on 5 December 2002
Much like the previous reviewer, I had neglected Bjork for so many (too many) years. I always (naively) considered her eccentricity to verge on self-indulgence. I was wrong. She is simply an artist of immense originality and intensity. With an obvious talent for utilising great producers such as Black Dog and Mark Bell, her vocals and lyrics are probably the most unique around, and to have matched this with some level of popularity is phenomenal. And she gets no better than on Homogenic.
The album opens with the hypnotic and twisting rhythms of Hunter; in itself a wonderful song, but more is to come. The deep beauty of Joga and Unravel, and then moves onto her greatest effort: Bachelorette. This is a song without comparison; sweeping strings, intense vocals and pure sublimity. In this movement, she manages to captivate all that is great about music: melody, harmony, rhythm, intensity, beauty. By this, the fourth track, you may feel a little bewildered by it all, but it simply continues, with the downtempo All Neon Like and the melodic pleading of Immature. She ups the tempo and energy somewhat with the funky Alarm Call, which should sound out of place, but as the title of the album suggests, merely heightens the eclectic powers of the album. Finally, she manages to finish on the pure driving and uplifting beauty of All is Full of Love. Simply stunning.
As with all Bjork albums, it is perhaps too eclectic, and I have found Pluto to be a little overstated and harsh, but it is still a worthy contribution.
Quite simply, this is a perfect album, filled with treasures and sublime production and vocals. Her lyrics constantly astound, and they are no better than here. You cannot neglect this woman.
on 16 April 2002
For many years I avoided Bjork at all costs. I think it was a combination of her heavily publicised eccentricity and my own personal fear of music that dared to break out from the realms of convention. I'm glad to say that this was all in my uneducated early teens when I went along with the crowds.
Now I listen to a more eclectic set of music with particular interests in underground dance and singer/songwriters. My first experience with Bjork was in the film 'Dancer in the Dark' and I have since collected all her albums. 'Homogenic' has become a particular favourite of mine as I feel it is the most emotionally wrought of all her work. Despite the heavy use of electronic and synthesised instrumentation, the music feels completely naturalistic and lyrical.
It would be hard to name my favourite tracks but I have a particular soft spot for 'Hunter', the first track, which feels so intensely personal that the listener is instantly drawn onto Bjork's wavelength. My other favourite is 'Pluto' which is possibly the most daring and audacious compositions I have heard for a long time. The harsh, electronic noises that are used will not instantly be to all tastes (apart from perhaps Aphex Twin fans). However, trust me you will grow to treasure it, even if you only reserve it for angry days.
Sometimes thrilling, occasionally disturbing, always refreshing, Bjork's third solo studio album is a rewarding and continually surprising work of genius. Miss at your peril!!!!
on 30 May 2000
This album shows a maturity and confidence missing from the earlier Debut and Post. Bjork mixes electronic and acoustic sounds with her own unique voice in an ethereal blend of sound. There is a stunning warmth and depth to these recordings. They show an artist at the peak of her powers producing some of the most original music around. Breathtaking.
on 15 February 2007
Homogenic has something few records manage and that is both originality and vision from the artist. You can listen to it now, nearly 10 years since release, and still be truly wowed by this creative vision - that makes it a bona fide classic, in the same way someone listening to Beethoven's key symphonies for the first time.
One of the best things is that it's far better as a complete work rather than a collection of tracks (obviously, hence the title) and you really owe it to yourself to sit and listen to the whole album in one go. I would rather have this whole album as a desert island disk than a collection of favourite songs.
on 1 June 2001
As Homogenic is still one of my most listened albums in 2001, it must have some staying power, especially for someone as fickle as myself.
The album, a mix of electronica, strings and industrial rhythms is unique for its genre. The immaculate Joga, through to the harsh techno punk of Pluto, each song is complex, not to be listened but to be explored. Highlights include Joga, 5 years and the simple 6-note-scales-hook of Immature. Ending with all is All is full of love, possibly not as good as the video version, as it does free-fall but still enlightening all the same......
Excellent album - would recommend but take into account that it is quite 'heavy'. But still, an absolute classic.....
From the sounds of Bjork's recent New York gig in a church environment, featuring choirs, harps and harpischords, it looks like the next album Vespertine might be almost as excellent.
on 28 March 2000
Although there was much to enjoy, 'Post' suffered from a cold, heavily-compressed sound and slightly irritating whimsical moments. This, however, has its finger right back on the pulse with a suitably warm production which naturally fuses eccentric arrangements of hard beats and lush strings behind a consistently satisfying set of top tunes. Bjork is magnificent at creating direct, non-esoteric, non-elitist music (essentially pop for everyman) which is paradoxically also personal, idiosyncratic and adventurous...a balancing act which few can match with such emotive power...
I must admit to only having acquired this magnificent album recently, prompted, incidentally, by watching the recent TV documentary on the making of her recent album, Biophilia. Having said this, I have always found Bjork's music, idiosyncratic vocal style and, indeed, persona, extremely fascinating (as well as admiring her powerful acting performance in Lars von Trier's film Dancer In The Dark). Having owned the earlier two albums Debut and Post since their release, I had never quite got into these songs (with the exception of a handful, such as Hyperballad, Venus As A Boy, You've Been Flirting Again, Come To Me, Isobel, etc) to the extent that I have with those on Homogenic.
I am also not generally a fan of electronic music per se (which is probably reflected in the fact that my least favourite song on the album is Pluto), but here, Bjork's fusion of this with the classical acoustic sounds from the Icelandic String Octet makes for an intoxicating, and frequently sweeping and grandiose, mix. Indeed, this combination of the modern and 'ancient' seems to reinforce the singer's intentions for the album that, sonically in particular, it is conceptually focused on her native Iceland. Lyrically, on the other hand, many of the songs are obviously very personal, and tell intimate tales either around the electronic beats of songs All Neon Like, 5 Years and Immature or on the more sedate, and predominantly acoustic feel, of achingly beautiful songs like All Is Full Of Love and (a personal favourite) Unravel. Otherwise, there are perhaps more esoteric and poetic forces at work on the superb sweeping melodrama of Joga and Bachelorette, whilst album opener Hunter's haunting melody also gives a brief flavour of the diminutive one's ironic humour (and mastery of the 'Brit vernacular') as she quips, 'Thought I could organise freedom, how Scandinavian of me, you sussed it out didn't you?'. Throughout, of course, Bjork's vocals exude intoxicating levels of intimacy and passion, whether this be during the near-whispered interludes or on the big, soaring choruses.
An album that showcases an extraordinary and original talent and one that will keep me paying closer attention to her career going forward.
on 9 September 2010
Homogenic was recorded and released at possibly Bjork's most controversially intense point of her career, as many have stated she was something of a media uproar throughout the years since her remarkable Debut and Post albums, but in regard Homogenic is surprisingly reflective of this period in the sense that it plays down that huge style schizophrenic productions of her previous masterpiece albums Debut and Post which appeared to range from Trip-Hop to House to R&B to Folk and Rock and all in between with her distictfully raw and unusual deliver of her crisp vocals. Homogenic delivers something of a minimalistic production and works all the better for it rather than trying to out-do and out achieve her previous recordings it matches itself by being(like the two albums) and absolutely distinct fully remarkable album that can stand on its own strength.
Homogenic forces Bjork down a musical path of exploration and discovery as well as a much more darker use of trip-hop at the genre's most brutally honest and thumpy, due to this alongside Bjork's previous albums Homogenic becomes one of the most absolutely exceptional albums from the 90's decade and remains as fresh and as exciting from when the album was released in 1997. An era that showed spiritual discoveries within the entertainment industry with movies from directors such as David Fincher,Wes Creven,Robert Zemeckis and Quentin Tarantino amongst others creating such revolutionary films during the 90's that shwoed the focus being on artistry and skill and focus of the future (Fight Club,Forest Gump,Toy Story,Pulp Fiction,Se7en,Reservoir Dogs and more to name!) and Bjork is one of those music artists that managed to achieve that with her pure minded musical journies and alongside Queen Of Pop Madonna(Erotica,Ray Of Light,Music and collaboration on Bedtime Stories),Nirvana,Moby(Play),Tori Amos,Kate Bush(The Red Shoes album) to name a few who really encaptured that direction of the decade and will ALWAYS be instantly recognised for their works and achievements throughout their recordings.
Homogenic is a pure staple and an almost filmlike journey of an album by one of the most artfully surrealist artists of my generation and was one of the artists who ensured that the 90's were and exceptional time to grow up in.
An album that demands more than one trip and listen, this is a journey worth re-taking again,and again. 10/10
on 3 March 2006
The immediate years after "Post’s" release in 1995 were not kind to Björk. Sure she ascertained a level of global fame most pop stars only dream of, scooped up numerous accolades (including a Grammy nomination) and was now rubbing shoulders with fellow members of the alt-pop glitterati, but it came at a price. As her very public explosion at Bangkok airport suggested, Björk was going through a tough time, “highlights” including a very high profile breakup to drum and bass mentalcase Goldie and a disturbing attempt on her life by a crazed fan. Quite understandably, a shell-shocked Björk sought refuge, which meant to get back to her nativeland and discover her roots. Though the turbulent times shouldn’t be wished on any pop star, the results heralded Björk’s third solo album, "Homogenic", her attempt at “modern Icelandic pop music” and an album that cemented her reputation as pop music’s most innovative star. Sure the girl from "Debut" was long gone, but in her place was a one-woman army with a heart of steel and resilience beyond measure.
Björk has said in interviews that Iceland’s geography figures especially large in the album with regards to its conceptual instrumentation. Björk and her programmers actually collected sounds of volcanoes and springs erupting and fissuring in the Icelandic countryside to form the beats of most of the songs of "Homogenic", lending them a rough-and-ready pulse complemented by string arrangements that go beyond romanticism. The result is a nice change from "Post’s" affable schizophrenia and the album greatly benefits from Björk being the resolute producer of the album, aided in no small part by Mark Bell of LFO, fellow songwriter Guy Sigsworth and hip hop alumni Howie B. Björk is no longer the passive, alien presence indicated in her last albums, politely introducing herself and getting involved with strangers of the world. In a sense, she is back on home turf, taking stock of her homeland, her friends and mostly herself, soldiering on against those who have failed her with a steady eye for the world of tomorrow.
Displaying the angst and wariness of ineffectual partnership best are songs like the foreboding opener “Hunter” (“So you left me on my own,” she sings icily, “now I’m leaving it all behind”), the bittersweet “Bachelorette” (“If you forget my name, you will go astray”) and the bilious “5 Years”, the latter showcasing Björk in a particular nasty rancour. Amidst the gloom, however, we have reminders of Björk’s eternal optimism, among them an ode to her best friend, “Jóga”, supplying the most heart-rending moments on the album, and “Alarm Call”, which is quite possibly the finest pure pop song Björk has yet written. This isn’t including, of course, the mournful “Unravel”, Björk’s laments synchronized over each other as a funeral march plays in the background, or the barnstorming “Pluto”, where Björk literally explodes before your very ears with the help of a relentless grinding back beat courtesy of Bell’s avant-leaning production.
There are some minor problems, nearly all of them to do with a matter of taste. The production may sound a little off kilter for some people, and some of the songs tend to wander a little too far beyond their welcome (“All Neon Like” and the album version of “All Is Full Of Love”, though powerfully delivered in vocal, lack something the other tracks do). Other than that, Björk has unmistakably delivered another classic album, as complete as "Debut", darker than "Post" and a dash more experimental with her listeners’ ears. With "Homogenic", she helped change the face of pop music the world over; Missy Elliott and Goldfrapp undoubtedly delivered albums much in the same vein as Björk’s beats-and-strings ethos in "Da Real World" and "Black Cherry". And the most exciting facet of the album remains that, out of all of the albums she has released, this is unequivocally hers.
on 4 April 2014
A more consistent album than her earlier debut, Bjork's "Homogenic" demonstrates a degree of originality and maturity which immediately explains the fascination with her music that so many jazz musicians have had. Whilst there are a few tracks that perhaps don't quite work, the better material on this record (about 80% if the content) transcends pop music as the Icelandic singer / composer started to demonstrate her ability as one of the last great songwriters of the 20th century. "Alarm call" is the most obviously "poppy" track. The disc concludes with "All is full of love" in a different mix from the single yet another example of quality songwriting.
The opening five tracks represent some of Bjork's strongest material. "Hunter" remains a potent arrangement and it is no surprise that this tune was little altered within Travis Sullivan's version recorded by his Bjorkestra. I love the menacing quality of this track. "Batchlorette" is perhaps the most significant piece of song-writing on the disc and almost as good as "Unison" which I think is her masterpiece. The disjointed rhythmic feel of much of the music and the way in which the lyrics are stretched and pulled over the melody lines is a huge appeal for me and with the passage of time, "Homogenic" seems more like an attempt to produce thought-provoking and innovative music than the pop music it once was. I think that Bjork's distinctive voice is also well served by some startling arrangements which accentuate the odd-ness of the music.
As a whole, I am not really too keen on pop music and tend to listen to the kind that is more closely aligned to jazz which I think has been a crucial ingredient in ensuring the results are musically interesting . With Bjork the influences are probably more wide ranging but she remains a true original as well as an artist who has had the reverse effect of inspiring jazz musicians.