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Björk – Vespertine (2001)

May 30, 2015

[Album 398/1001]BjorkVespertine.jpeg

When you hear the idiomatic response, “I’m picking up what you’re putting down,” would you say the respondent:

i) understands what is being said
ii) likes what is being said?


I imagine Björk & long distance running would qualify as strange bedfellows.

Until this week, I wouldn’t have pictured it working, but Vespertine has been a terrific soundtrack for my recent jogs (with a soft j, as in Björk).

The reason: every time I listen/run, I get completely swept up in the Vespertine atmosphere.

For a running enthusiast like myself, that’s a great during-run feeling.  I wouldn’t say I immersed in the record but it certainly distracted me from any pain/fatigue and provided timely if unintentional motivational quotes (“You’re trying too hard” around the 4K mark, “I love him” upon completion of the 5K loop).

This is my first foray into the Björk discography (she has 3 among the 1001).  I hope the others (DebutMedúlla) work equally well in the long distance running context.

Especially given that the combined running length of those 2 records would be a good target half marathon running length!


Returning to my initial question, did I pick up what Björk put down?  No and Yes.

I didn’t have the foggiest idea what was going on lyrically.  Her enunciation was fine, my attention here to such details as words/themes/song meanings, not so fine.

Instead, I continually ended up in a delightful fog of unmistakably Björk sounds, a fog I’d happily drift through again.

You pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down?

From → 2000s

  1. That’s awesome your a fan Geoff! For me I dunno she always sounded like she was coming off the rails…than again I’m a pigeon holed metal head!
    That’s the great thing about this posts from everyone it’s always neat to see everyone’s tastes and styles ….
    Good stuff…..

    • And I wouldn’t have pictured my self being a Bjork fan either Deke, it was a pleasant surprise!

  2. jprobichaud permalink

    I’m kinda picking up what yer layin’ down. I love Björk’s first two records, The Sugarcubes beforehand, and even her work on the “Dancer in the dark” soundtrack but I always found that she *did* come off the rails a bit after that. Even still, she put on a great show when I saw her at Bluesfest a couple of years ago.

    • I’d be keen to see a Bjork show, I’d have no idea what to really expect. Thanks for reminding me about Bluesfest too, I’m hoping to make a cameo this year at some point!

      • jprobichaud permalink

        Dude. She had a tesla machine. You should definitely head to Ottawa, if not Bluesfest, CityFolk is sounding pretty great too.

      • Just saw a couple of the teasers for CityFolk, looks promising if the ones people have guessed are correct!

  3. I quite like Debut, but I never got this far. Enjoyed ur write up though. You’re obviously a better runner than me too – I need short, fast stuff to distract me into not stopping.

    • I prefer the term running enthusiast to runner, I can assure you I’m not in it to win it.
      The albums project I’ve found has been a wonderful addition to running, I’ll run for 40 minutes & listen to an entire album, it feels productive!

  4. I’m not sure I gave this one enough attention. I really liked Debut and Post, but found that I stopped enjoying listening to her music after that – though I certainly appreciated it. One I’d need to go back to, I guess.

    • And I’ve yet to explore those ones (Debut is on the list though, I’ll get there some day) – did Post have It’s Oh so quiet? Always liked that video!

      • Indeed it is, Geoff. I used to own those two on cassette and they were really pretty enjoyable. The video was great, eh? Might go visit YouTube now! Ha!

  5. Hackskeptic permalink

    I find her music a great inspiration when I’m participating in sports. My Darts performances definitely improve when listening to her first two albums. Other albums by her seem to affect my finishing and I’m constantly struggling to get my doubles.

  6. Vespertine is a very special album to me. It’s so perfect for winter and the production blows me away every time. It’s a close second to Homogenic, her masterpiece. She said that she set out to make an introverted album and created most of the sounds on a laptop. She originally planned to call it Domestica as she wanted to celebrate the domestic lifestyle but then she fell in love and the album took on a romantic route. There’s a b-side from the Vespertine sessions that represents her early mindset of the record called “Domestica” where she sings about losing her keys. You’ll find it on YouTube. It’s cute!
    Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Frosti, the music box interlude. Overall her voice is rather whispery here, which you won’t really find on Debut and Medulla. As for the lyrics, they are hella intimate, especially on “Cocoon.”
    Ok, enough of my rambling. I’m a Bjork dork, obviously!

  7. Bjork is awesome.

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