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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Björk -- Post


So this is where I fell in love. Impressionable teenagers can always be easily swayed by singing Icelandic pixies and sub-par Russian tennis players (hey, she was an ace at Doubles!). Everything is better on Björk's sophmore album, from the songwriting and production, to even the singing. A key word here is nuance. A lot of the sounds on Debut were simple and concrete. There's a lot more mystery to be found on Post.
Björk starts off in tough-girl mode with "Army of Me," the music and her voice already sounding far more alien than anything on Post's predecessor. She quickly turns vulnerable, though, or at least as vulnerable as Björk can be on,"Hyperballad," the song that made me a lovelorn 17-year-old. Really, what weird 17-year-old boy isn't going to fall in love with this?

Again, there is that combination of the future--weird electronic stuff, bass, and beats--and history--the lovely strings in the background--that I mentioned in the previous review, but the mix is far more sophisticated and less obvious.
The day-glo feeling of the front cover continues into "All the Modern Things," but takes a far left into the histrionic with "It's Oh So Quiet," a journey into shrieking, big-band insanity. It is Björk's highest charting song to date.
"Enjoy" is a return to the more electronic-based sound, albeit menacingly, followed by the short, symphonic "You've Been Flirting Again."
"Isobel" is the centerpiece of the album, and rightfully so, as it is an amalgam of all the sounds found on Post and contains one of Björk's ongoing lyrical themes--love/emotion/nature vs. technology/callousness/modern society. "Possibly Maybe" follows as another song to make a strange 17-year-old fall in love. It's trip hop, the lyrics are a little naughty, and she does that thing where she grinds her voice. What's not to love?

Speaking of voice-grinding, there's a decent amount of that on "I Miss You," the closest thing to a traditional dance song on Post, though not that close. This song also features a pretty sweet horn-breakdown around the mid-point.
"Cover Me," the pen-ultimate track, is a short, mysterious song that works as a nice counterpoint to "You've Been Flirting Again."
"Headphones," Post's beautiful, unexpectedly subdued closer, is even more fitting considering it's the perfect "headphones in the bathtub with the lights out" song (I keep recommending this, but no one is close to as cool as me to actually try it). A soft, calming beat and bassline, and a gentle army of Björk's wash around the speakers for five and half minutes, then Post is over, better than its predecessor in every way, and a fine promise that even better works lie ahead.

1995 Elektra
1. Army of Me 3:54
2. Hyper-Ballad 5:21
3. The Modern Things 4:10
4. It's Oh So Quiet 3:38
5. Enjoy 3:56
6. You've Been Flirting Again 2:29
7. Isobel 5:47
8. Possibly Maybe 5:06
9. I Miss You 4:03
10. Cover Me 2:06
11. Headphones 5:40

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