Socialist Worker

Bjork’s album Utopia is based on struggle, not escapist fantasy

by Lois Browne
Issue No. 2584

Artwork from Utopia

Artwork from Utopia

In her 30 years in the music industry, Bjork has always pushed boundaries.

She is uniquely creative, and this can be seen through her visual effects, album artwork or sound and execution.

Bjork never fails to turn things upside down.

Her ninth studio album, Utopia, is full of fragmented bleeps, drum machines, fluid sampling and woodwind instrumentation.

It features a 12-piece Icelandic female flute choir, personally arranged and conducted by Bjork herself.

The flutes add a lightness to the music which is a theme running through the album.

Opening track Arisen My Senses is a kaleidoscope of singing birds and twisted electronic soundscapes.

They intersect and weave around heightened vocals through which lyrics are hinted at.

A lightness of touch in both the lyrics and composition shape the album.

Harps and the piano delicately take the lead on Blissing Me.

The song is full of sweet metaphors—“two music notes obsessing”— and draws on the powers of music as a way of raising consciousness.

Bjork’s music is often political, and unapologetic when it is.

Developed and written in collaboration with Venezuelan DJ and producer Alejandro Ghersi, this latest album is a departure from her introspective last ablum Vulnicura, released in 2015.

It is joyous in places, a foil to the poison being pumped out from the White House.

Utopia is a work of hope, but it is not designed to be an escapist diversion from reality.

In a recent interview Bjork pointed out that “governments are not going to save us and change our cities.

“We‘re going to have to do it from the ground up, and the sooner the better.”

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