George Starostin's Reviews

BJORK

READER COMMENTS SECTION

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Introduction

<gkwood@ozemail.com.au> (15.12.2003)

Good to see you've got the Wonderful Bjork on your site. I think shes the most talented vocalist in the world. I think Vespertine deserves a 10 and Homogenic a 9.5, Post a 7.5 and Debut a 9. But, Selmasongs would be an 8.5, also, were you only joking about the Great Thom Yorke being from Motley Crue fame? I hope you were using Prindle-esque sarcasm, as everyone knows he sings and heads the most significant rock band of the last decade, radiohead...tell me you were George...

Pedro Andino <pedroandino@msn.com> (16.12.2003)

thanks for reviewing bjork! i'm glad that you discover singers from the modern age instead of focusing on old chessy bands like the dave clark five! bjork is a sweet woman with a high voice and if you like it get also opera singer charlotte church! already got voice of an angel! keep it up man!


ALBUMS
LIFE'S TOO GOOD

Ali Graham <ali.graham@gmail.com> (25.06.2005)

Just some trivia regarding your music reviews, which popped up on the first page of Google results for the opening line of 'Deus'. :)

> Actually, I have the re-issue of the album, so I'm not sure where the original ends and the bonus tracks begin

I had the original on cassette, until someone stole it, and picked up the re-issued CD later. From what I can recall, only the first ten tracks were listed on the outside, there was a brief gap (longer than the normal track break -- 20 to 30 seconds, maybe), and then the bonus 11th song (take some petrol darling) played. everything after that was on the re-issued version only. As you'd probably already guessed, the first ten tracks feel like a solid album, everything else does seem rather tacked on the end...


HERE TODAY, TOMORROW NEXT WEEK

No reader comments yet.


STICK AROUND FOR JOY

Jessica Gluckman <frippy@mentalsewage.com> (04.11.2003)

Oh, I'm sure you've received this e-mail several times over from nitpicking, voracious readers but the first song on Stick Around For Joy is not titled "Cold," it's "Gold." [Correction made. Thanks! - G.S.] (The lyrics, if you wish to decipher them, are about greedy men lusting for gold -- "gold is the sweat of the sun, give me some... gold" -- okay, I never claimed they were the most thought-provoking lyrics.) Other than that I'd have to say I agreed with your review, although frankly I'd rather listen to this over Here Today... because that album seems to have high ambitions it can't quite achieve and plods along too much (plus it has a song where Einar rants about not liking lobster or something or other). But I agree, it's no Life's Too Good.

Also, I'm surprised you'd neglected to mention the closer, "Chihuahua," which annoys me so much that I will sometimes program the CD so that song doesn't play. I suppose one could argue that a consciously playful and indulgent song, even one that's full of goofy sound effects and Bjork bark-singing, is better than a boring, formulaic one, and I'm typically inclined to agree -- it doesn't mean you can still make me listen to it.

(This is the spot where I tell you that the sheer effort alone that you've invested into your site is impressive and then sweeten that deal by adding that I enjoy reading your reviews.)


DEBUT

David Dickson <ddickson@rice.edu> (16.06.2005)

Well. Looks like I'm going to "debut" on the reader comments section, as it were. We need to get some things straight here, friend.

First, in my opinion, constantly shifting as it is, this album is overrated. I kin understand why some critics called it the best of '93, but I can also see why Rolling Stone bombed on it. (If you haven't read that review yet, by all means do. One of the most hilarious examples of DUH LOUD GUITARS-philia in the history of man. Fuckin' synthaphobes. Get a real job.) It gives ya that kinduva polarized reaction. You've got your perfect little melodic gems ("Crying," "One Day," "Come to Me,"), your catchy dance- till-ya-droppers ("Big Time Sensuality," "More 2 Life," "Violently Happy,"), your "meh" songs ("Venus as a Boy," "Human Behavior"--never understood the appeal on those two massive worldwide hits), and your avant-garde in-joke crappity crap ("Like Someone in Love," "The Anchor Song"). A truly mysterious, albeit unfocused, schmorgasborg. But interesting and catchy in parts, I will give it that. Even though the dance tracks sound horrendously dated by today's standards. Not convinced by the electronica "revolution," George? Put this back-to-back with any given dance album from three years later. Yikes. That's evolution, ma friend.


POST

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TELEGRAM

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HOMOGENIC

P F (05.12.2003)

As always, your reviews are excellent. Even though it's my second-favorite Bjork album, and you don't like it as much, I agree entirely with all the details of your assesment. But I wonder whether she's dressed as a Boddhisatva on the cover: here (http://unit.bjork.com/specials/albums/homogenic/) you can read that, according to Bjork:

"Homogenic is a woman who was put in an impossible situation with a lot and lot of restrictions, so she had to become a warrior, but she fought back not with weapons but with love."

My impression of the cover art was that she was wearing body-distorting ornaments (the "restrictions" above) that de-humanized women according to oppressive standards of beauty. The neck-enlarger, the kimono, the fingernails, and so on. About the album itself, Bjork says:

"I called this album Homogenic because all the dots are pink-no green or blue-just one flavor."

"When you grow up, you need less toys. You also notice that as a musician. Debut and Post were full of little toys; it was very simple to draw the attention with that for 45 minutes. Every minute new gadgets were introduced. Later I thought: that's actually a bit too easy. It would be a far greater challenge to record a double album with only one teaspoon and keep it exciting for two hours as well. So I figured, Homogenic should be made with less tools. Come as you are. Beats, violins and vocals, and trying to cover the entire emotional spectrum with that. Preferably the same spectrum as on Debut and Post. Look, those records showed the different sides of Björk, but it was also like: Björk goes on a journey and meets all kinds of exciting, inspiring people. That were all those musicians, mixers and producers who worked with me. Homogenic is: Björk stays home."

Which is why I like it and the superior Vespertine, they both are consistent, and clearly come from Bjork's head alone, they don't have other producers coming in and putting their fingers in the soup.

Aprentice <nikus80@hotmail.com> (02.03.2004)

I really like this record, I think it better and more consistent than either post or debut. I don't like 'All neon like', not that much. but 'Unravel', 'Immature', 'Alarm Call', and 'Pluto', all rule. About 'Alarm Call', I agree with you arguments, but I love it. Like Rich bunnell said, yes, but amazingly, it works. It's a matter of taste, I guess, since you didn't liked 'Heirloom' either.....


SELMASONGS

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VESPERTINE

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MEDULLA

Alex Bridgeman <erde_kaiser@yahoo.com> (21.08.2005)

I very much agree with you deciding not to give Medulla a score... it's true what you say: any opinion that isn't radical would be an insult. And, I guess when it comes down to it, our opinions are pretty much at either end of the spectrum. I can't say that Medulla is her strongest album, or her most accesable. Infact, I don't think it's anywhere near being described as either of those two. BUT, I will say that Medulla is my favorite Bjork album. There, I admitted it... really though, it seems to me that you'll love it, or you'll very much dislike it. It's so unike anything I've ever heard that I personally couldn't help but fall in love with it.

As far as the album cover goes... I thought it was relatively tame. The whole premise behind Medulla is that it was supposed to be a real gutsy, an almost animalistic album, de-evolved and instinctual. Does that justify the amount of skin on the cover? Well, I'll leave that for anyone reading this to decide.

Stuart Hoggan <fienaluk@yahoo.co.uk> (23.08.2005)

I always thought Bjork lingered somewhere between the land of pretentious, over-eccentric creativity and the realm of surprising, sometimes enthralling and mesmerising innovation when it came to music. Thereís been times when listening to her music (Debut, Homogenic) has been refreshing as opposed in the era of listening to insincere, worthless warblers like La Carey and La Houston bulldoze ballads with a vengeance. Despite occasionally failing to grasp Bjorkís elusive personality for this childlike persona she adopts, I did and still do consider her to be rewarding to listen to - when she actually knows the difference from being interesting to entirely baffling. If you trip over and find yourself lost with a Bjork record, you either start again or lose track completely - therefore not appreciating her work. Itís a hard task keeping up with her, but then with any grown up playing childlike fantasies, it would be.

Yet it must be said, Medulla is bollocks. Not the bollocks, but just bollocks.

Too many loops and vocal curling is swirled over the clatter, creating convoluted ďsoundsĒ over anything close to music. She continuously tries to create hooks that arenít there with her chameleon-like voice that has sadly proven to be rather tiring and boring. Shock horror, but itĎs true. Medulla seems like a confusing yet conceited concept from someone who misunderstood the definition of music because she swallowed and shit the hype that was built up to its conception. As a result, this isnít music, just complicated jargon from someone who, if you strip it down honestly, hasnít really evolved musically over the years. You can escape commercial music for an alt-successful album - but Medulla is one of those records (like everything Alanis Morissette has done since Jagged Little Pill) that demonstrate perfectly you can entirely lose the plot when you obsessively focus on trying to be different.


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