Review Summary: The queen of Bjork's chess board of albums has arrived.
Since her breakout of popularity in the mid-nineties, Icelandic singer Bjork has been notorious for her creative music and wild actions, such as her attacking a reporter in Bangkok, or her one of a kind performance at the 2004 Winter Olympics open ceremony. At the ceremony, Bjork stood high in a stadium and as she sung “Oceania”, her dress unfolded and spread over the entire stadium floor like a wave of water. Before these antics began though Bjork was a blossoming musician with vocal power and creativity that would take her far in the music business. After a 1993’s Debut
, Bjork received a decent amount of attention, but she constantly strived to improve herself, thus after Debut’s
time came and went Bjork moved to England and began work on her sophomore release Post
. Essentially Post
was a concept album of her new surroundings and the things she experienced, even the name comes from the word ‘postage’ like she was beings shipped off to her new home away-from-home.
If improvement is what Bjork was after its no doubt she reached it as Post
is clearly a musical standout compared to Debut
. It built greatly on the firm foundation already set in place with blend of loud broad vocals, to quiet vocals all laid over electronic noises. One of the most obvious of this improvement is the opening track of Post
, “Army of Me.” A loud industrial song with Bjork’s classic slowly creeping voice crawling through the verses until the dramatic cut off at the chorus when Bjork explodes with, “and if you complain/once more/you will meet/ and army of me,” over a simple electronic beat and grinding noise of a synthesizer. This style of music continues into the second track, “Hyper-ballad” just not as loud as the previous. “Hyper-ballad” also contains some of the most uniquely random lyrics that would later help Bjork reach ultimate fame. The lines “We live on a mountain/Right at the top/There's a beautiful view/From the top of the mountain/Every morning I walk towards the edge/And throw little things off/Like: Car parts, bottles and cutlery/Or whatever I find lying around,” standout to the listener most. The lines inspiration and importance are mysterious to everyone but Bjork herself. As “Hyper-Ballad” begins to draw to an end the rhythmic beat begins to pick up pace and gives hypnotic vibe, while at the same time features elements of dance music.
After the song, “All The Modern Things,” one much like the previous two, Bjork takes a major and extremely dramatic sound change as she covers the 1950’s Betty Hutton song, “Blow A Fuse” renamed from this album as “It’s Oh So Quiet.” What makes this cover music dramatic is that it keeps the same 50’s feel of the original with its loud big band chorus. The song begins at a slow swaying tempo with Bjork making “shush” noises, after a brief slow verse the band begins and the song picks up speed incredibly fast, then at random points in the chorus Bjork screams in a rough scratchy voice, making “It’s Oh So Quiet” one of the most memorable covers to be done. Once the song draws to a close Bjork regains her electronic sound again for the remaining seven tracks. Soon the slow and short loving ballad, “I’ve Been Flirting Again” starts, which acts more as an introduction to the following song, “Isobel.” This track is the most atmospheric song featured on Post
. With its distant tribal drumming and lyrics about a forest, setting Bjork masterfully sweeps the listener on a journey through the jungle. While at the same time Bjork is showing a very raw and straightforward tone in her voice making “Isobel” one of the most inspirational and moving songs not just on Post
but maybe of her whole career.
It is no doubt that Post
launched Bjorks career even further than Debut
ever could, and the following album, Homogenic
launched it even more. Clearly this and Homogenic
reign supreme in all of Bjork catalogue thus far in her career. The two albums go hand in hand like king and queen of excellent music that will be remembered for a long time. If Bjork will be able to surpass these two albums is yet to be told, but for now Bjork can only stand tall and pronounce loudly the word, “checkmate.”