Release Date: January 20, 2015 (One Little Indian)
Buzz Factor: 4.7/5.0
Without a doubt Björk’s thoroughly-composed music cannot be replicated in any way, and she has proved herself once again. Though the actual release date of Vulnicura was set in March, an unexpected leak caused the Björk team to jump ahead and release the heart-wrenching breakup album.
The 9th studio album does exactly what art is meant for at its base level: conveying an honest human emotion. The music acts as a soundtrack to a fallen relationship that Björk expressively narrates through belts and pure vowels. Her relatable lyrics are accompanied by a juxtaposition of industrial beats and strings that create an intense timbre. All of these elements come together creating a composition so natural that it not only tells a human story, rather becomes a human story.
The opening track “Stonemilker” yields a speculation of unhappiness, with a solo violin to help portray the singer’s thoughts. The raw lyrics in “Lion Song” burn in honesty, with lines like “Maybe he will come out of this, or he will feel so solitaire, somehow I’m not too bothered, I’d just like to know” expressing the album’s heartbreaking ambiguity. The authenticity almost pierces as Björk contemplates her recent breakup.
Each track has its own level of intensity, experimenting with harmonies and pauses. The most hopeful track is the final song on the album, “Quicksand” where Björk stunningly sings, “Hackle this darkness, up to the light, where choreographed oxygen embroiders the air… We are siblings of the sun.” It’s lyrics like these that refreshingly alleviate the record’s sometimes somber themes, reminding us that there’s oddly enough something beautiful at the end of heartache.
The ambiguity and at the same time familiarity of emotions with this album leaves the listener feeling like they have been inside the mind if Björk during this journey. This new ground for the artist has the ability to take your breath away.