Music by Bjork is a journey through the unexpected. Her talents lead her to challenge accepted musical structures, while still creating memorable aural images. Her own life has had similar challenges, from a mail bomb to graphic breakups.
Her third album, "Homogenic", captures many of these conflicted emotions in a form that has few parallels. (I went back and listened to this album in preparation for her most recent "Medulla", a vocal symphony)
The first song, "Hunter" utilizes a soundscape of stretched violin notes, and dissonant beats to describe a primitive and post-modern soul on a mission, a hunt, an explorer of spaces of the heart.If travel is searching/And home has been found/I'm not stopping/I'm going hunting/I'm the hunter. She comments, interestingly, "I thought I could organize freedom/How Scandinavian of me"
"Joga" perhaps addresses Bjork's inability to fathom "emotional landscapes" in the general sense. It is an appeal for the Self to be understood by the Other, decrying the "State of Emergency" which exists when 'The riddle is solved". The sounds of Icelandic volcanoes provide a haunting backdrop to the scene.
"Unravel" is a humorous song that treats the lover's heart like a ball of yarn unravelled by the devil when separated from the other, and the need to 'make new love' to restore it. This song does not quite work for me, despite Bjork's emotion-dripping voice, layered vocals and images.
This song nicely sets off the next - "Bachelorette" is a compelling song, one of her best. Interestingly, it is quite in line with pop song structures, musically and lyrically. The lyrics flow together well, the violins and beats do not intrude or wander off into strange alleyways. "I'm a fountain of blood/In the shape of a girl/You're the bird on the brim/Hypnotised by the Whirl/
Drink me, make me feel real/Wet your beak in the stream/Game we're playing is life/Love is a two way dream". At its heart, the song is a woman's cautionary tale - the lover is naught without her sustaining force. He must forever cherish her, else he 'will go astray/Like a killer whale/Trapped in a bay', quite an Icelandic image.