smile on my face everytime I listen to it. Who can be cold to a infectious groove like in Alarm Call, especially if on top of that, she sings the phrases, "You can say no to hope, you can say no to happiness"?

Pluto is the agressive song of the album, Metal anyone?... Seriously, Bjrk deliver a another strong vocal performance. In concert, that song is unbeliveble! When I saw her during the Volta Tour, the place literally lift up, everybody started jumping up and down to the strong and agressive rhythm of Mark Bell, no word can describe it properly, a must.

All Is Full Of Love has two differents version, the album version and the video version. I definetly prefer the video version of the song more. On the album version, you don't have the great groove that you have in the video version, instead you have lots of reverb and a weird and slow bass loop. The only low point of the album, not the song, who is another masterpiece from Bjrk, but this particular version that doesn't fit with the lyrics or the melody at all, sad :(

In the end, if you are a fan of Bjrk, the probability of not having it is really low, but if you are new to Bjrk, it's a good place to start, but it may place the standard a little higher when you will go to listen the other albums in her discography.

Report this review (#469655)
Posted Saturday, June 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
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.

Jga 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.

Report this review (#792190)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars Bjork's one peculiar kitty. If you don't concur I suggest you take a gander at this record's cover shot. 'Nuff sed. I finally started investigating her music earlier this year and I'm working my way through a big chunk of her catalog album by album. An acquired taste, perhaps, but boring she's not. She's totally unlike 99% of the female vocalists on this planet and dares to go where others of both genders fear to tread. Thus, for a progger like myself who likes to be aurally challenged, she intrigues me with her boldness and unabashed risk-taking tendencies. Her "Debut" disc piqued my interest and her "Post" record was exhilarating in places so I was expecting great things from "Homogenic."

She opens with the sly "Hunter." A throbbing bass and staccato electronic snare effect lead to a Bolero-ish pattern that underscores Bjork's decidedly unconventional voice and affectations. "Joga" follows and it's a highlight of the CD. A string section combined with rhythmic industrial machinations create an odd dichotomy but it's what I've come to expect from this Icelandic waif and, in this instance, it works splendidly. "Unravel" is next and it, too, marks an apex of the proceedings. Deep, dark background music lopes along like a wounded behemoth while Bjork mingles two or three separate vocal tracks together imaginatively throughout. The song streams into "Bachelorette," a roiling mass of emotion reminiscent of what Peter Gabriel was into on his shadowy "Up" album. In fact, seeing as how this record came out years before that disc did, it's no stretch to believe that Mr. Gabriel was heavily influenced by the liquid nature of this tune in particular. It's richly orchestrated and dynamic from beginning to end. "All Neon Like" is a giant step away from the norm. A repetitive synthesizer-generated percussion loop drives this number that displays few definable chords. Instead, Bjork warbles over various individual melody patterns and it's not the first time she's been this adventurous.

"5 Years" is a step down. The white noise beats she employs hints that perhaps she'd spent a little too much time listening to Nine Inch Nails' experimental singles. Volatile stuff like this needs to be tempered with a lot of restraint. What's disappointing is that at this juncture things are growing a bit tedious and over-indulgent to my ears. As if responding to my complaint, Bjork then presents "Immature," one of her jazzier compositions in this batch that provides the listener with a nice change of pace. She also throws in a few of her unique animal growls that are always a pleasant surprise. "Alarm Call" follows wherein a funky undertow motivates this plodding rocker well but its heavy-handedness is slightly unnerving, even to these aging, jaded ears. Yet I gotta admit that her extraordinary singing style is what never fails to keep me engaged no matter what the accompanying music happens to be doing. "Pluto" is next. It's an up-tempo techno dance number featuring jazz-hued psychedelic incidentals interspersed here and there that turn this thing into the weirdest cut on the album. I can't help but wonder what the label honchos thought of this bizarre piece. She ends with "All is Full of Love." An arrhythmic electronic pulse wafts in and out of a fog bank of cosmic aural scenery while Bjork multitracks competing vocal lines atop the strange concoction. It's really hard for me to draw a bead on what she was trying to convey with this song and it occurs to me that it's just something that just took on a life of its own in the studio.

"Homogenic" is no dog but what I wasn't anticipating was an album so drenched in electronica and trip hop colorings. There are two things about it I miss from her previous releases. (1) Her willingness to provide a wide palate of genres and (2) her lack of playfulness this time around. Maybe the latter was due to the unfortunate suicide of a disturbed man who stalked her relentlessly. His tragic act generated a lot of unwanted publicity for her, so much so that she had to escape to Spain to make this record. No doubt that commotion affected her overall outlook and made her even more introspective than ever. Released on September 22, 1997, "Homogenic" sold fairly well, reaching the #4 spot on the UK charts and a respectable #28 in the states. I've noticed that some critics consider this disc to be a landmark in electronic music and, far from being an expert in that territory, I won't argue with their glowing assessment. However, for me it's not as entertaining as what came before. Still, I'm eager to see where she went from here. 3 stars.

Report this review (#1313997)
Posted Saturday, November 22, 2014 | Review Permalink
Honorary Colaborator
5 stars One of the coolest things music can do is create aural "environments," ones that you feel as if you could enter despite being non-existent in reality. After all, in instances of escapism, isn't the point to escape from the real world for a while? The same goes for movies and video games; depending on the genre, creating a well-defined world for characters to interact is usually one of the most important assets of either medium. So, reader, imagine this if you will: imagine a world of isolation. Think of a cold environment that prefers darkness, but doesn't completely rule out light; the voice that hangs overhead simultaneously soars and whispers as the intensity of each location changes accordingly. You have just entered the world of Homogenic by Icelandic singer-songwriter Bjork.

Homogenic was recorded during a period of reinvention for Ms. Guomundsdottir, both in musical style and image. Her first two solo albums after leaving The Sugarcubes (not counting her 1977 album, as it's labeled as juvenilia) proved to be successful commercially and critically, allowing her to build a strong fanbase from the get-go. Unfortunately, while working on her third effort back in her home in Britain, the infamous "Bjork stalker" Ricardo Lopez attempted to assassinate her with a mail bomb and then proceeded to kill himself. Overwhelmed with Lopez's death and the subsequent media coverage about the incident, Bjork moved to Malaga, Spain to have some privacy during the recording of Homogenic and relieve her stress. Homogenic is no doubt a dark reflection of these events, from the decidedly stoic-looking album cover to the isolation and coldness found in the songs. Along with that, it is also perhaps her finest and most mature effort to date.

In contrast to her previous two albums, which presented a very large array of different sounds and styles, Homogenic takes the theme of reclusiveness and lets it run through the entire experience. The bouncier atmosphere has now been replaced with something slower, more challenging, and definitely more reflective; the beats are more trip-hop-influenced, and the instrumentation puts a larger emphasis on string arrangements than before. In fact, it wouldn't be farfetched to say that this album integrates a pretty large amount of baroque pop into its sound. Luckily, just like with her past efforts, the songwriting variety is still present in spades; no song sounds alike despite sharing the same emotional weight, and the instrumentation always reflects what lyricism or atmosphere is being represented. There's still a fair share of more upbeat numbers tempo-wise, such as the aggressive and distorted "dance" (using that a bit loosely) number "Pluto" or the classically-influenced "Bachelorette," but even they don't escape the chilly isolation experienced with each song on the album. Remember how I mentioned musical "environments" earlier? They apply to this album in the best possible way. As dark and intense as the atmosphere of this album is, the way Bjork's voice, the combination of synthesizers/samples/strings, and of course the dark lyrical content combine, makes it really intriguing to listen to nonetheless. "Joga"'s probably the best example of this, with the string section being used to the greatest effect; an intro of lush (yet still depressing and dark) orchestration sets the tone for Bjork's powerful soaring voice to reach its climax during the prechorus and chorus, creating both a chilling and exciting experience. "All is Full of Love" opts to drop the beats out altogether, just creating an intimacy between the growing dynamics of the instrumentation and Bjork's impressive vocal abilities.

Speaking of which, "All is Full of Love" is perfectly placed at the end of the album, representing a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. Admittedly, the music can sometimes be pretty fun to listen to as well, despite contrasting with bleak lyrical content. "5 Years" is almost frustratingly catchy, between a repetitive descending succession of synthesizer chords during the verses and the swinging beat that anchors things together. "Alarm Call" has a similarly catchy beat almost reminiscent of something that would be in funk music, while "Hunter" opens the entire album up in a totally different fashion; rather than being catchy or upbeat, it actually ends up being one of the bleakest songs and one of the most accurate representations of what tone Bjork was going for on this album. Something that this album has that some of her albums lack, however, is a perfect stylistic balance. The record is dark and isolated, but there's just enough optimism and exploration to keep you interested; there's never too much of either, and the instrumentation follows suit by shifting dynamics and rhythms at all the right locations. The biggest strengths of this album are its focus and consistency, most likely attributed to keeping most of it devoted to a certain specific musical "flavor"; everything is just tied together very nicely.

In the end, Homogenic is not just an album; it's a journey. Bjork has crafted an electronic/trip-hop masterpiece alongside the likes of DJ Shadow's ...Endtroducing, Massive Attack's Mezzanine, and Portishead's album Dummy; some even consider it one of the best and most influential albums of the 90s. While the latter could be up for debate, I'd contend that the former is true for sure. Let's face it: if you're a Bjork fan, you probably own this or have listened to it already; if you haven't though, make sure you experience this magic for yourself. It's one of this lady's most wonderful achievements.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

Report this review (#1446064)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink

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