Courtesy of One Little Indian Records.
1. Vulnicura – Björk
With Björk, each album is a separate universe of her creation. Vulnicura is a world of science and romance, of apathy and intimacy, of technology and tension. Following her split with longtime partner Matthew Barney, Björk comes across the most vulnerable she has ever been on the self-explorative tracks that construct this album. A master of metaphor, the Icelandic singer finds herself reverting to old ways in an attempt to shroud her sensitivity. “My throat was stuffed./My mouth was sewn./Banned from making noise/I was not heard.” Singing to the complexity of her emotional state, Björk obscures her love with indecipherable symbolism in the jaggedly articulated lines of “Black Lake” and in the cosmic verses of “Atom Dance.” Vulnicura is not an easy listen by any means. On the first try, it’s challenging and even unpleasant. However, what Björk has done is create a record that is so remarkably dynamic that it seems to grow with each listen, from discordant to delightful. Each time I return to this album, I hear something different, experience something new, and connect more deeply with the rhythms that once felt so distant. Shedding her cowardice, Björk is sharp but sweet with a lyrical grace that sounds like silk being woven together by strangely stunning musical choices. Directing all of the instrumental arrangements, Björk envelops the listener in cocoon of her own design, flooded with striking melodies that can only be described as out of the ordinary. Björk is Alice, the queen of the unorthodox, and Vulnicura is her Wonderland.