Friday, December 14, 2007

The 20 Best Albums of 2007 - Bjork: "Volta"

19. I must disclose that my opinion of this album is influenced by the fact that I heard 9 of the 10 songs for the first time at Bjork's  performance at Coachella. Since it was the end of the first night of the festival when she took the stage (clad in an outrageous outfit, amid an all-female Icelandic brass section, a stage lined with flags and sci-fi prop instruments), I was tired but nothing was stopping me from having a great time. Needless to say, this was musical theater of its own sort and it absolutely makes it impossible for me to judge these songs objectively in studio form. Fuck it, it's my list and I listened to this album a ton over the Summer to warrant its praise.

Like we have come to expect, Bjork did a complete musical 180 from the sound of Medulla. Whereas that one focused on the versatility of the human voice, Volta embraces technology wholeheartedly. There's a whole lot of melting seemingly disparate sounds, instruments and genres into a musical hodgepodge of songs that you'd think should sound way more overwrought than they are.  It's probably because Bjork always manages to wrap everything with a bow in a way that undeniably bears her imprint. From the studio to the stage, every minute detail has been planned and strategized to always point the focus back to that gifted voice. Dedication to the craft like that isn't exactly easy to find anymore.

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