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.