Björk is yet another prolific musician that I know very little about. Vulnicura, according to Wikipedia (the definitive source for all things music), is her ninth studio album, and her solo career has already spanned beyond two decades. One of her albums is even actually an app or something, I don't know. It definitely seems like taking some time to engage with her music is a worthwhile endeavor.
This album is laser-focused on exploring a single topic and establishing a specific mood. Björk recently broke up with her partner (Matthew Barney) and the associated emotional turmoil that she is going through lends every song a raw and heartbreaking sort of energy. Lyrics that would seem clunky and mechanical on paper, such as her lamenting that her and her partner are no longer able to "find [their] mutual coordinates," are dripping with despair. This isn't the sort of thing that you're going to integrate into a playlist for the gym while you're shredding the guns (that's probably how people talk about going to the gym these days).
The overall sound of this album is based on a combination of orchestral strings and chillier electronic sounds. Arca, also known for his collaborations with Kanye West and FKA Twigs, is a co-producer here, demonstrates his production chops on the stunning, 10-minute long "Black Lake." Somehow, a slowly building beat that seems ripped from a club track meshes perfectly with long stretches of silence, with the song mapping the entire gamut of emotions that one could go through in a difficult breakup.
I'm definitely impressed, even if listening to this in one sitting was exhausting.