Bjork - Bastards

by Lewis Shepherd Rating:4.5 Release Date:2012-11-19

The eccentric or, as some may put it, batshit crazy Icelandic singer Bjork returns to the music scene with the remix album of her seventh studio album Biophilia, the aptly-titled Bastards. Now credit where credit is due, anyone who names their album Bastards deserves a round of applause. Of course, Bjork has been doing that kind of thing for almost 30 years, first as part of the band The Sugarcubes and then solo.

She's done more than garner masses of applauses as well. After all, the unconventional singer has gained herself numerous Grammy Award nominations and has even been nominated for an Academy Award. However, I don't quite think that honour will be bestowed this album. I'm a big fan of Bjork's massive back-catalogue and I often find that some of her songs work extremely well as remixes. In fact, the remix of 'Army of Me' is probably better than the original version.

However, her eclectic mix of music and amazing vocals just aren't enough to save this remix record. Some tracks are OK, some are good, some are bad and some are a little hit-and-miss altogether and tend to just blend into the background, and Bjork is someone who should never blend into the background. The album does sound very worldly and mixes what sounds like Bollywood and African music into her rocky, electro sounds. While this is all well and good, many tracks sound too samey and just get lost while you're doing something else.

The best track on the album has to be 'Crystalline', which mixes Bjork's excellent vocals with an upbeat, haunting and Bollywood-inspired sound. It's not a combination you would initially put together but it works. The same thing works but not quite as well on the track 'Thunderbolt,' although there's just not enough of Bjork on it.

Other good tracks are 'Sacrifice' and 'Sacrifice Reprise' with their haunting vocals and almost minimal music, focusing on the voice, which is, as always, amazing. Both tracks are very atmospheric and melancholic, with the later making you feel as though Bjork herself has been engulfed in waves. Listen to it and you'll get what I mean. The worst track has to be 'Hollow', which is just seven long minutes of really boring music and boring vocals which don't grab your attention or make you feel anything other than bored. Basically, it's an awful track.

A special mention has to be given to 'Mutual Core', which has a number of excellent vocals. When it kicks in, it's extremely dark and heavy. However, only these parts are worth listening to - some are flat out yawn-inducing. It's a classic case of the hit-and-miss song.

Overall this album has some good mixes and some brilliant vocals. However, some parts completely miss the mark and leave you bored while only a few others pick you up. I think Bjork needs to go back to the drawing board and work on some new music, which is probably best for all of us.

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