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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Medúlla

Björk

2004

Wikipedia

Medúlla

Rating

2.7

Votes

2820

Reviews

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5

Basal greatness

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1

What the f*** is this album? I can normally struggle through most any album, and listen to every last minute. Not this one. Wandering, boring, confusing, unnecessarily disjointed. I find nothing redeeming here. Solid F

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5

India’s Shubham Choudhary first said ‘Good things come in small packages.’ In the case of the diminutive Icelandic singer, Bjork, on 'Medulla,' things become great. I’m not entirely sure in one review how to even begin do justice to the sheer majesty of Bjork, so in its place I think I’ll simply bow in honorable recognition, and pledge my faithful service. This is music that is best experienced before understanding. So, I’ll keep this one uncharacteristically brief. Are there (m)any other artists beside Bjork who can create the cornucopia of musical sounds so aptly describing moods and emotions, while utilizing almost exclusively vocals? What does a palm full of diamond stars being cast like dice on a table sound like? ‘Desired Constellation.’ How about the glub-glub sound wine makes as its being decanted? ‘Mouth’s Cradle’ recreates that, and to the further accompaniment of a chorus of dark, mournful angels. What do you think greed sounds like? ‘Where Is the Line,’ that’s what. Or the inner sounds of a working human body? ‘Triumph of a Heart.’ Bjork’s creativity astonishes throughout this entire LP. And the strength, passion, range, and elegance of her vocals on ‘Oil Birtan,’i.e. or ‘Desired Constellation’ (possibly the best song off an LP chocked full of wonders) rivals one of 20th century America’s greatest singers, Barbara Streisand. Add to the mix Icelandic and British choirs evoking medieval monastic cathedral tones, background vocals from Faith No More’s Mike Patton and founding Soft Machine member, Robert Wyatt, the incredible Inuit throat singing styles of Tagaq, a team of talented beatboxers, all recorded and mixed by an army of programmers and engineers manifesting Bjork’s visionary arrangements, and the end result for the listener is like unwrapping fourteen sparkling, magical songs presents under the tree on Christmas morning. And great things, incredible things, come in each of those little packages, one after another. Bjork’s compositions and performance on 'Medulla' is nothing short of spellbinding. An extraordinary work of art.

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4

The more experimental-side of Björk. I'm glad to listen to more of her different albums since I have never really heard them. A few songs on here I would listen to again but I don't love them all, still all respectable. Vokuro is like a lovely Gregorian chant and I'm a sucker for that. Who Is It starts off with a minimal choral vocal arrangement then goes into some crazy synth/beatbox drums with more uptempo vibes, kinda like it. A lot of the various octave vocals are unsettling and I'm not a huge fan of their implementation, but it's bold. The whole album feels like a progression and is essentially a narrative/play to me. I could see a whole interpretive dance performance to this. I love the bitcrushed/snappy percussion start in Desired Constellation and when the vocals amp up and the whispers come in left and right. Oceana has some really impressive instrumental flourishes that come in and out. Ancestors is kind of disturbing actually, not a huge fan. Pretty crazy for 2004, the production is beautiful as well.

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4

Quite an achievement. Very brave and adventurous but still pretty listenable for the most part. Brought together an incredible crew of voices here. Makes sense that a singer would want to more fully explore the possibilities of the human voice.

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4

She really commands a unique space of her own, I admire and respect that.

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4

Well, this is definitely a Bjork album. Like every other Bjork album I've ever heard, I enjoyed it. However, there's not a lot that I can say about this album that I wouldn't say about any other Bjork album. It's challenging at times, experimental in a way that often hits home, carried by her voice despite the fact that her voice isn't particularly incredible (it's good, just not super notable). The layering of different voices in this album works really well and is the biggest strength of Medulla. 4/5

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4

This is a highly experimental album - nearly every single instrument is the human voice. This is an interesting concept, but Björk manages to pull it off and still sound like ... Björk. This is a small hiccup for me. I have massive respect for Björk, but could never really get into her music. There is only a handful of Björk songs that I like. Luckily, one of these is Oceania from this album, in which Björk summons an incredibly amount of energy, which I find is lacking in many other of her songs. All in all, I'm a bit torn, but I'll give this album 3.5/5.

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4

Fascinating album using mainly voices, Björk’s experimentation is often tricky to listen to but ultimately absorbing. Her singing ability is on a level with the greatest opera singers. Mesmeric.

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4

I've laughed a lot at all the one star reviews.

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4

I can’t tell if I like this for my principled appreciation of weird, experimental shit or if I actually enjoyed it. Either way bjork and sault are like the only two artists I’ve gotten that have made me seek out more of their music. Side note: her music is eclectic asf. Submarine was my fav and sounded like a demonic barbershop quartet

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3

Not the easiest Björk listening experience, I’m more partial to her more accessible stuff from Post. But it’s beautiful nonetheless. Oceania and triumph of a heart are my favorite. 3.5/5

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3

After listening to the 1st couple of songs I feared this was one of those "accomplishment" albums that made it on to the list it was acapella (with Bjork's voice, a scary thought). Then I hit the third song "Where is the Line" and liked it. The next track "Vokuro" was great too but very different. "Triumph of the Heart" is adventurous. Some of the others are enjoyable but often followed by something annoying.

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3

Avant-garde is certainly accurate for this album. I don't dislike it but I have a hard time enjoying the vocals throughout all of it. If this was a instrumental album or even a limited vocal performance album I would enjoy it more. I'm confused as to how to rate this album. At times I get it and love the artistry and at other times I just feel like I'm about to be possessed.

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5

Þetta er bara ein besta plata sem ég hef hlustað á. Hljóð-heimurinn er úr annarri veröld. Einnig ekki hægt að gefa íslending hér annað en fimm stjörnur. Við kunnum þetta

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5

ok

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5

Hoots and boops, moans and growls, mewling and heavy breathing. Unlike anything else. Björk!

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5

Music of the Feywild. This was one of the coolest, most unique projects on the list, and I can't get enough of it.

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4

Queen

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4

Beautiful, mesmerising album. There's always something new to discover in it.

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4

Это что-то с чем-то.

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4

My least favorite Bjork album but still a stunning achievement

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4

fully textured, but quite hard work for an easy listen

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4

Rarita como diario

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4

intense and weird like all bijork almost religiously pretty. 4. maybe a 3 if im having a shit day tomorrow.

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4

Would I play this at a party? No. (That's a lie, but most people probably wouldn't.) This is not decorative. But it's interesting. Beatboxing and throat singing in the same work? Wow. Experimentations with the human voice as instrument. I don't know how to rate this. Some of it was intriguing. Some of it made me laugh out loud. Some was really challenging to keep listening to. Sometimes, listening on my headphones made me feel like I was possessed and had voices in my head. Björk didn't just stick to what worked before, did she? So, I'm going to celebrate her artistic audacity here.

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4

Like stepping through a contemporary art exhibit. Her sound is more polished and atmospheric. Bjork takes on a more experimental approach here. Unlike her previous albums, not every song is intended to be pop-structured. Instead, we have these heavy glitch pop hits interlaced with simple a capella. It's insane when the channels are isolated and you realize it's nearly entirely a capella, even the heavy noises are beatboxing. This is meant for focused listening. The tracks are ethereal and frankly somewhat surreal that it will be found boring and distracting to listen in other means. It feels like a guide to a capella with how astonishing the producer can make a capella so recognizable yet versatile in utility. Some songs feel like a precursor to chillwave. Many of the simpler songs remind me of a late medieval choir. In terms of complaints, there's not much relistening to with so many experimental tracks. It helps that they're shorter, but you have songs like "Ancestors" which would help being half its length, but I could see how that could lose artistic effect. The album picks up and peaks in the middle, losing its momentum after "Oceania." The simple tracks don't engage me like the earlier ones. "Mouths Cradle" doesn't evolve much and ends anticlimatically, but its grand sound reminds me of the Norfair theme in Metroid. "Triumph of a Heart" is a lighthearted humorous finish. Please watch the music videos to this album.

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3

It was just okay.

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3

Very cool experiment. Can never go wrong collaborating with Rahzel and Patton. But hardly repeatable.

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3

A really strange and beautiful album. I can't say I am a fan of Bjork, however that is not because a dislike of her music more because I have never really heard her solo music. I don't think this is the best introduction, I presume not anyway, nevertheless I enjoyed it 3.5 stars

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3

It's much better than I remember it being but it's still undeniably niche.

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3

Non ci sono strumenti musicali, ho paura. Non così pessimo, ma sicuramente straniante. Particolare a dir poco, tra il 2 e il 3.

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3

This was interesting and experimental, some songs worked others didn’t. Really glad I listened but would I listen again probably not.

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3

The album is decent but her voice is starting to get to me. I appreciate the notes she can hit but it’s still getting to me.

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3

Not my favorite Bjork album but there are some great songs here

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3

Indulgent and slightly irritating. Not entirely convinced that this list needs more than one Bjork album.

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3

A lovely voice. The music felt like an avant garde art performance. Might have been more tolerable if I was deep into my cups

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3

This album presents me with a conundrum. I was in awe of what could be done using just the human voice. Once I had admired that, the mostly slow vocal delivery of the main lyrics became tedious. I appreciated this but could not find emotional connection to it. Still, I am marveling at the accomplishment of this album. I understand why it is on this list and it is definitely something to behold which rounds up the rating half a point. But the academic attraction I felt was not enough to say I enjoy this.

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3

I really appreciate the concept of the album. I didn’t realize from the start that it was pretty much all human vocals. At the point that I asked myself “Is that someone beat boxing?” I suddenly became more aware of what I had been listening to. I did find quite a bit of the album a challenge, though. I was not able to embrace all the compositions even with the variety of interesting vocal sounds.

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3

Wat een stem, maar zal het niet vaak uit mezelf aanzetten

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2

First time listening to Bjork, Not sure what to make of it,Might give it another go

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2

Ouff pas certain de cet album. Certaines chansons sont pas si pire mais en generale c’est vraimemnt pas quelque chose que j’aime. Je comprend les bruit de bouche/gorge, c’est quelque chose d’original et ca vaut la peine detre enentendu mais l’album est vraiment juste boff. Je ne vois pas quand on peut ecouter cela pour le plaisir. 2.5

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2

oooh everyone look, it's Björk and she's being weird again! Isn't she just so WACKY? 2/5.

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2

I don't understand this but it's artistic in its own way, I guess?

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2

I was not the biggest fan of this. It was a little out there for me.

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2

Kudos to her for being brave enough to release an acapella album. She gathers an eclectic mix of artists including human beat-box Rahzel and Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagac. She references many styles including Gregorian Chants and Bulgarian women's choir music. Overall its a pretty impressive and ambitious project, but in all honesty I would never seek this record out for listening pleasure, its just a bit too inaccessible for me.

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2

Ei nappaa

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2

I don't have access to the substances required to enjoy or understand this album.

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2

Unique and strange, but interesting strange! I personally believe it could have benefited from being a shorter album, as in my opinion, less is more for "different" music

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2

typical bjork madness

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2

Just droned on, really not my thing

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2

Struggled to get this one to two stars.

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2

I appreciate what Bjork was going for, but for me it didn't translate on paper well enough. Kind of got lost and disengaged througout. Bit of a shame because I've really liked Debut and Vespertine from this list, and Post is one of my favourite albums from that era.

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1

I knew it was going to be weird... Just not sure how to listen to this. More drugs maybe?

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1

The fifth album from Björk took an experimental turn by using mostly acapella vocals to construct the majority of the album's songs. Because of this choice the album was critically acclaimed, but left critics either amazed or confused. I was one of the latter, being confused by the direction each song took. The songs did not seem to blend well together and besides a couple of them, the songs weren't that interesting either - even when being produced entirely by a human voice. Still, this is a unique album so I understand why it's on this list.

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1

Just more Bjork garbage. I will never understand how anyone could like her stuff. Such a shame how there's so many more talented people who don't even get a tenth of the recognition she does. 2/10.

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1

Not for me. My only words.

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1

We get it Bjork. You're a creative artsy type. Far too Indie for me. 1/5

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1

Points for being very unique. Some of the songs were an absolute no-go for me. The beatbox songs were fun.

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1

I either wasn't in the right frame of mind or this was truly horrible. Either way, did not like.

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1

My personal disdain for Bjork is very high.

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1

More boring bullshit by Bjork Seriously, WTF is this and why is it on any list, let alone a list of albums you must hear. If it was on a list of albums that should be taken out back and shot, I could get behind that.

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1

I bounced off this pretty hard. Not sure what this was about or who it was for.

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1

“Desired Constellation” is OK (interesting that it was co-written), but the rest of the album sounds like experimental art school project. I like Bjorks voice, and she’s an interesting song writer, but it’s just too much.

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1

Nah

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1

Maybe this is Mike Patton's only appearance in this list, but I can't. Technically, probably an amazing album. Plus one for the cover, Patton, and Rahzel. I haaaaaaaaated it. It probably ruined my day. It ruined my mood, left me depressed and irritable and haunted.

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1

I'm at a loss for words. I'll keep it simple. This sucked. Like a lot of suck. A whole lot.

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1

Fuck that very much.

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