The best/most popular tracks posted on SC this past week. And yes, I’m choosing pictures at random now.
I trying out a new review style for Volta; track by track. This is the perfect album to do something like this with, considering how different each track is. So, with no further ado, my track by track review of Volta.
01. Earth Intruders
One of my least favorite tracks. It’s easy to dance to, but there’s just a little too much going on in it. You’d think a Björk/Timbaland collaboration would be brilliant, but they end up crowding each other. I suppose that’s just the ‘two chefs’ logic at work. Considering how great Björk’s singles usually are, this a disappointment.
A classic Björk track. The vocals have adequate space to grow, and they do just that. After Medulla, it’s great to hear the brass back in full effect. The best part, however, are the lyrics, in which Björk sings about her insatiable thirst for something new. This is most epic song on the album, much more so than than the seven-minute behemoth that follows it.
03. The Dull Flame Of Desire
It starts out well, and for a moment you think this could become a classic Björk love song. Then Antony kicks in, and you think, “okay, so it’s going to be mediocre”. Around the four minute mark, you start wondering when it’s going to end. It has very little to say for such a long song.
04. Innocence (mp3)
The second Timbaland collaboration, thankfully, turns out much better than the first. You can hear Timbaland’s beats clearly, but they’ve been toyed with to suit Björk. It works well with her vocals, and makes for one of the better straight dance songs Björk has done in a while. I don’t really understand why this wasn’t the first single.
05. I See Who You Are
This is a little like ‘The Dull Flame . . .’, but without Antony, and less boring. The strings here are beautiful, and the lyrics excellent. The slow, heavy beat is a nice retreat after ‘Innocence’. A good track, but the alternative mix you get with an iTunes purchase is better.
06. Vertebrae By Vertebrae
My second favorite track. On full volume, the brass here will tear tight through you. It’s the first track that features Björk’s guttural shouts, which should send chills up your spine. The lyrics are a little odd, but once you learn what they’re about, the song becomes downright chilling.
This one took me a little while to get. At first I thought it was boring, but after a few listens, I started to like it. It’s by far the slowest, gentlest song on the album. Once again, the brass is excellent, as is the soothing trickle of water in the background. Very beautiful.
What you’ve heard about this track isn’t entirely true. While the lyrics aren’t necessarily bad, they don’t really make a lot of sense, either. If you don’t pay attention to what she’s saying, however, Björk sounds quite nice here. The strings and percussion are also top-notch.
09. Declare Independence (mp3)
Do I even have to say anything about this track? You’ve seen it in videos, and probably heard it live. It’s the obvious masterpiece, with its slow build of noise and cacophonous beat. Not only is this the best track on the album, it’s one of the best tracks Björk has ever done. Pure brilliance.
10. My Juvenile
Maybe it’s just because this comes after ‘Declare Independence’, but this track feels completely unnecessary. It’s the second Antony collaboration, and he sounds even worse after so long without him. This track should have been left of, or at least placed earlier in the album. Its placement makes no sense.
The best/most popular tracks on SC this week.
Diplo – Young Folks Pussy.mp3 (I know I didn’t post about this, but it’s too good not to put on this list)
For whatever reason, Remix Roundup just wasn’t working anymore, so it’s been changed to Remix Monday. While todays remixes may look a little random, they’re all actually tangentially interrelated. I started with Björk, which led me to the Spank Rock remix of ‘Earth Intruders’. From there, all these other artists popped up. There are some really great remixes here, but I think my favorite would have to be Beck’s remix of Alarm Call. He tears the song apart, then uses the most unlikely parts as beats. It’s actually a little funny at times. Enjoy.
If you’ve heard Declare Independence, you’ve probably dreamed of hearing it live. Well, the folks over at Coachella got just that opportunity, when Björk performed ‘Declare Independence’ as an encore. It doesn’t disappoint live, as we can infer from the crowd’s reception. It’s every bit as kick-ass as the album version, but even more so when you mix it with Björk’s trademark crazy dancing and the light show. The backup singers even have flags to wave. I wish I was there to see it, as I’m sure the video only captures a tiny fraction of the electricity from that stage. Enjoy, and remember to use headphones.
Björk – Bachelorette.mp3 [from Homogenic]
I generally don’t write about single tracks that I can’t post mp3s of, but I have to make an exception here. Those of you who’ve heard Volta know why. Those of you who haven’t, you’re in for a shock when you hear the album’s ninth track, ‘Declare Independence’. A few weeks ago, I started hearing reports from people who’d heard ‘Declare Independence’ live. Some loved it, and some hated it, but they both described it in essentially the same way; aggressive and noisy.
Yesterday I finally heard ‘Declare Independence’, and I doubt anything could have properly prepared me for it. “Noisy” doesn’t even begin to describe this track; heavy drums, buzzsaw synths, distorted guitars, and guttural, screaming vocals turn this into the most cacophonous Björk track I’ve ever heard. But cacophonous doesn’t always mean bad; in this case, it actually means brilliant. All the noise melds into a superb dance beat, and the simple, chant-like lyrics work their way into your subconscious, until you’re unknowingly repeating them along with Björk.
Declare Independence is going to be the most controversial track on Volta; it’s probably going to be the most controversial Björk track ever. So far there’s a very clean split between fans. Some love it, some hate it, but barely any don’t feel strongly about it one way or the other. No matter how much I’d love to be the one to let you hear this track for the first time, I can’t be. So, instead, I’ll give you the closest thing I can think of; Homogenic‘s ‘Pluto’. The two songs share the same basic ideas, but Pluto still can’t quite describe Declare Independence properly. You’ll have to wait to hear it before that happens.
Björk – Pluto.mp3 [From Homogenic]
Amazingly enough, you did read that title right. Yesterday, you might have heard rumors about a Volta leak through UK iTunes, but nothing actually came of it. I wrote it off as a prank, to be honest. But now, rumors are flying around again, and it appears that Volta actually was available on UK iTunes late from Monday night to early Tuesday morning, a full two weeks before its actual release date. What does this mean for iTunes? A massive eek from Universal. This is a screw-up of the highest degree on iTunes part, and Universal have every right to be massively pissed. My guess is that iTunes is going to get one hell of a slap on the wrist.
Bjork – Oceania.mp3 [From Medúlla]
A few weeks ago I called SC ‘Volta News Central’, and baby, I ain’t lyin’. Last night Björk performed live on SNL two songs from the upcoming Volta. The first was ‘Earth intruders’, which most of us have already heard; still something’s added to it by watching Björk jump around barefoot on stage. The second was ‘Wanderlust’. It was the first time I heard that track in particular, and it probably was for a lot of you, too. Maybe I’m just overzealous because it’s morning, but ‘Wanderlust’ was phenomenal. You should note that the videos below aren’t the greatest quality; whenever Björk decides to dance around the stage, which is a lot, the video gets a bit pixelated. I’ll update them as soon as I have a better video. Still, if you missed SNL last night, these videos are required watching.
Although not technically her debut, Debut was the album that introduced the world to Björk. Her experimental-infused pop was something new and original, and would set the stage for her rise to popularity with her next album, Post. Debut is neither as poppy as Post, nor as experimental as Medúlla, Debut instead strikes a balance between the two extremes. Tracks like Human Behaviour still remain as perfect introductions to Björk; her strong, unique voice takes center-stage, while strong experimental melodies back her. Debut isn’t my favorite Björk album (I’m saving that for Volta Week), but it’s probably the one I have the most fun listening to. Despite it’s differences, Debut is essential Björk.
People have been pestering me to make a weekly playlist for a while now, so here it is; the best music post on SC over the past week.Yeah, it’s imperfect, but things will get better. Now the only days of the week I don’t have features for are Thursday and Saturday. Any suggestions?