Homogenic – Björk ★★★★

1997HomogenicBjork★★★★79ElectronicArt PopTrip-Hop

Released to-years after Post, Björk’s most commercial and somewhat scattered record, Homogenic really dug into some of the darker, colder and trip-hop based sounds she had used from time to time in the past. 

The best part of Homogenic is the instrumentation (if that’s still the word you use to describe different synthetic sounds on an electronic album). Björk is always able to mix different genres and styles in a way that feels cohesive. Ambient synths, orchestral flourishes, drum machines and her always-unique voice and lyrics mix together in a way that each track feels like it belongs on this record, and this record alone. It’s dark, it’s sad, it’s always sparse, but as a total package, it’s full of different sounds and colors. 

Homogenic is also much more emotional than typical pop or trip-hop music, thanks in large part to Björk’s vocal performance. It could be extreme or grating at times, because her voice is so strange, identifiable and overbearing, but the range she provides carries you forward. I think the clear emotions are one of the things that differentiate it from her first two previous records, both of which are interesting, but lean more on pop and dance elements over experimentation. 

From song to song, the louder, more intense songs on Homogenic do stand out. Those would be “Hunter,” “Joga,” “Bachelorette” and “Pluto.” They bring energy when the other, softer, intimate or more reflective tracks slow you down. “Bachelorette” and “Hunter” in particular standout to me as songs with sounds and energy that I really can’t get from any other artist. 

An additional highlight, “All is Full of Love” is a fabulous closing track that can take your breath away.  It’s probably the best of the softer songs on the record. (The more layered production on the alternative version released as a single is beautiful in its own way)

Like on every Björk album, some of the stuff she does and some of the lyrics she writes come off as a little odd, or playfully annoying and miss the mark. I also think this album does have a little bit of an issue with balance and flow song to song. It works, but having the more high energy tracks at 1, 2, 4 and 9, you do go on a run from 5-8 that’s a little low key.

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