Bjork is the perfect mix of the hardcore and the gentle. Technically, this album is electronica pop, but the label doesn't do justice the trans-genre influences you hear. And it doesn't begin to suggest the challenging nature of this music, or the fact that it can be repeated over and over and over again.
Take "Anchor Song" for example. It features Bjork's voice, in perfect control, accompanied by nothing more than two of the most godawfully dissonant saxophones you ever heard. Or "Someone in Love", which contrasts dreamy harp strikes with the grunts and shrieks of Bjork. These songs remind me of Paul Gauguin's aphorism: "The ugly can be beautiful -- the pretty, never." It's in the nature of artists to express themselves -- some artists have nothing important to say, or are too naive to understand what they've seen, or deceive us with the patently false. But the worst artists are the ones who show us only what we want to see, who gloss over everything with a coat of prettiness, mundanity, and complacency. Bjork commits neither sin, and at her most ugly, she is beautiful.
And here's a factoid for your record books: the groovy Garden-of-Babylon sound in "Aeroplane" snatches an old Sufi devotional lyric: "I cannot live peacefully without you for even one moment. I miss you terribly when you are away." You can almost see an elephant waddling to the beat on that track.
For a pleasant surprise, play some of this for a kid you know -- they will fall in love with the giddy lyrics, the playfulness of Bjork's voice, and the music box tones of the synthesizers.
This album came out when we were still merging into the digital age, and my first copy was on cassette. After about ten dozen repetitions on the old boombox, the sound quality really started coming apart. It's been nearly ten years, I'm still listening to this album, and THANK GOD CDs don't wear out.