Bjork
Medulla


4.0
excellent

Review

by natey USER (46 Reviews)
May 25th, 2009 | 106 replies | 22,418 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: that black, 5,000 year-old blood that’s inside us all; an ancient spirit that’s passionate and dark, a spirit that survives.

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

That is the inspiration for Björk’s 5th studio album, Medúlla, the medical term for bone marrow. To Björk it is more then that: “not just you're [sic] bone marrow, but marrow in the kidneys and marrow in your hair, too. It’s about getting to the essence of something. And with this album being all vocals, that made sense.” The album is not entirely without vocals. There are synthesizers and percussive elements (contributors include Matmos and múm), but traditional instruments and their traditional uses are replaced by voice and more voice. Vocal techniques range from throat singing to beatboxing, and guest appearances include Mike Patton and Robert Wyatt. The adjective a cappella may summon to mind the choral, spacey arrangements of Eric Whitacre, or music more for show then aesthetics, but Björk avoids entering into either traps.

The spotlight is of course on the Icelandic diva. Collaborators aside, her voice is the entrée, slicing through harmonies and hazy ambience with wild appoggiaturas and fiery intensity. Yet, some of the album's most dynamic moments are her tranquil expressions. and you hear how am I going to make it right? she whispers on "Desired Constellation" after a series of lines almost painful in their violence.

The album is passionate. The "marrow" idea was a partial response to the "stupid American racism and patriotism" emblematic of post-9/11 America.
I need a shelter to, to build an altar /
Away from all the Osama's and Bushes
she sings on "Mouth's Cradle". There is veracity in seeing through faux-emotions grounded in tragedy and shock, and Björk’s stressing of the "essence" of life beneath all the stupidity is refreshing.

Written and released at a time when Björk was not short on commercial recognition, (single "Oceania” was commissioned by the International Olympic Committee and Björk performed it at the 2004 opening ceremony) Medúlla avoids the all-too-common slip in creativity and experimentation of artists at the peak of their acceptance. Instead, Björk went and made one of the most passionate, political, and boundary-extending albums of her career. And for all its eccentricities, it is a consistently appealing batch of songs, with a number of outstanding ones like the aforementioned, cathartic, “Desired Constellation”, and the buoyant "Who Is It", the second single off the album. Medúlla showcases an artist doing what all good artists should: showing sensitivity to aesthetics while exploring his or her imagination.



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user ratings (523)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
Rick van Veldhuizen (5)
An intense experiment in perfect equilibrium. An accomplishment of sorts, considering the fine line ...

piero (4.5)
Medulla succeeds as both moving, avant-garde invention and an intriguing commentary on the ever more...


Comments:Add a Comment 
marksellsuswallets
May 25th 2009



4848 Comments


Nice soundoff lol

Zip
May 25th 2009



5312 Comments


album cover is gay.

natey
May 25th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lol it needed a review. i really only wanted to say how amazing "desired constellation" and there was no comment thread

bastard
May 25th 2009



3435 Comments


This album is really good. There are a lot of heavy guitar riffs. I like it more than A Boy Named Goo. The singing is really good. That's basically all I have to say. I don't know why, but I just really like this. Therefore, I chose to give it a rating of a five. Let's put it this way, I think it's pretty good.



BallsToTheWall
May 25th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bjork can get away with any kind of reidiculous artowrk. Great review, I dont have this Bjork record yet.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2009



15003 Comments


ill probably :in depth: review this

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
May 25th 2009



3765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Im surprised this didn't have a review. Ridiculous cleavage on the artwork.

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

natey
May 25th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

HOW AM I GOING TO MAKE RIGHT?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2009



15003 Comments


wait if this is "mislabeled" as "medulla" instead of with the accent should someone fix it / can someone / whatever?

marksellsuswallets
May 25th 2009



4848 Comments


Ridiculous cleavage on the artwork.

mmm

thebhoy
Emeritus
May 25th 2009



4459 Comments


I have nothing to say for this review as it is two paragraphs haha. I'm trying to decide whether I should give Bjork a try, the last time I heard her I didn't like it, but that was a while ago now. what album should I start with?

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2009



15003 Comments


my personal favorite is homogenic

but post is really good too

elephantREVOLUTION
May 25th 2009



2740 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i love this album

natey
May 25th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i made it longer. : /
don't know why the length was an issue
http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/6439250/review/6450451?utm_source=Rhapsody&utm_medium=CDreview

Yotimi
May 26th 2009



6458 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Decent review, I just really hate this album. And I love Bjork. I just felt if you're gonna take out all the music and put so much focus on the vocals, the vocals should blow you away. But for me, this had the worst vocals with bland melodies that almost sounded like she was making up as she went. The beatboxing didn't do anything for me either as I'd much rather hear an awesome groove or drum machine pound something out. Typically I just need to listen to something a few times to "get" it, but nothing ever clicked with me or suddenly became appealing except maybe Where is the line or Who is it. And for anyone considering getting into Bjork, Do NOT start with this album. Get Homogenic or Post.

Digging: Millie and Andrea - Drop The Vowels

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2009



15003 Comments


yea but it's rolling stone that writes like ~75-word blurbs about albums

they're reviews but not really haha

short reviews are fine but not when they don't say much / aren't indepth

natey
May 27th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

negger have any critique to offer?

BSX
June 3rd 2009



1633 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Declare Independence!!!!!

natey
November 19th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

where is the line with you where is the line with you where is the line with you where is the line with you where is the line with you where is the line with you bomp bomp bomp b b b bomp

dylantheairplane
January 19th 2010



2165 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've yet to hear this....(enter frowning face here)


but Oceania is an amazing song



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