One of my favorite websites to casually peruse when I’m bored is TVTropes.org. It’s kind of like wikipedia for pop culture. It cleverly examines the various tropes or cliches of mediums with a bit of self-knowing humor and love for what it’s analyzing. One of the tropes is “Everybody Remembers the Stripper” which describes an incident where a minor and unimportant detail overshadow the rest of the work, like Jason Biggs having sex with a pie or the big reveal of The Crying Game. I’ll admit now that I suffered from a similar phenomenon concerning Icelandic musician Bjork. My knowledge of her was pretty much cemented solely in the fact that she wore a ridiculous swan dress to the Oscars. I had no idea, prior to yesterday, that she was also capable of making extraordinarily beautiful albums like her 2001 LP Vespertine.
Vespertine is what I imagine Kid A or OK Computer would have sounded like if Radiohead had a female singer and were intent on sexing you up. It’s ambient and electronic but so overtly sexual that you may feel like you need to take a cold shower when the album is over. From her sultry vocals to the up-front sexual imagery of the album, this album does the impossible which is turning cold electronic sounds into the soundtrack of lust and passion. Her voice/music is like sex distilled into its purest form. Songs like “It’s Not Up to You” with its string crescendos overwhelms you with its sonic power and emotional force. Other highlighted tracks include “Pagan Poetry” and “Aurora”.
If you don’t appreciate electronica or ambient music, then you probably aren’t going to enjoy this album cause that’s what it essence boils down to. If you can’t handle an album that may get you a little hot under the collar with its raw sexuality, then it’s probably not for you. However, I personally found it to be a revelation. Now, I can finally appreciate Bjork for her beautiful music and not her reputation as a crazy person.
Final Score: B+