Music Reviews

Read: Interpreting Bjork

Various Artists


Bjork is one of our most unique musical talents, and if you don’t own any of her records, shame on you! The folks at Hush Records realize how important she is, and they have put together a nice little tribute album called Read: Interpreting Bjork.

Noise For Pretend’s version of “It’s Oh So Quiet” is beautiful, fluid and wonderfully performed. The singer sounds a lot like Suzanne Vega, and the music is laid back and smooth, as opposed to Bjork’s version which blows up spastically during the chorus. Blanket Music’s take on “Hyper-Ballad” is lazy and boring, and instantly forgettable. It lacks the essential urgency of the original.

Kaitlyn Ni Donovan does an absolutely superb job on her cover of “Hunter”; she enunciates her lyrics similar to Bjork, stays true to the original feel and melody of the song and adds a sultry and sexy slant to one of my favorite Bjork songs. One of Bjork’s greatest songs ever, the gargantuan “Joga” is turned into a tired, stale and soppy cracker by Ben Gibbard and Ben Barnett. They sound like a couple of stupid indie hipsters who swear by the likes of Belle & Sebastian and their very emo pretensions. Yuck! Incredibly, The Decemberists’ version of “Human Behavior” is so pretentious and awful that it makes the previous song sound wonderful. The Decemberists’ vocalist has the staple whiney, pasty and bespectacled mannerisms of side satchel toting indie hipsters worldwide (nasal, off tune and silly sounding). I know it’s supposed to be hip to have an off key and whiney voice, but this guy is revolting.

Corrina Repp takes too many liberties with “You’ve Been Flirting Again,” and it ends up sounding nothing like the original. The Roots of Orchis offer up a lovely, fairly accurate cover of “Possibly Maybe.” The vocal lines are played by a guitar, with the programmed beats and synthesizer sounding pretty much like the original. Peter Miser’s version of “Immature” sounds only remotely like Bjork’s original, and he has stupid little funk music things going on; it’s awful. Bobby Birdman’s cover of “Unravel” is not good, at all, as it is overblown and way corny.

Kind of Like Spitting do a pretty solid and sultry version of “In the Musicals.” There aren’t any vocals, and the instrumentation is a lot more rock-oriented, but the melodies are basically true to the original.

Overall, Bjork fans will probably enjoy this unique tribute. The good songs here make up for the terrible ones. Non-Bjork fans, however, will find this album confusing and pointless.

Hush Records:

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