The brilliant Icelandic singer also know as Björk. Let me just start off by saying; I’m a huge and loyal fan. I think she’s one of the great musical geniuses of the last 25 years. At least in the world of rock. Not only is she an amazing songwriter, her voice has the ability to make the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I could write a ten-page essay on her, however I’ll keep it a bit shorter here. One thing that I find amusing.is that she’s know around the world as “The chick who wore that swan outfit” by people who’ve never hear a note of her music. I’m also amazed by how popular she is, when I’d categorize her music as ‘challenging listening”. Especially her last couple of cds. This is not your father’s rock. I really admire her for all the chances she takes—every release is different than the one before it. Her music is constantly evolving and turning in new directions. She’s constantly exploring new sounds and pushes the envelope. And her voice is truly a marvel—she has incredible range, and her high-pitched scream is unique. I defy you to show me another singer with a sexier growl.
Björk gained her initial fame with the group Sugarcubes—a semi-punkish band that put out a string of catchy, infectious bunch of songs. Listening to them it was quite obvious that she would become a star and the rest of the band members would fade into obscurity. Her solo career began with the release of Gling-Glo, an album of Icelandic folk tunes performed by Björk with a jazz trio. It’s a refreshing recording with some outstanding music on it. In fact, even though it’s sung in Icelandic, her voice is so expressive, you can almost tell what she’s singing about. Then she released Debut, which is almost a greatest hits cd—every song on it is a gem. If you only buy one Björk cd, I would highly recommend it. My personal favorite is Vespertine. A dreamy, atmospheric recording that features a female choir from Greenland. It’s a heavenly, peaceful album that could have been composed and performed by angels. Listen to the song “Aurora” through headphones—it sounds like you’re standing in the middle of the choir. The engineering is so remarkable that there are a few times where it sound like voiced are coming from above you!
I won’t review all her recordings at this time, but I must say that each one gets more challenging to listen to. It took me three or four listens to “Volta” before I realized what a brilliant work it was. Listening to Björk around my house isn’t easy. I have to wait until I’m alone to put her music on. My wife tolerates her, and my two daughters can’t stand her. My wife’s observation is that all her songs sound like Björk. Is that a problem? I think it’s funny that allmusic.com list a number of “similar artists” under their biography of her when, in my opinion, there isn’t anybody that sounds like her. All I can say is there are two kinds of people in the world: those who get Björk and those who don’t. I sort of feel sorry for those who don’t.
Two examples of her brilliance:
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