Sunday, May 20, 2007

Bjork's Dull Flame

I've been holding off on this post for a couple weeks, because I didn't want to have to type what I am now going to type:

The new Bjork album just isn't that good.

Volta isn't terrible, mind you. I like Innocence when it's not giving me a headache, the Antony duets are strong enough and I See Who You Are is a mostly good example of the recent spate of songs about lovers dying and, presumably, burying eachother (see Iron & Wine's Naked as We Came or Wilco's new On and On and On or, well, pick any Decemberists song). But the latter, like many songs on this album, never takes off. Where are the hooks?

I am so not a "where are the hooks?" kind of guy, but when you make an album with Timbaland that has several songs based on very hard beats - Declare Independence is Industrial Rock, for Chrissake - you expect to want to maybe, at least once, if only for a minute, get out of your seat and dance. Or maybe even just bop your head.

But Bjork isn't having it.

I guess maybe I tapped my toes once or twice for Earth Intruders, but the production - I can't believe I'm saying this about a Bjork album - is kind of murky and the beats don't get the chance to beat your brains around a bit. Even her quirky English issues - I think she means Earth Intruders as some kind of return-to-the-soil revolutionary guerilla force, not space aliens - annoys me here. And why does it end with a minute-and-a-half of foghorns?

My favorite track on the album is The Dull Flame of Desire - Bjork and Antony have two of my favorite voices in the world - but I'm still trying to understand why the song had to last seven-and-a-half minutes when there are only 10 lines to the lyric. Like Declare Independence, it starts off with such great promise, then just plods along, with peaks that just aren't majestic enough. In the case of Dull Flame, the high points are the highest on Volta, but if I'm within reach of my mouse, there's little chance I'm making it all the way through.

I do love the high school band horns on this album, and I hold out hope that Bjork will sneak up on me with this one. But I expected it to put her earlier albums to sleep for awhile and, instead, it's only making me appreciate them more. Released: May 8. UNNECESSARY VOODOO.

1 comment:

muffin said...

aw really not that good?
i like Earth Intruders a lot, made me curious to listen to the whole album... i think i'll still give it a chance, if i'll ever have the time to do so.