Medulla - Björk
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. The most challenging work of Björk's career.
  2. Will frustrate as many fans as it enchants.
  3. It continues Björk's run of releases that sound nothing like their predecessors, yet is, as ever, particular to her.
  4. The few electronic beats and textures are deft, discreet soundbeds for the lush intimacies of the vocals, which slip from soothing to strident. [Oct 2004, p.120]
  5. 80
    Not only the bravest record she's ever made, it's also one of the strangest and most uncompromising by a major artist to get a commercial release. [Sep 2004, p.93]
  6. Both the most extreme record Bjork has ever released and the most immediately accesible. [16 Sep 2004, p.79]
  7. A notch below the genius of 'Debut' or 'Homogenic' but precious nonetheless. [4 Sep 2004, p.73]
  8. Once its novelty factor fades, Medulla settles down as a stirring, nuanced album that takes a while to take hold.
  9. The ice from Vespertine has melted, and Bjork's voice sounds reborn like a phoenix from the flame. [#7]
  10. 83
    It's no mere gimmick. [Oct 2004, p.111]
  11. Medulla may divide Björk's audience, but, combining intellectual rigour and sensual ravishment, it is brave and unique.
  12. One of her best efforts. [10 Sep 2004, p.161]
  13. Though hardly Björk's most pronounced statement, Medúlla is definitely a highlight of her already illustrious career.
  14. Björk weaves into Medúlla a palpable longing for a simpler world--a world predating smart bombs and collapsing towers, a world in which life revolved around the expressive raising of one’s voice, both solitarily and in concert with others.
  15. 70
    It's conceptually daring, but beyond a few ecstatic moments... the sound is familiarly Bjorkish. [Oct 2004, p.113]
  16. 80
    Doubtless the closest she'll ever come to letting you dance in the madfields of her mind with her. [#12, p.94]
  17. A fractured LP, compelling and convincing in its intent, but just plain less satisfying than Vespertine or Post.
  18. Those who are up for the challenge will find much to admire.
  19. Bits of Medulla sound similar to Vespertine, but there’s a marked distinction in the means of delivery and enough change to keep things interesting.
  20. All in all, though, Medúlla is far too busy. Even when you're experimenting, the less-is-more rule still applies.
  21. While the album might seem to be a conceptual stunt, it finds gorgeous and startling new ways to extend Bjork's longtime mission: merging the earthy and the ethereal. [29 Aug 2004]
  22. Everything, you suspect, that people hate about Björk is multiplied a thousandfold here. But by the same measure, to her fans, “Medulla” is an intimate, ecstatic wonder.
  23. To me, Medulla is an experiment in transforming the primal power of the human voice into a 21st century context. It's an amazing effort, and it's one of the best albums of the year.
  24. This record is so far beyond anything that she has done in the past that it is absolutely certain to alienate the majority of the listening public and more than a few of her fans.
  25. The luminosity of her performance counters the album's tendency toward dry formalism. [5 Sep 2004]
  26. 80
    [A] powerful statement. [Oct 2004, p.101]
  27. Possibly the most daring record she's ever made... [but] Medulla is not a complete success. [#247, p.53]
  28. Björk has transcended any pop plinth she may (incorrectly) have been placed upon, to become, probably, our greatest contemporary female vocalist since Diamanda Galas.
  29. The question is not whether Medúlla is brilliant; insofar as this can be objectively asserted, it most certainly is. The question is really, Do you like Björk? Do you like her a lot? Obviously, a Björk a capella album is going to be lost on you if you never really liked her vocal style in the first place.
  30. Fans of the Icelandic wonder's more orchestral tunes might think there's something missing here. Well, unless they're too busy being totally blown away.
  31. Where 2001's Vespertine was erotic, Medulla is reflexive and awestruck.
  32. Björk shrouds Medúlla in mystery and darkness, but it's far from gloomy.
  33. Bjork’s great achievement with Medulla is in taking a self-imposed limitation and managing to craft a full-bodied, multilayered work from such a basic toolset.
  34. This disc may have a wilder sense of love-and-adventure about it, and may offer the thrills of an unpredictable ride, but, in its capriciousness and incongruousness, the thing Medulla rarely feels like is an album.
  35. Without a doubt the most challenging collection of music she has ever released.
  36. 100
    The album, impressive in its scope and sense of adventure, is a further reinvention in Björk's already massive discography.
  37. Especially when heard on headphones, Medulla is an overwhelming sonic bliss-out, Phil Spector’s wall of sound channeled through the voice box.
  38. No matter how the sounds are made, it is with captivatingly sincere intent that they are never boring and, above all, always enjoyable.
  39. 70
    The replay moments on Medulla are the tracks where Bjork reconnects with perennial producer Mark Bell. [#8, p.78]
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 162 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 81 out of 88
  2. Negative: 3 out of 88
  1. aland
    Aug 31, 2004
    9
    this CD is f**cking nuts. it takes a bit of patience to accustom ones self to some of the more bizzarre moments of this CD, but for me, once this CD is f**cking nuts. it takes a bit of patience to accustom ones self to some of the more bizzarre moments of this CD, but for me, once totally immersed in it, those moments became my favorite. the background growl that gets perfectly sequenced in the wierdly baroque "where is the line.", the rawness of "oll birtan", the hyper-ness of Dokaka in "triumph of the heart" especially, but most of all, the wailing and groaning in "anscestors" that the part in me listening to music is revolted by but the rest of me is completely drawn by its utter shamelessness and the powerful expression of the vaguest emotions. there are easy and accessible segments, however. the sound-perfect input of rahzel in "who is it?", "mouth's cradle" which sounds like hidden place redux for me (not that i mind), and the lovely "vokuro" all these tracks mentioned i love totally. the others, to a lesser extent, the one i cant warm up to is "submarine", thus the 9/10, but it's a small distraction from all the pure AWESOMENESS contained in this f**cking record. buy it. Full Review »
  2. Jul 18, 2014
    10
    Björk can sound so dark in this album. Totally opposite of "Vespertine"... When i listen to the voices and harmony of this album, I feel likeBjörk can sound so dark in this album. Totally opposite of "Vespertine"... When i listen to the voices and harmony of this album, I feel like I'm swimming on a line of notes... It's amazing and make me feel great. Full Review »
  3. MG
    Apr 22, 2007
    3
    Triumph Of A Heart is great but the rest is very hard to stomach.