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Björk is back just in time for weird girl autumn

<p>Björk, pictured here performing in 2008, released her newest albums &quot;Fossora&quot; in September.</p>

Björk, pictured here performing in 2008, released her newest albums "Fossora" in September.

Björk is back and still as polarizing and lovably strange as ever. On Friday, Sept. 30, her tenth studio album “Fossora” was released.

I’m still processing it, but in a good way.

“Fossora” is an intense record — packed with borderline overwhelming bass, techno-beats, a cappella and more. It’s focused on earthy imagery, with descriptions of fungi and moss. Despite the chaotic and odd aspects of the album, Björk makes it work.

Besides its extreme sounds, “Fossora” presents vulnerable themes: grief, womanhood, motherhood and romance. They may be difficult to recognize at first (they were for me), but if you give the record a few listens or simply glance at the lyrics, you’ll see what Björk is getting at.

And while I’m a sucker for a good, gloomy-sounding song, I love how Björk expresses her feelings on “Fossora.” Underneath the agglomeration of sounds and unique vocals, Björk’s fragility is exposed. 

It’s artistic expression at its finest.

The album opens with “Atopos,” which was released as a single and features Kasimyn. It’s a perfect opener, as it really gives a feel for what “Fossora” entails. At first, this track appears to have no melody, but give it a few listens and you’ll find it’s actually quite the earworm.

The music video for “Atopos” gives us a glimpse into the visual aspect of the album. Björk is dressed as a mushroom and appears to be in a fungal cave, singing, “If we don't grow outwards towards love / We'll implode inwards towards destruction.”

Ovule” comes next, which was also released as a single. It opens much softer than “Atopos,” but extremely heavy bass seeps into the song about a minute in. There are some a cappella-esque elements on this track, which made for an interesting listen.

A lyricless interlude, “Mycelia,” only reminded me of one thing: “My Singing Monsters.”

If I didn’t know this was a Björk song, I would’ve believed someone made this track on the mobile game. Let me be clear, that’s not a bad thing; I was just caught off guard, or maybe my brain has been poisoned to associate any vaguely a cappella-sounding song with “My Singing Monsters.”

Moving forward, “Sorrowful Soil” sounds like a Björk-filled church choir, but it’s much deeper than that. The song is about motherhood, whether it be Björk’s experience as a mother, or her own mother, Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, who died in 2018.

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“In a woman's lifetime / She gets four hundred eggs / But only two or three nests / Woven with a mother's life force / Emotional textile / Self-sacrificial,” Björk sings over a heavy bass.

Originally a single, “Ancestress” is a longer song and features Björk’s son, Sindri Eldon. This track is dedicated to Björk’s mother, and it's a melancholic recollection of Hauksdóttir. Björk describes not only her mother’s final moments, but her as a person.

It’s a beautiful and emotional tribute given by a still-grieving daughter.

“Fagurt Er Í Fjörðum” is another short interlude. It’s sung in Icelandic, and it’s very pretty. Björk has previously referred to “Fossora” as her “Iceland album,” so it’s fitting that she included a song in her native language.

Following this brief track is “Victimhood,” which is significantly longer. It’s dark-sounding, and I found it has a bit of an a cappella sound as well. Björk’s vocals are uncanny and otherworldly as they’re laid over woodwind instruments; the song is almost anxiety-inducing.

“Allow” features Emilie Nicolas and opens much differently from any of the previous tracks. There’s an overlap of Björk and Nicolas’s voices mixed with what sounds like heavy breathing.It’s an interesting song, and different from anything I’ve heard before. I really enjoyed Nicolas’s feature on this song, and her vocals at the end were simply beautiful.

“Fungal City” features serpentwithfeet and shifts between playful and light to intense and jolting. I have to say, I loved serpentwithfeet’s backing vocals. Surprisingly, they went very well with Björk’s voice.

On this track, Björk seems to be singing about a lover: “His capacity for love is enormous / His vibrant optimism happens to be my faith too, too, too.”

“Trölla-Gabba” again features Kasimyn. It serves as another interlude, beginning with the same a cappella sounds as “Mycelia,” but soon erupts into a discordant frenzy of sounds.

“Freefall” is another song about romance, as Björk sings about her powerful connection with a lover. This song sounds very theatrical to me, but I still found myself enjoying it, and it’s one of my favorites from “Fossora.”

The album’s title track features Kasimyn one last time. It was released as a single, which I think was a smart choice on Björk’s part because, like “Atopos,” it gives a feel for the record.

Björk uses mushrooms as a metaphor here, writing on her website, “I described the sound to the musicians as my mushroom album: tree roots and mycelium spreading deep into the soil.”

The closing track, “Her Mother’s House,” features Ísadóra Bjarkardóttir Barney, Björk’s daughter. The song is quite sad, as it’s sung from Björk’s point-of-view as a mother whose children have fled the nest.

“The more I love you / The stronger you become / The less you need me,” Björk sings, as her daughter repeats the lines, but from her point-of-view.

I absolutely love this song. It’s beautiful — definitely my favorite from “Fossora” — and Björk does an amazing job at portraying the relationship between mother and daughter. In a way, it reminds me of my own mother.

Overall, “Fossora” is more of an experience than an album. But that’s what I love about it. It’s not something I’d listen to while laying in bed or studying; it’s something that needs to be appreciated and absorbed every time you give it a listen.

Björk proves she’ll continue to challenge our ideas of what music can be, and I admire that. She’s one of the most unique musicians in the industry, and “Fossora” is proof she’ll continue to hold that title.

Rating: 9.5/10

@_chloebowie_

southacr@miamioh.edu


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