POLL Neon Like -- ILM artist poll #88 -- BJÖRK (voting open until April 27, 2018)

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Now "Future Forever" insists on reminding me of its loveliness just to make things difficult. There are far too many casually excellent Björk songs. I have to confess that while I have most of the records on hand and am pro-Björk in principle, I wasn't initially sure I could name 30 tracks I really truly care about at this stage. Boy is my face red!

Maximum big surprise! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Saturday, 21 April 2018 01:19 (eight months ago) Permalink

every time i'm about to give up on utopia "tabula rasa" starts and i'm mesmerized until the end. "saint" and "future forever" in particular

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 21 April 2018 15:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

ballot sent

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:06 (eight months ago) Permalink

lmao i want to change things already, is it possible to resubmit

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

i am finally in the right mood for vespertine! and it is the best album in the world

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 21 April 2018 16:54 (eight months ago) Permalink

Absolutely accepting revisions until the poll closes. Especially if they involve additions of “Its Not Up To You.”

Uppercase (Eric H.), Saturday, 21 April 2018 19:33 (eight months ago) Permalink


flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 21 April 2018 19:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

it's great how i'm obsessed with biophilia now

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Saturday, 21 April 2018 19:48 (eight months ago) Permalink

i already liked vespertine quite a bit before this poll, but it's risen up into my top tier, now. Hidden Place through Aurora is such a sustained, strong start to an album, it's ridiculous.

Karl Malone, Saturday, 21 April 2018 19:54 (eight months ago) Permalink

“An echo, a stain” is a gear shift, but it too is an astonishment.

Uppercase (Eric H.), Saturday, 21 April 2018 19:57 (eight months ago) Permalink

it is a perfect album start to finish

21st savagery fox (m bison), Saturday, 21 April 2018 19:58 (eight months ago) Permalink

relistening for the first time in a while, i honestly can't tell if the chorus melody of "unison" is interpolating something or just sounds so classic that i forgot it came from a bjork song

lowercase (eric), Saturday, 21 April 2018 20:23 (eight months ago) Permalink

not that bjork doesn't have classic melodies but like, in the "this has been around for centuries" kinda way

lowercase (eric), Saturday, 21 April 2018 20:23 (eight months ago) Permalink

Vespertine feels like a pivot moment for me, you can see both everything she has done up to that point and everything she will do afterwards - although of course you could also make a case for 'Homogenic' or 'Medulla' in that regard.

IIRC "Sun In My Mouth" is the first time a song on one of her albums feels really unstructured (rather than apparently so but not - e.g. "Headphones" or "All Is Full Of Love").

Without checking, I get the sense that every album thereafter devoted a larger and larger proportion to that approach, although arguably Utopia turns the corner on that. (this is not to say the albums necessarily get worse and worse - i.e. the worst songs on Volta are certainly "structured").

Tim F, Saturday, 21 April 2018 23:58 (eight months ago) Permalink

I dunno, "Sun in my Mouth" feels pretty solid to me.

Uppercase (Eric H.), Sunday, 22 April 2018 01:00 (eight months ago) Permalink

Compared to much of what follows, sure.

Tim F, Sunday, 22 April 2018 01:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

I get the point, it doesn’t seem like there is single repeated melodic phrase on Sun in my Mouth.

every track on Vespertine feels like a classic, it really is an amazing album

Dan S, Sunday, 22 April 2018 01:37 (eight months ago) Permalink

Hey brad, Tabula rasa is great

Like something off the score of Hitchcock’s vertigo


after party for the apocalypse (Ross), Sunday, 22 April 2018 02:17 (eight months ago) Permalink

Tabula Rasa is definitely one of the best Bjork songs

Dan S, Sunday, 22 April 2018 02:51 (eight months ago) Permalink

I may end up shortlisting this on my remix ballot:


Uppercase (Eric H.), Sunday, 22 April 2018 18:58 (eight months ago) Permalink

I don't know if that "remix" is working for me, but a Bjork Erykah collaboration could be amazing...

Soundslike, Sunday, 22 April 2018 19:32 (eight months ago) Permalink

Mostly I dig the way the "Play Dead" strings work off the chorus from "Cleva."

Uppercase (Eric H.), Sunday, 22 April 2018 20:01 (eight months ago) Permalink

listening to Utopia again. Strikes me as a culmination of her musical career; body memory and courtship both feature beatboxing similar to Medulla, and the massed choir on body memory is a lot like Vespertine. Record would it nicely as a companion to sea of honey by Kate Bush, both records feature a pagan reverence for nature. To those who haven't warmed up to Utopia, what makes the record hard for you to crack? It is fairly unyielding in its experimentation and rarely throws the listener any easy ways out. I'm finding it easier to appreciate than love

after party for the apocalypse (Ross), Sunday, 22 April 2018 22:04 (eight months ago) Permalink

arisen my senses is one of her best openers period, and Losss bangs hard

after party for the apocalypse (Ross), Sunday, 22 April 2018 22:05 (eight months ago) Permalink

It's the vocals and the sameness that keep me out--were it either more melodic or more instrumental, and about half as long, I would probably love 'Utopia'. As it is, it's neither song nor textural in a satisfying way. I also don't see it as a culmination personally, because songform, rhythm, variety--all have such huge roles in her work, besides the texture and melding of organic and electronic that 'Utopia' seems focused on. There's no way in which it seems "experimental" to be, which is in itself neither good nor bad. I love the sounds of it at any given moment, but it doesn't pull me along. To be honest, I haven't managed a front-to-back listen yet. I don't dislike it the way I viscerally disliked 'Volta.' I like it in theory. I just find it sadly a bit tedious in practice--but I keep trying.

Soundslike, Sunday, 22 April 2018 23:46 (eight months ago) Permalink

I agree it is way too long, i had to stop at track 7 cuz it felt like a slog

after party for the apocalypse (Ross), Monday, 23 April 2018 00:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

Yeah, "Arisen My Senses" is excellent, but after that, I feel as lost as I was with Biophilia

Vinnie, Monday, 23 April 2018 05:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

Excited to submit my ballot! Love the bookends of her solo career as it stands right now. Vespertine was a huge disappointment to me at the time and returning to it now I feel largely the same. Felt dispassionate and "ornate". Like she lost her spunk.

After cross referencing her bio, I just realized I just don't like much of her work that she released while married to Matthew Barney. Huh.

octobeard, Monday, 23 April 2018 06:04 (eight months ago) Permalink

(they were married from 2000-2013)

octobeard, Monday, 23 April 2018 06:05 (eight months ago) Permalink

Speaking of post-Barney matters, any love out there for "Notget"? Text search suggests no-one's said anything about it. The swelling strings and clickety clack makes for a particularly strong Homogenic Revisited sort of vibe methinks. Pleasingly so.

Maximum big surprise! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Monday, 23 April 2018 06:43 (eight months ago) Permalink

Notget/Atom Dance/Mouth Mantra is the section of Vulnicura I find totally dense and impenetrable

ufo, Monday, 23 April 2018 08:33 (eight months ago) Permalink

"Atom Dance" is one of my favourites from Vulnicura, but I think that both "Notget" and "Mouth Mantra" worked better either in strings-only arrangements or live (e.g. check out the insane Haxan Cloak version that they played live: https://soundcloud.com/bjork/mouth-mantra-the-haxan-cloak-mix-1 ). The album tracks seem to pull into many different directions at once but don't necessarily arrive at any of them.

I also absolutely adore the strings-only version of "Notget" with viola organista. It's even more dramatic and over the top when it's stripped off of Arca's beats.


ˈʌglɪɪst preɪ, Monday, 23 April 2018 10:23 (eight months ago) Permalink

I've just finished listening to everything and wanted to highlight some of the non-LP tracks I loved

Atlantic (from Human Behaviour single)
Glora (from Big Time Sensuality single)
Sweet Intuition (from Army of Me single)
Karvel (from I Miss You single)
I Go Humble (from Isobel single)
Oxygen (Evelyn Glennie featuring Björk)
Sod Off (from Joga single)
Foot Soldier (from Hidden Place single)
Domestica (from Pagan Poetry single)
Batabid (from Pagan Poetry single)
It's In Our Hands (from Greatest Hits)
Trance (from To Lee, With Love, Nick ost)
Náttúra (single, 2008)
Flétta (Antony and the Johnsons featuring Björk)

Also wanted to say that the Greatest Hits from 2002 is possibly my favourite greatest hits compilation from anyone, the tracks are so well-chosen and well-sequenced, I'm considering voting for it as my #5 album, possibly.

mfktz (Camaraderie at Arms Length), Monday, 23 April 2018 11:10 (eight months ago) Permalink

"Domestica" was one of the best new finds for me, as a result of this poll

Vinnie, Monday, 23 April 2018 15:34 (eight months ago) Permalink

I have a bunch of the B-sides but they don't have titles and it's driving me crazy, I may even post soundcloud samples to ID or something

sleeve, Monday, 23 April 2018 15:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

lol wtf is the version of "alarm call" they used for the music video

Tim F, Monday, 23 April 2018 15:52 (eight months ago) Permalink

I ... kind of prefer it to the album version? *doesn't duck*

Uppercase (Eric H.), Monday, 23 April 2018 15:54 (eight months ago) Permalink

oh hey eric i sent my ballot then i sent a small edit to my ballot a few hours later i think, hope that's ok!

challops trap house (Will M.), Monday, 23 April 2018 18:07 (eight months ago) Permalink

No problem! Also, I haven't responded to everyone's emails yet, but I am up to date on entering them into my spreadsheet.

Uppercase (Eric H.), Monday, 23 April 2018 18:32 (eight months ago) Permalink

black lake really has a beautiful melody doesn't it

808s & Deep States (voodoo chili), Monday, 23 April 2018 21:14 (eight months ago) Permalink

For all that “Black Lake” is reputed to be the dense, impenetrable, harrowing heart of Vulnicura, I find it easily the most approachable track on that album.

Tim F, Monday, 23 April 2018 21:24 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm very much a casual Bjork fan, I've only really experienced her through her dancefloor oriented songs and remixes in the 90s/00s and the singles. But I've been playing all the album tracks on shuffle for the past few days and it's been a very, very entertaining journey.

Siegbran, Monday, 23 April 2018 21:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

“family” is way more qualified to be the dense, impenetrable, harrowing heart (and even then said heart is full of empty space so the bass can shudder through it)

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Monday, 23 April 2018 21:28 (eight months ago) Permalink

Listening to Life’s Too Good for the first time in ages, and it’s easy to see how/why “Birthday” hit the UK indie community like a bomb. It really feels simultaneously sui generis and like it presages several years of dream-pop, The Sundays and baggy simultaneously.

The Jesus and Mary Chain remixes really underscore that point (at least vis a vis dream-pop) actually.

Funny how the rest of that album, which is very enjoyable, never quite feels like it rearticulates and reconfigures its stylistic coordinates (The Fall, The Cure, the first Happy Mondays album, the Hoodoo Gurus?) so radically.

Tim F, Monday, 23 April 2018 21:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

Agreed re “Family”.

Tim F, Monday, 23 April 2018 21:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

black lake is long and it's repetitive, but that melody is so primal. it feels like an ancient prayer or lamentation along the lines of kol nidrei

808s & Deep States (voodoo chili), Monday, 23 April 2018 21:34 (eight months ago) Permalink

Notget very narrowly missed my ballot. Great song

octobeard, Monday, 23 April 2018 21:36 (eight months ago) Permalink

For whatever reason Vulnicura only gets bogged down for me at "Atom Dance". Before that I point, I seem be drawn forward in anticipation of the next moment I know will move me to the verge of tears. ("Stonemilker" and "Black Lake" are particularly reliable on this front.)

I really didn't grasp that this album was quite so good before this poll. It's probably something like #3 for me now. Though alternating with the strings-only/live versions, as recommended above, is an excellent idea.

Maximum big surprise! (Nag! Nag! Nag!), Monday, 23 April 2018 22:54 (eight months ago) Permalink

I vastly prefer Vulnicura to utopia. Way more emotionally and texturally accessible

after party for the apocalypse (Ross), Monday, 23 April 2018 23:00 (eight months ago) Permalink

agreed. i briefly considered posting utopia in lj's "stuff that sounds like l'rain" thread (though i didn't bc i don't have an accurate memory of what l'rain sounds like)

flamenco drop (BradNelson), Monday, 23 April 2018 23:48 (eight months ago) Permalink

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