Reviewed by Marc Savlov, Fri., Sept. 21, 2001
BjorkVespertine (Elektra) Bringing e.e. cummings to a new generation -- that's Icelandic pop-spritester Bjork Gudmundsdottir for you. No one, and I mean no one else could get away with lifting a page out of cummings' Impressions and gently pasting it atop a lush, minimalist lullaby, as she does in the luxurious, lovely Sun in My Mouth. In fact, the whole of Vespertine, is like a lullaby, albeit one for adults craving a simpler, but no less emotionally complex, dollop of pure pop blissery. Like so much of Bjork's previous work, the songs on Vespertine (the title is an adjective referring to things "of the evening") at first sound engagingly simple; it's only with repeated listens that one begin to pick up the waves of thick back-production nesting in the corners. Tiny little heartbeats of sound, clicks, muffled crunches soft and sweet, crowd the album; it's maximum minimalism, as ambiently lush as the sound of encroaching twilight. It's all but impossible to pick a standout track, as they all triumph in their own way, but the sensually dense longing of "Pagan Poetry," with its aching brace of multiple Bjorks pining for a lover ("She loves him, she loves him, she loves him") is a tender knockout. A musical tourniquet for a terribly wounded world, this is breathtaking, life-affirming music with the power to heal and restore. It's that beautiful.