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One Little Indian, 1997
With each album Björk releases she manages to retain a contemporary freshness, while always sounding completely individual. Her first two albums were strongly influenced by their respective producers, but here Björk produces it all herself. There's an itchy electronic bubbling throughout, starting with the stark rattling of "Hunter" (notice how this album predates Radiohead's "Kid A" by 2 years). But all the harsh noises are smoothed out by some incredibly lush arrangements, with strings and floaty ambient synths, but most of all Björk's intense, powerful vocals.
Thr first half is very close to perfection. The best-known songs are "Jóga" and "Bachelorette", whose sweeping choruses have a lush grandeur. But my favourite track here is probably "Unravel", whose simple but inspired lyrics, heartfelt vocals and undulating loops make this a supremely spine-tingling song of absent love. "All Neon Like", is, well, like it says on the tin, with a bright and shimmering tune. The flip side is slightly less directly accessible, taking a few more listens to get into. "5 Years" is again built on that combination of restless electronica and shimmering strings, followed by the smoother "Immature" and the funky "Alarm Call". After the left-field Autechre-like techno of "Pluto", the album floats away with the unrestrained ethereal soundscape of "All is Full of Love".
December 23, 2003