Unapologetically Different and Blissfully Elegant
The Icelandic singer, songwriter, actress and DJ has done it again; with the help of One Little Indian Records and producer Arca, Björk has proven that her creativity ages like a fine wine. Her 9th album to date, Utopia, plays homage to the come-back kid in a way. The last time Björk graced the world with her presence was with Vulincura where the 52-year-old dove deep into her emotional heartbreak and separation from her long time partner. Vulincura demonstrated just how delicate and vulnerable Björk could get, but Utopia is a wake up call to those who have been through their own kind of heartbreak. The singer is back to prove that love isn’t a mutilating disease but instead, a magical essence to life.
Utopia is a 14-track, 1 hour and 14 minute lusty, empowering ride through what could be Björk’s most truth-filled album. “The Gate” is the perfect transitional journey on Björk’s past to present musical endeavors. The eerie entrance of pure gibberish followed by a melody of woodwinds, chimes and synths is an astounding vision of the hope that Björk has for love. “Sue Me” is an intimate battle between Björk and former partner for the custody of their daughter. Woodwinds, mainly the flute, and heavy beats are rattled by the triumphant sound heard in her voice, “Can’t take her suffer / It’s so unfair / The sins of the fathers / They just fucked it all up / We had the best family / We had it all / We had it all in our hands / He just pulled us through the wringer / Narcissistic.”
“Blissing Me” becomes a very electronic sounding love ballad of sorts, a story of two “music nerds obsessing” and falling in love with the idea of one another. Synthesizers and layered harmonies lay perfectly over one another which blend the song seamlessly so the listener falls into a melancholy feeling of sorts. This brings the album to its centerpiece, “Body Memory.” The ten-minute-long song is in dedication to the ten-minute-long break up song “Black Lake” featured on Vulnicura. Flutes, beats and a 60-piece Icelandic choir called Hamrahlíðarkórinn build an incredible “I’m gunna be okay” song in light of how dark and emotional Björk was in her past album. “Body Memory” is an optimistic feel for the second half of her life.
Utopia brings together 14 “love songs” that showcase just how crazy love can make us, but how it can also be the best thing to happen to someone. The idea of love can be a mutual feeling between two human beings, a human and their animals, friends, family or even between one and the greater universe. This album is an exploration on spiritual love that Bjork is seeing with her new outlook on life. Björk has never played by the “rules” — she has done things her way since 1975 and it has worked flawlessly for her. By mending together pop, indie rock, classical, IDM, experimental and electronic, Utopia has become a whimsical fall through the rabbit hole.