Listen: Bjork's "Crystalline"

New Bjork music is always newsworthy to me. While I think you can pretty easily identify a Bjork song by the style alone, her production and genre integration is constantly evolving. Debut is very different than Vespertine, which is quite different than Volta. There are a few consistencies that draw her work into a cohesive catalog. First, she uses a lot of repetition and patterns. It's almost like a mechanism to help the listener understand the intent of the song faster than if she branched off in every direction at once. Second, her lyrics are highly metaphorical and filled with interesting sonic choices. Bjork doesn't always go with the most obvious word if a more obscure word sounds better to the ear in context. Third, her music often puts acoustic instruments--in particular pitched percussion/rhythm instruments and brass--against digital instruments--drum machines and synthesizers. This gives even some of her more balladic moments a sense of movement.

"Crystalline" is Bjork's leaked single from her upcoming album Biophilia*. The best way I can describe it on an early listen is a cross between her albums Vespertine and Medulla. She revisits that really nice play between celeste (I think it's a celeste, sometimes spelled celesta) and digital drum machine from the former with the human beat-box like rhythmic patterns of the mostly a cappella work of the latter.

Lyrically, the song is about self-discovery. The chorus hints at this examination of unique natural structures as a metaphor for a sort of self-actualization.

Crystalline Internal nebula Crystalline Rocks growing slow but Crystalline I conquer claustrophobia Crystalline And demand the lights

But it is the final verse that makes the point clear. We can't grow into our fully beautiful selves until we learn to conquer our internal doubts and fears.

It's the sparkle you become When you conquer anxiety Sparkle you become Conquer anxiety Sparkle you become When you conquer anxiety It's the sparkle you become When you conquer anxiety

I'm not sure if this song will become a crossover hit akin to something like "Human Behavior" or "Earth Intruders," but it's certainly an intriguing introduction to her new album. What more can you ask for in a leaked track?

What do you think of the new Bjork song? Sound off in the comments. The only requirement is an ability to do basic math to prove you're not a spambot.

*By complete coincidence, the new album is coming out just in time for someone to buy it for my birthday. So if any friends or family are reading this, please coordinate who will be purchasing this album the day before my birthday and putting it in fancy gift wrap for my enjoyment. Thanks.

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