Violently happy Icelandic pixie Björk is hurt, and she’s not afraid to sing about it

Björk Vulnicura Released:  March 24, 2015 Label:  One Little Indian

Released: March 24, 2015
Label: One Little Indian

It might be time for Taylor Swift to shut up with the chest-beating, I’m-the-queen-of-the-break-up-song routine. Björk’s new album Vulnicura is about more than superficial heartbreak. Throughout the hour-long concept album, she tells a tale of unfulfilled emotional needs, hope that someone will change, and the pain, not only of breakup, but of the end of the family as a unit of love.

The first three songs are about the breakdown of a relationship. “Stonemilker,” the opening song, Björk presents a relationship nine months before the end. She want to be shown “emotional respect,” for her needs to be acknowledged and for her and her lover to “synchronize our feelings.” In “Lionsong,” she expresses hope that the relationship can be saved. Björk’s voice is full of vulnerability when she sings “maybe he will come out of this loving me/maybe he won’t.”

“Black Lake,” a ten-minute long song about the actual breakup, is heartbreaking.

“I am a glowing shiny rocket

returning home

as I enter the atmosphere

I burn off layer by layer


Our violently happy Icelandic pixie has been hurt. She’s not afraid to sing about it. More importantly, she’s not afraid to show you her wounds.

I haven’t heard anything with this level of emotional power in a long time. This is a mature set of songs about breakup and the consequences. In “Family,” she asks “Is there a place/where I can pay respects/for the death of my family.”

“There is the mother and the child

Then there is the father and the child

but no man and a woman

no triangle of love”

Sorry Taylor Swift, while it’s easy to sing that we should all “Shake It Off,” it isn’t that easy.

This is the cover once it is slid out of the acetate cover.

This is the cover once it is slid out of the acetate cover.

This is Björk’s best album in a long time. Her voice is full of complex emotions and beautiful, even when the emotions are harrowing. Her voice reflects her feelings in each song. The music is electronic beats and a powerful string section. This is progressive music and requires the listener to sit down and listen. It is not party music, or background music while people talk about their last visit to the Olive Garden.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

©  Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Paul Anthony George and The Reno Signal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Down & Out in Reno: Recycled Records (Part Two)

recycled records part 2 storefront 2

Sequels are rarely up to the elan of the original work. Likewise, this follow-up to last week’s review of Recycled Records cannot possibly match the entertainment value of the original article.

recycled records part 2 storefrontMy first experience buying at Recycled Records was a fun and fruitful experience – dire urge to find a restroom aside. I managed to pick up two albums I had been looking for at a great price. I had some compact discs at home that I never listened to and decided to take a few of them in for a trade.

While Recycled Records will pay cash for CDs, don’t expect a lot. Even on its website, it warns that the payout is not a lot. Usually trade is the way to go with used record shops. And I wanted some new music anyways.

So I packed a Trader Joe’s paper bag with 18 CDs.  And left my tiny, carpeted prison I call my apartment and walked to Recycled Records to make a trade.

Here is what I took in:

pistolanniesiron maiden final frontiergorillazmoonrise kingdomloto musicsarahbrightman dreamshakira livelumineers

Sarah Brightman Dream Chaser
John Debney Predators (Soundtrack)
Dragonforce Sonic Firestorm
Gorillaz Demon Days
Iron Maiden The Final Frontier
Japan Koto Music Nonesuch Explorer Series
The Lumineers The Lumineers
Brad Paisley Wheelhorse
Brad Paisley Time Well Wasted
Pistol Annies Hell on Heels
Ennio Morricone The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly (Soundtrack)
Original Soundtrack Moonrise Kingdom
Original Soundtrack Sucker Punch
Various The Rocky Story
Shakira Live off the Record
John Williams Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire
The Verve Urban Hymns


The clerk refused Brad Paisley’s “Time Well Wasted” and The Verve’s “Urban Hymns” because the store already had too many copies.

As he added up my store credit, I walked around the store. It has a large selection of CDs and DVDs, and is starting to stock used Blu-Ray Discs. CDs, however, were on my mind. Immediately I found a copy of Adam and the Ants first album “Dirk Wears White Sox,” which had a $10 price tag. This is a good punk album, and I’ve been looking for a copy of it, especially the remastered version with bonus tracks.

The clerk told me I had $45 store credit. After browsing for an hour, I picked out eight albums.

adamandtheants dirkgabriel passionbowie lowmoby 18moby everythingbjork selmasongsbjork homogenicbjork debut

Adam and the Ants Dirk Wears White Sox (remastered and expanded)
Björk Debut
Björk Homogenic
Björk Selmasongs
David Bowie Low
Peter Gabriel Passion (Soundtrack for The Last Temptation of Christ)
Moby Everything Is Wrong
Moby 18

For some, this may seem like a bad deal. But both of my kids told me that the trade I got is much better than what they get trading video games as Gamestop. And I got some music that I enjoy.

I published this information to give you an idea of how trade works at Recycled Records. I can’t promise you’ll have the same experience, but I feel the store gave me a fair deal.

If you enjoy music, I recommend you go to Recycled Records, even if it is to just look around. While looking around, I checked out its vinyl selection. Picking up a Yes album, I was reminded of the haptic quality of these large album covers, packed with gatefold sleeves and amazing artwork.

Recycled Records is a local business, so its profits are Reno’s profits. It is run by locals. You save money. The local economy makes money. And we all get to enjoy some bitchin’ tunes. Check it out!

Recycled Records
822 South Virginia Street
Reno, NV 89501
(775) 826-4119
Hours: M-Th 10am-7pm, F-Sa 10am-8pm, Su 12pm-6pm

Copyright 2014 Tony George