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Vespertine

by Björk

Released August 27, 2001 via One Little Independent Records / Elektra Records

Reviewed August 25, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Pagan Poetry (75%), Unison (48%), It’s Not Up To You (45%)

On her fourth record, Björk finally arrived at her magnum opus. Her previous records saw immense talent for genre blending, textural genius, and making the unconventional catchy, but Vespertine is her high art masterpiece. Creating an aural underwater cave, this album crafts a world of minimalistic design where the smallest details become gigantic spectacles. Each is something to be awed in. Not a single second is wasted, with every moment adding to the emotional weight of the record. That weight culminates in immensely emotional bursts of sound. Vespertine gathered everything Björk was, but at its fullest potential, with a spontaneity that captures musical magic. – Jared (10/10)

Björk’s fourth album, Vespertine, is one rooted in subtlety and nuance. Recorded during an especially tenuous time in the artist’s life, Vespertine served as a therapeutic release for Björk; a deliberate attempt to craft something warm, soothing, and intimate. Taking a unique approach to production, the instrumentals on this album are a combination of microbeats—crafted using various unorthodox sounds (in a musical context) such as shuffling cards or cracking ice—and beautiful string arrangements that make heavy use of harps. The result is a sound wholly its own, that is equal parts minimal as it is opulent, as peaceful as it is perplexing, and as otherworldly as it is deeply human. And of course, being the talented songwriter she is, Björk dominates Vespertine with beautiful vocal performances that command your attention at every moment. Angelic and in tune with every deepest aspect of the choral-like production, Björk captures the spirit of sensuality and intense love to create an art-pop holy grail. – Dominick (9/10)

Vespertine is Björk's fourth studio album and is commonly paired with Homogenic as her “best” work. There is nothing more pleasing than realizing an album has aged supremely well, with time on its side offering a meditative quality to its being. Vespertine is home to a gorgeous and somewhat minimal sound palette—near-cavernous in its sonic size, but contrasted by its non-overbearing manner. It has been trimmed of all its fat. The remaining mass is saturated by intricate details, adding to Vespertine in every way. Everything comes together to accommodate and bolster the sound design. It is safe to say that this is one of the most well-produced and well-arranged albums of all time. A universe unto its own and one to get utterly swept away in. An album's ability to remain captivating after years in the public sphere is an indicator of just how special a piece of work is. Vespertine isn't necessarily the sort of album that you would show to your mates, but when you find out that one of them knows the album, it tends to mean something. – Peter (8.5/10)


Hadley: 10/10 | Jared: 10/10 | Cam: 9/10

Dominick: 9/10 | Pax: 8.9/10 | Peter: 8.5/10

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