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Album Review

By the late '90s, Björk's playful, unique world view and singular voice became as confining as they were defining. With its surprising starkness and darkness, 1997's Homogenic shatters her "Icelandic pixie" image. Possibly inspired by her failed relationship with drum'n'bass kingpin Goldie, Björk sheds her more precious aspects, displaying more emotional depth than even her best previous work indicated. Her collaborators — LFO's Mark Bell, Mark "Spike" Stent, and Post contributor Howie B — help make this album not only her emotionally bravest work, but her most sonically adventurous as well. A seamless fusion of chilly strings (courtesy of the Icelandic String Octet), stuttering, abstract beats, and unique touches like accordion and glass harmonica, Homogenic alternates between dark, uncompromising songs such as the icy opener, "Hunter," and more soothing fare like the gently percolating "All Neon Like." The noisy, four-on-the-floor catharsis of "Pluto" and the raw vocals and abstract beats of "5 Years" and "Immature" reveal surprising amounts of anger, pain, and strength in the face of heartache. "I dare you to take me on," Björk challenges her lover in "5 Years," and wonders on "Immature," "How could I be so immature/To think he would replace/The missing elements in me?" "Bachelorette," a sweeping, brooding cousin to Post's "Isobel," is possibly Homogenic's saddest, most beautiful moment, giving filmic grandeur to a stormy relationship. Björk lets a little hope shine through on "Jòga," a moving song dedicated to her homeland and her best friend, and the reassuring finale, "All Is Full of Love." "Alarm Call"'s uplifting dance-pop seems out of place with the rest of the album, but as its title implies, Homogenic is her most holistic work. While it might not represent every side of Björk's music, Homogenic displays some of her most impressive heights.

Customer Reviews

Emotional Landscapes

I still think this album is Björk's crowning achievement, when she was at her most personally expressive, and experimentally collaborative. The album as a whole is stunning, an emotional arc from the wounded and vulnerable moments of Joga, Unravel, and Bachelorette through to the bold and overwhelming Alarm Call and Pluto, and coalescing into the transcendant All Is Full of Love(the Chris Cunningham directed video is not to be missed).

The album has always told me a very personal story of love, loss, and growth, while each song paints a landscape of unique colours and tastes. It's an incredibly visceral experience and lead me on a quest to discover what was at the heart of her music by collecting and listening to all the homogenic remixes. This quest is best understood through a quote from William Gibson's "Fragments of a Hologram Rose:

"A hologram has this quality: Recovered and illuminated, each fragment will reveal the whole image of the rose."

The remixes and singles did just that for me, but I was able to view the rose from a new angle every time.

I highly reccommend this album to anyone with an appreciation for art.

Still my fave Bjork cd

So pretty. Still the only cd of hers that I still play today.

One of my desert-island discs

While pretty much any album from Bjork's catalog is worth listening to for any pop music fan with a taste for innovation and experimentation, for me Homogenic is her chef-d'oeuvre. The general production formula is simple: volcanic beats + string octet + Bjork's raw, intense vocals = album. The results are far more than the sum of its parts, a collection of songs that clenches the heartstrings, rumbles the floor and expands a pop music fan's mind.


Born: November 21, 1965 in Reykjavik, Iceland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Björk first came to prominence as one of the lead vocalists of the avant pop Icelandic sextet the Sugarcubes, but when she launched a solo career after the group's 1992 demise, she quickly eclipsed her old band's popularity. Instead of following in the Sugarcubes' arty guitar rock pretensions, Björk immersed herself in dance and club culture, working with many of the biggest names in the genre, including Nellee Hooper, Underworld, and Tricky. Debut, her first solo effort (except for an Icelandic-only...
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