Medulla - Björk
Medulla Image
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 148 Ratings

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  • Summary: What the Icelandic singer's fifth album lacks in instrumentation (although there is a bit, provided by members of Matmos, Mum, and other collaborators), it makes up for with voices--lots and lots of voices. Think everything from beatboxing (including contributions from The Roots' Rahzel), choirs and Inuit throat-singing to, well, Mike Patton. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. 100
    The album, impressive in its scope and sense of adventure, is a further reinvention in Björk's already massive discography.
  2. 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.
  3. The ice from Vespertine has melted, and Bjork's voice sounds reborn like a phoenix from the flame. [#7]
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 80
    Doubtless the closest she'll ever come to letting you dance in the madfields of her mind with her. [#12, p.94]
  7. All in all, though, Medúlla is far too busy. Even when you're experimenting, the less-is-more rule still applies.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 86
  2. Negative: 3 out of 86
  1. Oct 29, 2013
    10
    One of the best experimental records ever made. A beautiful blend of contemporary classical music, convincing pop music, choral arrangements and brutal electronic touches, it touches on the very core of musicality present in humans. The lyrics here, for the first time, become literally visceral and excruciatinglly human. Some of the songs (Who is it?, Triumph of a Heart) fill with joy, others (Where is the line?, Ancestors) shock and still others (Desired Constellation, Mouth's Cradle) are so deeply moving that this might well be the best and most emotional of Björks work to date. Expand
  2. Mar 18, 2012
    10
    Overall, I consider Medúlla to be Björk's best and most refined work because it's fearlessly original and innovative. Other than that, this album lacks instrumentation but instead, the usage of orchestral choirs and layered vocals revolutionize the third wave of music evolution after the classical and pop/rock periods. If you're looking forward to a novelty or even soothingly haunting, this album is for you. The strongest highlights on this album are "Pleasure Is All Mine," "Who Is It (Carry My Joy on the Left, Carry My Pain on the Right)", "Oceania," and "Submarine." I also give kudos to the high and mighty Björk for her well-crafted and non-repetitive songwriting, a breakaway from the boundaries of generic pop. Expand
  3. Oct 8, 2010
    10
    Medulla is certainly Bjork's most inventicve album, and, in turn, her best so far. On par with Vespertine's introverted, soft beat filled songs, Medula's a capella songs are truly captivating. While it may take a while to get accustomed to all the 'a-a-as' and the various Bjorkified shrieks, it's definitely worthwhile. This is the only, truly, inventive album I own. Fabulous. Expand
  4. Jul 26, 2012
    10
    It is a record that proves Bjork's voice as one of the best in the music industry. The beats and strings are a real lack, but her finest tones of vocalization drives us into the soul of her marrow, and the storytelling behind the lyrics is improved at each song. The humanity she always sings for is in a 'state of grace' in this album, producing deep thoughts. Bold and shining, it's her best effort of the last decade. Expand
  5. Sep 22, 2010
    9
    At the first listen i was very disturbed and the front vcover picture made me cringe, but then I realized that that's who she is and I LOVE IT!!!! The songs are great and "Triumph of a Heart" made me dance.....Some songs are lacking what bjork usually gives though Expand
  6. Nov 12, 2013
    8
    Medulla is an idea. Bjork has a tradition of molding these great ideas and implementing them in her music. In Medulla, the idea is to imitate the organic element of the human voice. Does it work? Most of the time. Songs like "Oceania", "Triumph of a Heart", "Who is it", and (my personal favorite) "Desired Constellation" all beautifully integrate the human voice not only as an instrument but as a genuine and sincere piece of human emotion. Voice is more than a gimmick in Medulla, it is the backbone. Voice is what gives these songs their life and their beauty. But, it is a tough album. Not all songs follow through smoothly, and some are harsh and awkward (I'm looking at you, "Oil Britain" and "Ancestors"). This album is definitely a great listen regardless, as it takes an idea and forms it into something organic, unique, and sometimes almost tangible. Expand
  7. Feb 20, 2012
    7
    Bjork deserves full marks for experimentation, but Medulla often lacks cohesion, structure and reason to listen fully to each of its tracks. There are several of her best efforts here but overall the talent seems misplaced and lacking, leading to an enjoyable yet disappointing listen. Expand

See all 86 User Reviews