22.) Bjork - Vespertine (2001)

Debut, Post, Homegenic and Vespertine.

Those four records represent one of the greatest back-to-back (to back-to back-not counting the remix record Telegram and the "Dancer in the Dark" soundtrack Selmasongs) creative statements by any artist this generation. Each one of them is different from the one before and each building (or sometimes re-building) on Bjork's legacy as one of the true geniuses of our era.

One could probably write dissertations on each one of the records listed above, but only Vespertine was released this decade, so here we are.

Vespertine, upon its release, was thought to be Bjork's weakest effort. Time, however has proven otherwise. Vespertine was, no doubt, Bjork's quietest and most reflective record. Vespertine is a an intimate record and Bjork's voice, which usually soars to great heights, is very restrained here, making it more contemplative and probably not as immediate as some of Bjork's earlier works.

It's not easy for an artist who works so closely with electronic beats to sound warm. This is the main reason I find myself unable to connect with bands like the Knife. I respect the music, hell I can even tell it's technically masterful, but the humanity is often drained from it. I prefer music that I can connect with. I like to feel as though I'm there with the artist. Bjork has always managed to do this and does it to a great degree on Vespertine despite being a record that relies heavily on the electronic.

Each Bjork record feels like a glimpse into her weird world. It's a world that can't exist yet does because you (or in this case I) can connect so closely with the artist. Vespertine began as a work Bjork was doing on her own - using laptop beats. The collaborators grew, but not by many, and this makes Vespertine a record very close to Bjork and it shows. Again, it's so intimate and listening to it with a good pair of headphones (which is how it should be heard) brings you that much closer to the artist.

Bjork is the sort of artist who is constantly surprising you to the point that it would be even more surprising should she do a record you expected. Does that make sense? Anyway, Vespertine is an easy record to connect with if you give it a chance. It's Bjork at her most naked in some ways, but also at her most comfortable. It's a wonderful and still to this day underrated record.

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