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Vespertine

Björk

2001

Vespertine
Album Summary

Vespertine is the fourth studio album by Icelandic recording artist Björk. It was released on 27 August 2001 in the United Kingdom by One Little Indian Records and in the United States by Elektra Entertainment. Production on the album began during the filming of Dancer in the Dark, which was characterized by conflict between her and director Lars von Trier. With Vespertine, Björk aspired to create an album with an intimate and domestic feeling, deviating from the brash sonority of her previous studio album Homogenic (1997). The musical style of the album reflected Björk's newly found interest in the minimal and intricate electronic music of producers such as Opiate, Console and the duo Matmos, who were all enlisted for the album. With the rising popularity of Napster and music downloads, she also composed arrangements with thin, "icy" sounding instruments whose quality would not be compromised when downloaded and played on a computer, including the harp, the celesta, clavichord, strings and custom music boxes. Assisted by Matmos, Björk created "microbeats" from various commonplace sounds, such as that of shuffling cards and ice being cracked. Lyrically, the album revolves around sex and love—sometimes explicitly—inspired by her at the time new relationship with Matthew Barney; other lyrical sources include the poetry of E. E. Cummings and British playwright Sarah Kane's Crave. Vespertine peaked at number 19 on the US Billboard 200 and at number 8 on the UK Albums Chart. It was widely acclaimed by critics, with praise centred on its erotic, intimate mood and sonic experimentation. The album appeared on several publications' lists of the best albums of 2001 and of the decade, and has often been considered Björk's best album to date. It was certified gold in Canada, France, and the United Kingdom. Three singles were released from Vespertine: "Hidden Place", "Pagan Poetry", and "Cocoon". In 2001, she enlisted Zeena Parkins, Matmos, and a choir of Inuit women to embark on the Vespertine World Tour, which took place at theatres and small venues, in favor of acoustics over audience numbers. Björk, a self-titled coffee table book containing photographs of the artist throughout her career, was released simultaneously with the album.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.18

Votes

10390
Genres
Pop
Electronica

Reviews

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Mon Nov 23 2020
2

I am not a fan of Björk. Like... REALLY not a fan. She tries too hard to be weird for the sake of being weird and the music suffers for it. This lo-fi, chamber-chill, trip-track album is rough enough without Bjork's whispery, wavery, warbling vocals. She goes out of her way to avoid anything resembling a song structure or an actual melody, instead choosing to wander around aimlessly like a wino on a three-day bender. This album is utterly pointless. I fail to understand how it has garnered so many awards and accolades. I can only assume it's some sort of Emporor's Clothes situation where the pseudo-intellectual music critic crowd wants to appear smart so they gush about the beauty of something that nobody actually sees just because it's Bjork so they're supposed to like it.

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Wed Jul 07 2021
5

This is a surprising one for me. I knew of her most popular songs, but never checked out a whole record. This was enchanting and made me want to become a fairy in the forest. Which is impressive considering I was actually suffering in rush hour traffic and sweating like a pig.

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Fri Apr 23 2021
5

Bjork crafts these wonderful pieces of music with so much purpose, you can hear it in her production. I'd like to think she is primarily a vocal artist, with her voice at the forefront. This makes the music all the more purposeful, being built around the central driving force of Bjork's singing (which is wonderful, by the way). As such, there's a lot of beauty here in this album, with some of the compositions reminding me of one of my favorite albums of all time (Actor by St. Vincent). It's a wonderful body of work, I don't think I can find anything bad to say about it. Well done, Bjork.

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Fri Sep 10 2021
4

I should start by saying that I admire Bjork much more than I enjoy her music. She typically has more ideas in one album than most artists have in their entire careers. She is painstaking in her professionalism and attention to detail. There is nothing lazy or half-hearted about her music. She is perhaps the most committed artist I know of and utterly fearless. And she draws inspiration from a bewildering array of sources. Given how strange her music is, I'm both shocked and grateful that she's had such a long and successful career. She's made room for tons of artists who aren't nearly as daring as she. So why don't I like her better? Probably because her eclecticism and general weirdness overwhelms my poor aged brain. Which is why Verspertine is such a surprise. Not that the album lacks ideas, but they're all pressed into the service of a singular and coherent vision. Listening to Vespertine is like listening to a teenager sing her diary in her attic bedroom at three in the morning, the needle on a record player repeatedly glitching at the end of an album, rain pattering on the window. Bjork's voice rarely rises above a whisper, but she sings with naked emotional intensity. She uses pre-recorded sounds heavily, the way Portishead did on Dummy, but Bjork takes it much further, recording antique music boxes, doors closing, and other found sounds, in addition to musical loops. In addition to the music/found sound loops, Bjork also employs percussive instruments like harpsichord and xylophone, and a full orchestra. It's a unique mix, extremely detailed like all of her work, and a lot to absorb in one sitting. More than any other album I've listened to recently, the music of Vespertine seems designed to support Bjork's vocal performance and lyrics, rather than be an end in itself. So, to really do justice to Vespertine in an review, I would really have to grapple with her lyrics and evaluate how well the musical accompaniment enriches them. That's too much work for me, but I can give my impression, which is that Vespertine is a very accomplished piece of work. Confessional and intimate, atmospheric ballads aren't really my thing, but Vespertine is pretty darned good.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
5

Original, emotional, introspective, magical. Recommended season: Autumn

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Fri Jul 23 2021
2

I can appreciate the thought and care that went into this and the production is pretty good, but got to be honest I just can't get into her voice and her weird infantile fairy thing.

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Wed Aug 30 2023
5

Holy mother of god this album is astounding. This could be the best-sounding album on this entire list. Amazing, lush, ethereal textures make this album fabulously enchanting and captivating. This album was definitely outside of my comfort zone but I was quick to warm up to it. I haven’t heard anything else of Byork’s solo stuff, what a good introduction to an artist I keep being disappointed by reviewers on this website, they tend to have awful biases against anything even slightly unorthodox. This album is monumental but has a fairly mediocre rating here. The only criticism people can think up is very lame and unjust: “I don’t like her voice” or “the song structures are unorthodox” or “she’s trying too hard to be weird”. It is so stupid to say an artist is trying too hard when they actually achieve something unique and amazing. Were the Beatles trying too hard to be weird when they recorded Sgt Pepper’s? Were the Beach Boys trying too hard to be artsy on Pet Sounds? I think that the aesthetic this album achieves is basically unparalleled. What an experience this is. I just relish the experience of being IMPRESSED by an album, which is a rare experience

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Wed Jan 13 2021
2

Sounds like Dolores O’Riordan held a knife to Avril Lavigne’s throat and told her to sing like Fergie trying to be Alanis Morrisette.

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Tue Dec 07 2021
5

Hi- Hidden Place, Pagan Poetry, Aurora, Unison Weaving the hollow and empty with grandiose and dramatic, synthetic with natural, the devious with the naive, listening to Björk is like watching a crystal-clear video stream glitching out on a flaky connection; It's poetic, flowing, and jarring. This kind of evolution of Björk's tapestry of duality is interspersed throughout Vespertine, bizarre, beautiful and disastrous. Hidden Place is an other-worldly (a term all too often associated with Björk's work) track that sets the tone for the 50 minute journey that follows, with Björk's signature struggled breathy crooning (Pagan Poetry) vs her wild belting of notes that echo off the back walls of time (Aurora), it's endearing as much as it is unsettling. Unison is both claustrophobic and expansive, just more opposites that get played off of each other which are part-and-parcel for a vacation through the strange world of Björk, a world that simply couldn't be anyone else's.

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Wed Sep 27 2023
5

I love this album. I had never heard it before, but it was such a good listen. I will put it in rotation from this point on. I had really only heard Björk's second album previously, and this album isn't similar at all. It seems to be heavy influenced by a more minimal electronic sound, and i really really like it. The album is quite same-y, but in a really great way, if flows from beginning to end, you never feel the weight of it being over 55 mins. It kind of reminds me about what I love about REM's Up, and OK Computer and maybe slightly some Sigor Ros. For me, albums like this are what this list is all about. It's great As for a rating, I feel like I have to go with a 5, you could argue a 4, but i think it's just such an enjoyable experience and it sounds outstanding, the production is amazing, her voice is unreal. I just love it 5/5

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Wed Sep 16 2020
4

Bjork's voice is something else. Between the timbre, meandering around the scale, qne formless lyrics, it's confusing and gripping at the same time. Production wise, it's quite modern and would fit well with today's pop trends. The metallic synths are very much 21st century dream pop while the sparse de-emphasized rhythms are still distinctively 90s. Weirdly, I would definitely give this a re-listen.

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Mon Nov 01 2021
4

I love Bjork. So strange and unique, yet still catchy and listenable. This album is no exception. 4 stars.

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Sat Nov 20 2021
4

Not my usual thing but I respect what Bjork is doing. I overlooked her music in the 90's because the media focused on her portrayal as a kooky manic pixie dream girl and I assumed that her vocals were heavy on screeching and yowling. I was pleasantly surprised to listen to this album that was crafted with layers of texture, and now I think that (as with most female artists from the 90's) Bjork was overlooked in favour of her male peers.

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Mon Jan 25 2021
3

Bjork's unique diction and style of singing sound vaguely like how I'd imagine Lorde would sing if she were Werner Herzog's daughter. The instrumentals and production on this album were most likely a significant early influence on the low-fi alternative genre. Overall a surprisingly enjoyable and original album for anyone who doesn't mind Bjork's unconventional singing style.

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Wed Jun 28 2023
3

Seems like Bjork is singing her emotions which so that you feel her music rather than just hear it.

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Thu Aug 24 2023
3

I'm not a Bjork fan but this is the most cohesive album of hers that I've ever heard. I still can't really get past her voice or the shoehorning of lyrics into spaces where they just don't fit. But as Bjork goes...not bad.

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Mon Apr 05 2021
2

This album remind me a lot of the Joni Mitchell album where the background music isn't really doing anything but she's saying something it's just I'm not there to really understand it and it's not my forte

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Mon Sep 06 2021
2

I try not to say "artsy" music like this is bad, because I feel like I just don't get it, and that's my fault. But man, this is kinda bad. I guess I can appreciate the alien sound. It almost seems like something the belters from The Expanse series would listen to - just totally foreign to my ears. Anyway, I probably won't be returning to the album.

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Thu May 25 2023
1

Like listening to a DJ mixing two tracks that have nothing in common while standing next to freeway hearing traffic go by.

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Fri Jun 16 2023
5

bjork rules and this is her best album. somber, thoughtful, eerie, transcendent. i have a recurring dream, folks.

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Mon Jul 10 2023
5

Beautiful album with high replay value

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Fri Oct 06 2023
5

This is slowly becoming my favourite of hers (I say that after listening to every Bjork album)

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Fri Feb 26 2021
4

Its very much like sound as texture. like ASMR. Its cool but I am not quite sure what it makes me feel. I feel sort of lost in these sounds, can't quite predict how the songs will go. Its Not Up To You is a good track. Pagan Poetry is intense. Good album to have on in the winter. Yea this album is a lot about getting busy, and the songs themselves individually don't have the same impact as the whole thing in its totality.

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Tue Aug 24 2021
4

I love the uniqueness of her voice, the production values and the quirkiness of her music. On the flip side, it was rather maudlin overall, which was a barrier to engaging with it more. "Heirloom" gets a shout out for featuring some kind of Casio keyboard percussion track but making it work

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Thu Nov 04 2021
4

This was my introduction to Björk, and at the time I had never heard anything quite like it. I remember being struck by how the music could be so soft and subtle but incredibly lush and layered

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Sat Nov 13 2021
4

Hard to describe what this album is about but I feel it. Takes some warming up but eventually you realize you are in her world and her emotions come through leaving me feeling it all without fully understand it. I step out of this album as if I just left a theater. I experienced a piece of art that I want to go back to and experience once more. There’s more there and I’m excited to go back in.

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Tue Nov 16 2021
4

Cold, haunting, but all around beautiful. The often spaced out soundscapes match perfectly with bjork's incredible voice. Although admittedly a little too long for my willingness to stick with this sound, I can see why many consider this one of her finest works. Favorites: Cocoon, It's Not Up To You, Aurora

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Mon Mar 14 2022
4

I'm torn on how to rate this. 100% absolutely beautiful and unique music. But, I'll probably never listen to it again.

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Mon Feb 15 2021
3

Vespertine is unconventionally and hauntingly creative, with moments of beauty for me. However, overall, it's not something I would listen to again. I respect Bjork's work, but don't gravitate to her art.

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Mon Nov 15 2021
3

Bjork at her most Bjorkish. Wears a bit thin in places, no real standout tracks, and it was about this time that Goldfrapp took it to a more interesting place.

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Mon Feb 15 2021
2

Day 30 of Albums You Must Hear... Vesterpine is the fourth studio album from Icelandic singer Björk, an artist that has been creating since age 11. Vesterpine is part art pop, part trip hop and part electronica. Björk’s voice is very similar to Portishead’s singer Beth Gibbons. The sound of the vocals has a quiet and comforting ambience to it. The production is very good and it definitely had that trip hop quality to it, sonically. While the majority of Vesterpine is a tad too emo for my personal taste, I can see why some fans call it her best album to date. The songs that I liked were Hidden Place, It’s Not Up To You and Heirloom. Lastly, Björk got a lot of attention for the swan dress that she wore to the 2001 Oscars, she is also wearing that dress on the cover of Vesterpine. Anyhow, next album please!! Please share your thoughts, memories and opinions!

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Fri Mar 05 2021
5

The music has a very alien and other-worldy quality, which I found very interesting.

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Tue Nov 17 2020
5

Não é dos mais acessíveis da Bjork, mas a produção e muito complexa e feita com elementos da casa dela. Feito no período do "Dancer in the Dark". Assistir também o show incrível na Royal Opera House

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Fri Dec 25 2020
5

10/10 Björks best and one of the best albums I’ve ever heard overall

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Wed Feb 03 2021
5

I liked this a lot more than the 93 album

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Thu Jun 10 2021
5

Hasta me da miedo no ponerle 5

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

Never listen to this before but it was a perfect vibe for today.

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Fri Mar 26 2021
5

Has to be in my top ten. Made me go from a Bjork fan to an obsessive fan boy. I still get the chills listening even years later. Flawless and an essential listen

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Fri Jan 15 2021
5

Melodic genius. Never afraid to take chances with rhythm and cadence. A true joy.

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Fri Jul 02 2021
5

Really inspiring and creative

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Fri Jun 25 2021
5

Very soothing. love the textures and her vocals. will be exploring more of her ouvre

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Sat Jul 03 2021
5

complex layers and super production

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Sat Jan 02 2021
5

Never listened to Björk before and had no idea what to expect, but I absolutely loved it. I found her voice tantalizing and the music both relaxing and stimulating. I will absolutely listen to this and other Björk albums again. Actually, I'm going to listen to another Björk album right now.

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Mon May 10 2021
5

one of the best albums. bjork is a legend and bright. beautiful voice. this album is the peak of her career.

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Thu Aug 12 2021
5

An album of total beauty. Sensuous, delicate, powerful. Love Bjork's voice, the song writing, the gossamer details in the music. Would give this a 6* if possible. <3

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Sun Sep 19 2021
5

Великолепно! Мой любимый альбом Бйорк!

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Mon Oct 04 2021
5

ну просто замечательное, красивейшее музло, с прекрасным голосом

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Tue Oct 26 2021
5

Bjork is fantastic. Fantastic is Bjork. Such a recognisable sound.

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Tue Oct 26 2021
5

I fucking love Bjork. Such interesting and moving music. Even the songs I'm not so into I respect cos its just such great music. Not on this album but Unravel is one of the best songs of all time

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Sun Oct 31 2021
5

Björk’s masterpiece. A stunning, sensual, beautiful record, delicate and stirring. Minimalist beats gently pulse, celestial chorus soar and Björk’s incredible vocals hold all together. It’s hard to think of a more imaginative artist working today, exploring her own passions, never following the fashion. But here she is, wowing the listener with an extraordinary album quite unlike any other.

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Wed Nov 17 2021
5

Deep and intimate. By turns breathy and dreamy then suddenly out-front and powerful, you hang on every note for an irresistable listen.

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Tue Dec 28 2021
5

so this was class.... ive tried to get into bjork before but i could never really get past venus as a boy, so i was a bit hesitant about this album but about halfway through i was like oh this is amazing i want to listen to this over and over again preferably while on various substances.

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Sat Jan 08 2022
5

It amazes me how she creates this mystical world where she reigns supreme.

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Sun Jan 30 2022
5

Does Björk have like the best discography ever? I'm not even sure this is her best.

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Sat Feb 12 2022
5

Björk is so weird. I love her.

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Mon Feb 14 2022
5

Gostei muito de ouvir, músicas cheias de camadas. Adorei as melodias.

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Sun Feb 20 2022
5

Valeur sentimentale pour moi cet album Un de mes préféré de Bjork. Album de tempête de neige. Les textures et les sons de cet album sont sublime. Intime et immense à la fois

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

Top tier Bjork album for me, along with Debut and Homogenic.

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Wed Mar 02 2022
5

Had not fully invested in this album at the time: it was always Homogenic and then Post. But last year Debut turned out to be much better than I remembered. And this year the same is even more true for Vespertine, the 2nd 1001 album from Bjork on the list for me.

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Mon Apr 11 2022
5

Okei mitä helvettiä ja mitä kummaa, miks oon skipannut just tän Björkin levyn aiemmin. Osuu nimittäin todella herkkään paikkaan tämmöselle 00-luvun alun olohuoneteknon ystävälle. Plus siihen päälle, että Björk vaan osaa tehdä maagista musaa. Alkupuoli on jo tosi kova, mutta erityisesti yllätti, miten loppupuolella esim. Aurora, Heirloom ja Unison pystyy vielä viemään hommaa eteenpäin. Sanoisin 4.5/5 mut pyöristetään nyt ylöspäin, ku niin kiva yllätys.

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Fri Apr 22 2022
5

My goodness, Bjork is an absolutely fascinating artist in every way. I really hadn't actively listened to much of her work before this project, and I'm glad it's introduced me to a few of her albums. This album might be my favorite of hers thus far. Her sense of melody and harmony, her writing and composition, and her personal style of vocal delivery all add up to such an intriguing layering and texturing of music. I don't even like hearing such synth-heavy music on a regular basis, but she makes it work so well. By the end of the album, things felt a little jarred to me but I think that's due to her use of unusual rhythms, especially in her melodic delivery.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

Ovo mi je naprosto jedan od najdražih albuma i nevjerojatno koliko dobro zvućči dvadesetak godina kasnije.

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Tue Apr 26 2022
5

In most of her work, Bjork's voice takes center stage. Which makes sense, considering that her voice is the Icelandic version of a cowboy swagger. On this album, the mixing takes center stage, with perfectly placed notes of piano doing enough to offset the darker beats. I'd love to be in that mixing room. I'd also love to hear all of the parts separately. My guess is that each would be interesting on its own, but together create something greater than the sum.

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Wed May 04 2022
5

Ett av de bästa albumen någonsin. Det är synd att vi inte fick det medan det ännu var snöigt, skivans ljud är på något sätt kallt samtidigt som det är det varmaste, mest intima man någonsin hört. Jag älskar trumljuden, de låter helt härliga, jag älskar melodierna, jag älskar refrängerna, jag älskar hur uppriktigt, intimt och känslosamt Björk sjunger om det hon känner. Vespertine känns inte heller någonsin cyniskt, vilket är helt fräscht.

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Wed May 04 2022
5

My favorite Björk album. From the intimate ”Cocoon” to the sprawling ”Pagan Poetry”, the album combines orchestral strings, choir song, assorted twinkling instruments, electonic production and Björk’s umistakable voice into a cohesive, enveloping and deeply personal expression. The ticking and shuffling electronic percussion used also appeals to me personally.

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Sat May 14 2022
5

Amazing never listened to bjork before

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Thu May 19 2022
5

listened to while high, i was floating through space and time letting the stars guide my way

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Tue May 24 2022
5

Oh fuck yeah, this is one of my favorite albums Really captures that surreal, dreamy experience Incredible album - 10/10

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Wed May 25 2022
5

I've already heard it, love it <3

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Fri May 27 2022
5

I've only ever heard of Bjork because of her - shall we say - out-there dress at the Oscars in 2001. So it almost comes as no surprise that she is donning that exact dress on the cover of Vespertine. This album was an overall nice surprise, as what little press I'd heard of Bjork was all about the swan dress, and how strange it was. Of which I then formed a pre-conceived notion of what her music sounded like, and that it wouldn't be something I would enjoy. The ethereal like quality to her music, draws you in with her understated beats and unique voice, of which I would liken to someone like Norwegian artist Aurora, paired with the sensuality of FKA Twigs. Best: Aurora Worst: Heirloom

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Mon May 30 2022
5

Not my favorite Bjork, but the album I’d play for anyone who wanted to understand Bjork (if that’s possible). Varied, ambitious and overflowing with ideas and strategies.

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Sat Jun 11 2022
5

Superb album. Unique and wonderful.

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Wed Jul 06 2022
5

Love this album. Instant 5 stars.

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Sun Jul 17 2022
5

There is truly no one like Björk

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Fri Jul 22 2022
5

This is my favorite Bjork album.

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Tue Aug 02 2022
5

Ethereal and otherworldly, of course, because it's Bjork. I have a strange fascination with her and her works. They poke at a part of me I didn't know was there and they make me feel exuberant. 'Debut' is the standard she set, and she set it high. I've listened to some of her other albums before, not this one, and felt like they didn't completely live up to the expectations of her first. However, 'Vespertine' felt like a return to exceptional form. There's a purpose to each of the songs, and you can feel the emotion and time put into each of them. Some people might just dismiss the songs because of how she manipulates her voice, but that doesn't give Bjork enough credit. Inventive, strange, and exceptional, I loved this album.

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Mon Aug 08 2022
5

https://youtu.be/p3iDtps7dL8

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Fri Aug 19 2022
5

While it initially appears less aurally confrontational than her other work, the layering on this thing is just incredible. A real grower, and still sounds fresh.

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Sat Aug 20 2022
5

I love this 4 Like one long, dreamy thought of sorts. 5 And still enjoyable. Oh what a pleasure.

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Wed Sep 14 2022
5

Bjork and this album are both magical.

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Tue Oct 04 2022
5

Nakon što mi je Homogenic, njen album iz '97 dugo vremena bio najdraži, ovaj album je to potukao jednom zimom prije 3-4 godine. Jednostavno na zimu ove instrumentale slušati na ovakav glas, podsjeti te na neki kristalni zvuk, na led, na magiju neku ledenu? Kakav Frozen, samo Vespertine! P.S. Do yourself a favor i ako ti ne bude pasalo sada, poslušaj kad zazimi, tokom dana onak. pogotovo Frosti. mhm.

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