Homogenic is the fourth studio album by Björk, released on September 22, 1997 as the follow-up to Post. It's known for mixing electronic beats with orchestral instruments and for its grand production, and it also serves as sort of a tribute to her homeland of Iceland. Because of its experimental nature, it may not be for everybody, but it definitely is one of the biggest masterpieces of her career.
The album began with small music-making sessions in Björk's London-based home studio alongside audio engineer Mark Dravs. However, the progress in these sessions was halted due to the media sensation caused by stalker Ricardo López, a Björk fan and video diarist who became so obsessed with her that he attempted to kill her with a letter bomb (which was fortunately intercepted before any harm could be done) and videotaped himself committing suicide.
Following this, a shaken-up Björk ended up recording the whole of the album in the studio of a tour drummer that was located in Spain; a portion of the album's introspective and melancholic lyrical nature were influenced by the incident, including the Japanese bonus track "So Broken". Although she initially planned to self-produce the whole album, she enlisted multiple producers like she did with Post, and would've included the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan had they not been busy producing for their album Wu-Tang Forever.
It was extremely well-received by critics and fans alike. Notable songs include "All Is Full of Love", "Jóga", "Hunter", "Bachelorette", and "Alarm Call". It has consistently received critical acclaim from its initial release to this day, and has frequently been hailed as one of the greatest electronica/Trip Hop albums of all time.
- "Hunter" (4:15)
- "Jóga" (5:05)
- "Unravel" (3:21)
- "Bachelorette" (5:12)
- "All Neon Like" (5:53)
- "5 Years" (4:29)
- "Immature" (3:06)
- "Alarm Call" (4:19)
- "Pluto" (3:20)
- "All Is Full of Love" (4:32)
All is full of tropes...
- Ambient: The album version of "All Is Full Of Love", which has no drums or electronic beats.
- Animal Motifs: "Bachelorette" compares the subject of the song to a killer whale.
- Anti-Love Song: "5 Years" is basically a "Reason You Suck" Speech to a lover who can't handle real intimacy in a relationship.I dare you to take me on
I dare you to show me your palms
What's so scary? Not a threat in sight
You just can't handle, you can't handle love
I dare you to take me on
I dare you to show me your palms
I'm so bored of cowards
That say they want, then they can't handle
- Break Up Song: "Immature" and "Bachelorette"
- Careful with That Axe: Happens notably on "Pluto", and to a lesser extent on "5 Years".
- Changed for the Video: The video for "All Is Full of Love" uses the Radio String Mix (actually the original mix!) instead of the album version.
- Continuity Nod: "Hunter" features Björk changing into a "techno-bear" while singing. Similar bear hunting themes were addressed by her in the video for "Human Behaviour" from Debut (1993).
- Creator Breakdown: The colder and moodier nature of this album can definitely be attributed to the aforementioned stalker incident.
- Darker and Edgier: Homogenic is a lot more dense and emotional in nature compared to Post and Debut.
- Department of Redundancy Department: In "Hunter":I'm going hunting
I'm a hunter
- Emergency Transformation: "Pluto." It seems to be a nonspecific metaphor, though.Excuse me, but I just have to explodeExplode this body off meI'll be brand new, brand new tomorrowA little bit tired, but brand new
- Genre Mashup: As Björk will be. "Joga" and "Bachelorette" are a good example of her clash of styles, combining Electronic Music with Classical Music strings. "Bachelorette" ends with an accordion.
- Genre Roulette: Averted, as Bjork said herself that she wanted this album to have one flavour, hence the name "Homogenic." Nonetheless, she still manages to incorporate influences from other genres throughout the album.
- Gratuitous Panning: "Hunter" has violins in the center of the song while the electronic beats are shifted all the way to the right.
- Face on the Cover: A more visually interesting variant.
- Fading into the Next Song: "Unravel" into "Bachelorette".
- Homage: "Jóga" is named after Björk's best friend Jóga Johannsdóttir.
- I Will Wait for You: "Unravel."
- Limited Lyrics Song:
- "Immature" has only 3 stanzas, and two of those three repeat.
- "Pluto" has two stanzas with two lines each, and no chorus proper aside from Björk's howling.
- New Sound Album: "Homogenic" fuses strings, crunchy electronic beats, and misc. things (accordion, glass harmonica etc.)
- Nightmare Face: In the video for "Alarm Call," Björk transforms into a predator with Scary Teeth. It's so frightening that we used it as an image on her Nightmare Fuel page!
- Non-Appearing Title: "Pluto" and "Joga". Also, as mentioned above, the album title doesn't appear in any of the lyrics.
- One-Word Title:"Pluto", "Unravel", "Hunter", "Immature", "Joga", and "Bachelorette".
- Paralyzing Fear of Sexuality: Björk accuses her lover of this in "Five Years."
- Pep-Talk Song: "All Is Full Of Love."
- The Power of Friendship: "Jóga" was written as a homage to her best friend of that name.
- The Power of Rock: "Alarm Call."I want to go on a mountain topWith a radio and good batteriesAnd play a joyous tune and free the human race from suffering
- Precision F-Strike: "Alarm Call."I'm no fucking buddhist, but this is enlightment
- Repurposed Pop Song: "Bachelorette" was originally intended for the film Stealing Beauty (1996), but Björk decided to use it for this album instead.
- Robo Romance: The music video of "All Is Full of Love" depicts a romance between two robots, both of whom are Björk.
- Self-Backing Vocalist: On pretty much every song. Most obvious on songs like "Unravel", "Alarm Call" and "All is Full of Love"
- Surreal Music Video:
- "Hunter" was directed by Paul White and features a bald Björk changing into a techno polar bear.
- "All Is Full Of Love" was directed by Chris Cunningham and features her as a robot making love to another robot (who is also her).
- Michel Gondry directed "Bachelorette", and it shows. Björk discovers a book in her garden that writes itself, becomes a best-seller and has a musical based on it. All this is paralleled by her love for the publisher. When their relationship ends, the audience becomes plants, the stage strikes itself, and the book gets unwritten and re-buries itself back in the garden where Björk found it.
- "Alarm Call", directed by Alexander McQueen shows Björk floating on a raft in a river in a jungle, with her scenes intercut with footage of animals. Near the end her faces changes into a frightening creature with More Teeth than the Osmond Family!
- Textless Album Cover: The above album art.
- Unrequited Love: "All Is Full Of Love," in a more cosmic sense.All is full of loveYou just ain't receivingAll is full of loveYour phone is off the hookAll is full of loveYour doors are all shutAll is full of love