100 Greatest of the 90’s: #15

Bjork – Homogenic
‘Homogenic’, like all her records, is overflowing with human emotion, but there’s something far more ruthless and natural about ‘Homogenic’. It opens with an accordion that sounds like a drill burrowing into a glacier. This is Bjork at her most open and naked, not to mention her most powerful. She commands your attention and each word has as much priority as the last whether it’s being bellowed or whispered. In her songs from ‘Post’ and ‘Debut’, she addressed relationship breakdown as a victim; now she’s a punisher. The most clear portrait of this new vengeful Bjork is ‘5 Years’ which bumps and scrapes like a pair of gigantic grinding teeth while she bellows “I’m so bored of cowards” and hisses “You can’t handle love” almost piteously. Even though she’s stronger than ever, she also shows herself to be at her most vulnerable. ‘Bachelorette’ is her most powerful vocal performance here – perhaps ever. It’s a beautifully cinematic exposé on her inner turmoil over brutal piano riffs and train-track rhythms; even though she only wrote the music on ‘Bachelorette’ (the lyrics were written by her poet friend Sijon), she’s never sounded more mighty or more wounded. There are moments of pure positive emotion though which are so full of joy, love or passion that you could never call her hateful from hearing ‘Homogenic’. ‘All Is Full Of Love’ is a beatless, delicate spiderweb of a song laced with glowing strings and sleepy kotos whereas ‘Joga’ is a gorgeous salute to her best friend and to her volcanic homeland that clashes and grinds like tectonic plates. Her ambition never stops and she continues to bewilder and beguile her audience, going as far as making ‘Medulla’, an album almost solely made up of vocals of all shapes and sizes (including beat-boxing and throat singing) combining to make a gloriously multi-textured and primal piece of art. Even so, ‘Homogenic’ is still her most effective and brilliant record to date and she is yet to top it.
Listen to: Joga

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