Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Alternative Rock, Pop, Rock
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A Hit And Miss Live Album From A Blossoming Talent
Busy Body | London, England | 03/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I received Bjork's "Live Box" as a Christmas present for 2004 and was so excited to finally have my hands on it. I had, after all, wanted to own this box set a few months prior to actually owning it. The four CD's contained within it are live version of Bjork's first four solo studio albums "Debut," "Post," Homogenic" and "Vespertine." It's taken me quite a while to truly appreciate them all as individual sets, but it's been worth it because it is truly an exceptional piece of music to add to any Bjork fan's collection.
The first album is "Debut Live," and is probably my least favourite of the four. There's some good moments and some not so good moments on offer, resulting in a hit-and-miss collection of 10 songs. The songs on offer here are all from the "Debut" album and all but one were recorded for MTV Unplugged in 1994. The sound of the album is very intimate which is, I guess, what is always intended for Unplugged sessions. The instruments used in these live recordings are very sweet and tinny which in some cases is rather bland, but in others is just downright gorgeous.
The album opens with a strange version of "Human Behaviour." At this point in her career, this was far and away Bjork's most famous song. I'm not quite sure what instruments are used here for the beat of the song, but it's rather surreal. I'm pretty sure it's a harpsichord. It really annoyed me to begin with, but after a few listens it grows on you in that cute, coy way - like Bjork herself, I suppose. My personal favourite song from this album is next, "One Day." At just over six minutes long, this live version is a very tranquil and serene version of the original. The original version had that calming effect in the way the ambient instruments took hold of your senses, like in this version where a variety of woodwind instruments are used, sounding like water gently babbling over the rocks in a stream. Everything is very subdued and still on this live version which I just love. "Venus As A Boy" is the only song not taken from the Unplugged session. Instead this live version is from the "Later" sessions of "Later With Jools Holland," a very popular British music show. The harpsichord is again present here, sounding rather French in its sound.
The next song is "Come To Me" which is a great live version. This was always one of my favourite songs from the album originally, and this live version expresses Bjork's vocals perfectly, especially on the sections where she sighs with gentle euphoria. The live version of "Big Time Sensuality" doesn't really work in my opinion, because it was a dance song pure and simple and the attempt to change it here doesn't really work. However, I respect the decision to experiment. "Aeroplane" was never really one of my favourite Bjork songs, so the live version hasn't changed this much. The harshness of the brass instruments used here is a bit too unusual for me, which I suppose is ironic in itself due to the fact that I adore the unique winder that is Bjork. "Like Someone In Love" was always a beautiful song which relaxed me. Bjork's voice was intentionally 'off' in this song which I found amusing at times. The live version is different, however. She sounds a bit too perfect here which takes away a charm which infected the original. However, the harp used here is extremely harmonious and serene.
"Crying" was probably my favourite unreleased song from the original album because it was just so incredibly catchy. The beats in that song just made my body jump with excitement, producing an energy in me that not many songs have the ability to do. This live version, however, let me down. The instruments sound a little bit muted and not loud enough. Things seem a little held down when things are just dying to bursts into colour and life. "Anchor Song" is probably the song which I dislike the most out of all Bjork's songs from her entire career! I really don't like the way Bjork sings a line, then the crappy brass instruments play a little tune. I find it rather annoying and this live version is now exception though. I've always liked the lyrical content though. The final song on this album is a live version of "Violently Happy." I once heard Bjork say that she never really liked this song, but yet somehow she still sings it live here. This could be because she didn't have much solo material to sing at this point in her career. Whatever the reason, this version is good but not amazing like a few songs at the start of the album.
OVERALL GRADE: 7/10
Debut Live is a must-have for all hardcore Bjork fans, but I wouldn't recommend it for people who are looking for one of those good live albums. It is good, yes, in parts, but in others it can be rather bland and forgettable. The real genius lies in the live albums for "Homogenic" and "Vespertine." I suggest you check those out as soon as possible. The live music on there is the kind that will take your breath away. This album will just make you hum gently."
K. Fremont | San Francisco, CA, USA | 05/03/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've listened to all the live albums, and as a hard core bjork fan i like them all. But i have to say that this one is quite memorable. I have seen her live and heard songs from all albums, but there's something about this debut live album. I love the exotic yet simple instrumentation and her voice is chilling. The simplicity in the arrangements gives the beautiful timbre and harmonics of her voice a chance to truly be heard. Performing live is a chance to explore old songs with a new creativity, and although some may be very close to the originals, i think it's nice to have the "human behaviour" harpsichord version. And the talbas are seriously rockin the house."