Bjork – Vespertine
2001 – One Little Indian Records
This album sounds completely unique. I’ve never heard anything else that remotely sounds like Vespertine. All these tunes take place at whisper level, but still retain a forward motion and dynamic range. The beats don’t knock you over the head, they creep in and slowly change. They aren’t made with traditional drums or an electronic set; they seem to be constructed from little sound clips that are put together. On top of that, the songs feature strings, chorus, and all kinds of bells, chimes, and toy pianos. The vocals are quiet and breathy (which works perfectly). Perhaps my perception is biased by the cover, which features a black and white photo of Bjork with a swan drawn on top, but this album feels like a wintertime album (why I’m writing about it in the middle of summer, I don’t know). The progression of songs on this album is great as well. It is a double LP, and across all four sides it builds up and lets down again and again, always moving forward. If you’ve never listened to Bjork, this is a great one to start with. It is completely original and never boring. If you haven’t guessed by now, it is one of my favorite albums of all time!