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Album Review: Utopia by Björk

By | Published December 4, 2017

Over the years, Iceland’s Björk has released some of the most influential and essential electronic albums of all time. Her unique voice and use of strange electronics has made for one of the most compelling discographies in modern history. Albums like 1995s Post and 1997s Homogenic have solidified their place in music history as some of the greatest of all time. Bjork’s 2015 release Vulcinura was one of the artists most beautiful and heart wrenching efforts to date. It was a break up album filled with incredible arrangements and some of her most powerful singing. Björk now presents us with her follow up album, Utopia.

During the build-up to the release of this album, Björk described this album as her “tinder album”. This description is practically spot on as Utopia is filled with love songs about new romances, the excitement of finding new love and a stand against violent men. Once again, Björk teams up with Venezuelan producer Arca. She also has an abundance of flute arrangements throughout the album along with field recordings of birds from both Iceland and Venezuela. The mix of Arca’s production and these flute arrangements makes Utopia an album that makes you feel as if you’re floating. The songs are airy and allow for Björk’s voice to stand above and enchant the listener.

The first half of this album is what could be described as the “tinder” part of the album. On the opener Blissing me, Björk sings about texting and sharing mp3s with a new lover. It’s a song about the act of falling in love and the insecurities that come with it. Body Memory stands nearly at 10 minuets and is filled with lush flute arrangements and strange beats. It stands as one of Björks most revealing songs as she ponders the difficulties and joys of love.

However, the second half of the album goes into the world that makes supporting her new love difficulty. The troubles shown in Vulcinura return in Sue me a song aimed at her ex-lover who sued her over the custody of her child. Its filled with harsh percussion from Arca.

Tabula Rosa is a feminist calling to end the chain of violent men and calls for “women to rise, and not just take it lying down”. Saint and Future Forever are not only two of the strongest songs of the album, but in all of Björk’s careers. The flute on Saint is simply mind-blowing and it stands as a love letter to the healing power of music. Future Forever is the perfect conclusion to this album. Here, the flutes are gone, only a synth stands with Björk’s voice. Björk sings about turning off the “loop of the past” and moving into the future with a new mindset and finding love.

Björks 10th album is her longest to date at 72 minutes, but it also stands as one of her most revealing and beautiful. It’s filled with untraditional love song after untraditional love song. The instrumentals mean that it takes a while for the songs to grow on you, but when it does and the album reveals itself to you, it becomes an album that takes you to another world.  

Rating: 9/10