Bjork has always been among the most eclectic and widely considered “weird” musicians of the past 20 years. Some would argue that her strangeness is what made her so popular in the first place, but in today’s pop culture world—where there is an arms-race to see who can be the weirdest and grab the most sensationalist headlines—artists like Bjork are only another face in the crowd among the Lady Gagas of the world. Perhaps this oddity-overload caused her to feel that she had to push further past the boundaries of the bizarre to stand out and this new insecurity provoked her to make an album such as Biophilia (her 8th album as a solo artist).
The album contains ten tracks that are all intended to be listened to while playing with 10 ipad apps that were created for the album. In addition, those who truly want what Bjork describes as “the ultimate experience” with the album, can pay $800 for 10 tuning forks intended to be played along with the album. This amount of pretention could easily be forgiven if the music holds up. Unfortunately, it doesn’t. The majority of the tracks are incredibly dull musically, with instrumentation that never seems to grab onto an idea; it merely sprawls slowly against lyrics concerning topics such as bacteria, crystal growth, microbes, and tectonic plates—all of which are used as bad metaphors for relationships. The one redeeming track on the album, “Crystalline”, sports a chaotic dub-step section near the middle of the song, but it ends far too quickly. Even Bjork’s vocals are lacking on this record: due to the subject matter of the lyrics, she sounds as if she is reciting your geology textbook. Biophilia is an incredibly disappointing album from a truly talented artist that let her pretentions get the best of her.