The early months of 2015 did see, not only one, but two of my household queens return to the more stellar versions of themselves.
BJÖRK VULNICURA (One Little Indian)
The opening is magnificent. Stonemilker, sublime beyond belief, is the best piece of music Björk has written in years and while it reminisces of her most beautiful earlier work, it still holds the aura of her more arty pieces, which she has indulged in during the later part of her career. Then we have Lionsong, yet another majestic, utterly beautiful track, with those heart-wrenching lyrics – “Once it was simple/One feeling at a time/It reached its peak then transformed/These abstract complex feelings/I just don’t know how to handle them“. How can you not love this?
But I won’t lie, it didn’t take me a single listen to get these songs under my skin, we’re talking more like 10-15 times, maybe even more. Because Vulnicura is so overwhelmingly ambitious, so highly pretentious and so rich on layers and details, that it could easily be overseen as just that, an overelaborated and arty album, So it’s no secret that to a start, I found myself distancing from it, since it was so much to grasp and this music requires your full attention. And clearly remembering how both Biophilia and Volta left me baffled and bored, I wasn’t sure if Björk would ever be relevant to me again.
Yet there was something there that kept me coming back and listening to it over and over again. And once I got past my preconceived ideas, I fell and I fell hard. These compositions have nine lives and then some. Once you think you had it all figured out, she changes course and surprises me all over again. It’s rich and at times overpowering, but the fact that she’s put her broken heart and home out on display, puts these arias in a totally different perspective. Yes, arias is the word. Like the ten minute long Black lake, that with its structure is resembling more of a classical piece than anything else. And it’s mindblowingly amazing.
I still do hold Vespertine as my favorite Björk album, but this her nineth, is definitely taking the place of the runner up. Because there’s nothing elaborate about it, not at all, it’s just pure emotion, pure raw, heart-wrenching feelings and it’s grand. Vulnicura is beautiful beyond words.