“DD Review: Bjork – Utopia.”

Score: 5.5/10


According to Wikipedia, Bjork is enjoying her current production relationship with American-via-Venezuela DJ Arca (winner of a certain critical acclaim in his own right for his 2015 outfit full-length Mutants) for reasons of its “cross-generational” benefits. This is ironic because, da**, this album is just old-lady music. That’s all there is to it.
I recently saw this Facebook comment on the topic of Neil Young’s free online catalogue which explicitly stated that “Not many millennials are interested in this music.” This may be partly true, but here in the town I’m living in now, which isn’t that freakin’ big, I have heard two Neil Young songs covered at open-jams in the last six months, “Heart of Gold” and “Comes a Time.” Now, what this all means might be that millennials are just dumb (I trying to avoid jumping to that specific conclusion), but the more likely tale is it’s just not that important to appeal to EVERYONE. Just be yourself, be honest, like Fiona Apple said, and you will have a fan base, in some right.
This all makes it that much more perplexing that Bjork would seem to think this album was “cross-generational,” seeing as it’s every bit as mellow even as 2004’s completely sans-percussion Medulla. Bjork called this her “Tinder” [1] album. Um… well I sure hope Iceland doesn’t call for as much intensity and attention to action as America does, or she’ll certainly be ostracized for torpidity. All of the songs on Utopia, while certainly intricate and eclectic in instrumentation (something Bjork would seem to be capable of pulling off by herself in production, theoretically), are almost indiscernible from each other, wallowing in this impenetrable quietness that has  plagued her work since the sublime Homogenic closeur “All is Full of Love” departed from our ear drums. When I think back to the work by Bjork which has meant the most to me, it’s definitely intense, confrontational steamrollers like “Army of Me” and “5 Years,” and of course the jungle-jazz rumble of her first successful single, “Human Behaviour.” “All is Full of Love,” while not musically flawed, got by on a lucid, memorable set of lyrics. Orchestral pop musician, like, say, Dirty Projectors or St. Vincent, Bjork has never been. It seems like with all this studio xylophone and harp gaffing is a sort of vacuous departure from her primary skill set as a musician. Even more troublingly, I get the sense that she’s trying to rewrite A Moon Shaped Pool.
[1] Tinder is a phone app dedicated to dating, apparently.

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