Björk – Vulnicura

If a collaboration of genius lovers can form something as aesthetically and conceptually perfect as Drawing Restraint 9, then the breakup of said lovers should result in similarly powerful bi-products. And thus far, from Björk’s own version of what happened, her ending relationship with Mathew Barney has produced one of her most emotionally poignant and just good records to have been released within recent years.

Vulnicura strikes a chord in listeners who have long forgotten what it felt like for an album to possess the ability to break their heart. And while some critics have marked Björk’s typical fallacies of the break-up album: one sided-ness, subjectivity, self-pity, etc., per usual, Björk has ambitiously extended herself and boldly taken the break-up album a step further, going so far as to include time stamps to songs in liner notes that document the progression of the failing relationship, with the journalistic accuracy of which only a Scorpio could manage. Songs like “History of Touches” even file through leftover fondness and positive memories while dealing with those notes’ absences now. Björk has addressed a cliche concept record with the scrutiny and curiosity of a scientist, and she has emerged from the process a victor.

Musically, Vulnicura is easily a top contender of Björk’s discography. Heartbreaking lines such as “maybe he will come out of this loving me” are planted in Björk’s signature fragmented symphonies adorned with glitch and abstract electronics. And co-producing this effort with the brilliant Venezuelan Arca and collaborating with the talented Haxan Cloak, among others, this record may end up being Björk’s most significant and valuable achievement.

-April Davis



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