Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Verdict On Volta [Part One]

So the jury is still out on Bjork's much-anticipated new album Volta. Although reviews are favourable many say this album is a disappointment. Having bought it on Wednesday and had a couple of days to digest most of the songs, here's part one of my commentary:

Volta opens with the tribal marching of "Earth Intruders", a light-hearted yet stamping anthem that has the fitting effect of a musical starters gun, sending us into the remainder of the album like an army of troops, unbeknownst to the chaos that lies ahead. The song is remeniscent of Human Behaviour in its bold and wacky audacity, contrasting to the second song "Wanderlust", which seems to draw more on her Homogenic album than anything else. The song has a sense of reach and longing, but on a grand rather than personal scale. Kind of like a political pleading, which would co-incide with the loosely composed theme of the album.

The best song on the album is "The Dull Flame of Desire", which features the vocal talents of both Bjork and Antony, from 'Antony and the Johnsons'. The lyrics are from a poem, featured in Andrei Tarkovsky's film 'Stalker' (which I've yet to see), and they resonate so beautifully throughout the song, serving as an emotionally wrought ode to a lost love. The music has a sense of frontier and battlement that creates a doomed undertone to the song, marking it with a distant dullness that reflects the lyrical resignment. Gorgeously composed.


The transition between this song and the next, "Innocence" is abrupt and uncontrolling, perhaps mirroring the powerlessness and disorientation of war. The sound of "Innocence" is possibly the most appealing and instilling of Volta's many melodies. You can feel the sharpness of its beat, the punch of Bjork's tone. It's the song in the pack that you could most easily and happily dance to -- not without orchestral intricacy, but with a throwaway anecdotal quality (like "There's More to Life Than This") that's fun and free-spirited.


I must admit I'm not completely sure what Bjork is trying to do with "I See Who You Are", the fifth track on the album. It has a light rhythm and what sounds like a brass accompaniment in places. The lyrics include "Lets celebrate this flesh on our bones". In any case, the song feels out of place and it isn't magnetic enough. Maybe I just didn't get it.

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1. Earth Intruders 8/10
2. Wanderlust 7.5/10
3. The Dull Flame of Desire 9.5/10
4. Innocence 9/10
5. I See Who You Are 6/10

1 comment:

Reptile Boy said...

Don't listen to what the rock critics are saying. Their idiots and the have the attention span of a newt. The album is amazing. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that it is the best album so far of 2007. Read my review on my blog - http://cleardaynebraska.blogspot.com