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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jonsi - Go 9/10
It's almost as if all those nine-minute-plus compositions, sung in a nonsense tongue and eventually swelling to musical and emotional heights that practically exploded with a mix of tension and joy, have been compressed into the perfect four-minute pop song. It's still Jonsi Birgisson, it's still a vast palette of sounds, and it's still that same Sigur Ros message of love...
Published on April 6, 2010 by Rudolph Klapper

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not For Everyone
I don't disagree with the other (5-star) reviews, but this album isn't for everyone. If you love Sigur Ros, you'll likely enjoy this album very much. If you (like me) think Sigur Ros is "okay", this is probably not going to blow you away.

When a member of a group releases their own project, it can be exciting because it gives them a chance to break the mold...
Published on July 10, 2011 by Puff


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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jonsi - Go 9/10, April 6, 2010
This review is from: Go (Audio CD)
It's almost as if all those nine-minute-plus compositions, sung in a nonsense tongue and eventually swelling to musical and emotional heights that practically exploded with a mix of tension and joy, have been compressed into the perfect four-minute pop song. It's still Jonsi Birgisson, it's still a vast palette of sounds, and it's still that same Sigur Ros message of love and inner peace . . . except with none of the restraint that other members of Iceland's most famous band had on Birgisson in the past. Go is undoubtedly Jonsi, a being of such unrelenting optimism and jubilant celebration that he apparently has rainbows shooting out of the back of his head. It's not really surprising, considering the increasingly poppy direction Sigur Ros was heading in, but here the best attributes of Sigur Ros and Jonsi's effervescent personality have been magnified through a multichromatic array of sounds and feelings. That post-rock standard of tension and release has been transformed, filtered through the (relatively) strict dimensions of a pop song and made into something that just wants you to stand up and be filled with joy at everything around you.

Frankly it was a miracle that this didn't turn out to be one convoluted mess - Jonsi has never been one to contain his more grandiose impulses, and the pairing with expressive composer Nico Muhly promised a wild, perhaps out-of-control soundscape. But it does work, and to stunningly beautiful effect. Muhly deserves a ton of the credit, shaping the music around Jonsi's voice (really, an instrument all to itself) and crafting a diverse and motley sound that ranges from swelling timpani to twee bells to the rapid bird-like flitting of various strings. It's not a negative that the songs are ridiculously outsized and at times more epic than anything Sigur Ros has put down to record - simply put, it's Jonsi's incredible gift of melody and how he uses it to create some seriously honeyed hooks. What makes it stand out from your typical orchestra-happy baroque pop, however, is how Jonsi seems to elevate every brilliant hook and harmony he comes up with. Check out the uplifting bridge of "Go Do," or the last minute and a half of "Sinking Friendships," or the gorgeous slow burn of "Grow Till Tall." Hell, check out every song on here, and you'll see how Jonsi somehow manages to put that Sigur Ros money shot, that climactic feeling that is impossible to describe without hearing it for yourself, into practically every larger-than-life chorus here.

Of course, perhaps a large part of that feeling is what made Sigur Ros so special to begin with - Jonsi's indefinable voice. It's more an instrument than any real mode of lyrical expression; indeed, although Jonsi mostly sings in English on Go, most of the lyrics here are about as meaningful as Jonsi's made-up Hopelandic. It's always been about the feeling with Jonsi, and Go is no exception. One could strip away all the fat of Muhly's instrumentation here and still have a record of marvelous emotional power, one that connects on an almost primal level thanks to Jonsi's ethereal pipes and their remarkable versatility. It's what makes a song like "Tornado" a haunting condemnation rather than the rising joy it appears to be on the surface and what causes "Grow Till Tall" to evolve into such an affecting culmination of a truly arresting record.

It's been maybe Jonsi's greatest gift that he's able to evoke such happiness without really saying anything of import, be it here or with Sigur Ros, and it's what makes Go an absolute gem. Like his previous band, it's doing a disservice to Jonsi to describe his work with cheap adjectives, when everything he's ever done can only really be appreciated with a working pair of ears and a heart. Music has always been about passion and emotion, speaking to the listener in the most direct way possible. Jonsi has always been able to do that, but with Go he's made the most focused effort of his career, one that persists without fail, from the opening wonderment of "Go Do" to the reflective comedown of "Hengilas," in its wide-eyed celebration of life through music.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Like Running Through A Field Of Flowers In Heaven, May 22, 2010
This review is from: Go (MP3 Music)
Sigur Rós, in case you don't know created the best song of all time in the form of "Sven-G-Engar." I equated the song to the song you'd play when you found out the meaning of life. Sigur Rós is always heavy like that, and it's anchored by Jónsi, who really made the band with his angelic vocals & ambitious musical arrangements. But now, Sigur Rós is on indefinite hiatus, and in its place we're left with the master himself, Jónsi. But don't worry, it's still has flavors of Sigur Rós all the way. In fact, I'd say that this album is played in the afterlife where you're running around in an eternal Spring field while you run through flowers.

There are no highlights here, since the whole thing is one cohesive work. I mean, it's 9 songs, it's not going to take up your whole life, go listen to it! You did? Ok, then you should know the whole album is a highlight. You only get the full effect if you listen from start to finish. The soundtrack to an afterlife run through a field of flowers isn't set to one song, no, it's set to a whole album of music. There's nothing wrong with this album, and your enjoyment will all be based on your mood and personal taste. Bottom-line, if you like Sigur Rós, then you should like Jónsi. And you better hurry and enjoy Jónsi, because he's Icelandic, and Iceland has been a hub of volcanic activity lately. I'm just saying, enjoy him while we got him.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing...breathtaking...makes me happy, April 6, 2010
By 
Jared "<geek>" (PROVO, UT, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Go (Audio CD)
This album makes me happy. Completely and utterly. I was worried that the album as a whole wouldn't live up to "Boy Lilikoi", the first single, and at the same time I didn't want it to be 9 "Boy Lilikoi" songs in a row...if Sigur Ros has taught me anything, it is that music can be expansive, epic and evolving - all on the same album and usually within the same song. Sigur Ros is one of the most amazing bands in the world and usually, when you pull an individual out of an incredible band like that and they produce music on their own - it usually isn't that great (Robert Plant, Rodger Waters, David Lee Roth, etc.), while at other times it can go well (John Lennon, Morrissey), but even then it never really touches the complete feeling you get from the group as a whole. That was my concern with Jonsi and, while it isn't as epic and all consuming as a Sigur Ros release, it far surpasses 95% of the music released every Tuesday of every month of every year.

Jonsi's voice is such a unique instrument in and of itself and the arrangements work perfectly with his falsetto sing/song style...wow, I'm on my 5th time through since I got it and I don't see myself stopping the listening party until I take my seat in Denver for his concert. I'd give this 9 out of 10 and would only hold back that last point based on the fact that it isn't as long as it could be. I could use an epic, evolving and expansive track that goes beyond the 8 minute mark...but, I will take what I can get - gladly...
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow. This disc somehow eclipses some sigor ros stuff. Album of the year, April 7, 2010
By 
This review is from: Go (MP3 Music)
My first review for an album has been saved for such a work. Jonsi, the lead, shall we say vocal instrument, for sigur ros just provided the world a true gift. There are few times when an album grips you from the first 10 seconds and you still feel the severity of its impact for hours after it is over. I have listened to the music four times through now and can say that this is the perfect vignette of brilliance we could not have even of dreamt of even after we knew it was coming. I have every track sigur and rice boy put out, every collaborations with radio head and the Icelandic Orchestra Director whose name escapes me now, been to many of SR's us concerts, have their dvds. Needless to say, I am a fan.

Some of us have enjoyed the mystery of Jonsi's icelandic/hopelandic lyrics in all of his other art, but we are the benefactors of a true artist on Go, he sings in english for all of us monolingual cro magnums here in the states (I am one too). Some may say the departure from his native and sometimes created tongue takes away some of the artistry that is sigur ros, I say that all it does is allow an artist to work in a medium that will permanently change the English music landscape. Finally, we in the English speaking world have a pure, musical victory rose.

The only plausible/arguable "downside" is its length, coming in under 40 minutes. I simply ask, "how long would long enough be?" Why do you own EVERY sigur ros album? Why would you listen to Untitled #4 on ( ) over and over? Perfection is found when its balance, brilliance and bliss are immediately recognized and accessible to all who view or hear. Bolt's 100 meter dash, Messi on the pitch, New Year's Eve, all are brief bursts of pure jubilation and joy, resounding long after the performance. Go is no different. Go do.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Originality has not been exhausted-, April 6, 2010
This review is from: Go (Audio CD)
Jonsi is one of the few artists who manages to stay within the realms of pop culture, yet insert an individual expression that we all may have wondered had disappeared over the last decade or so as rock and pop evolved into a race for ORIGINALITY. Some artists resorted to the obscure, and others managed to stay linked to their real originality. JONSI brings back to us what originality in music really is and his solo album proves it by versatility of lyrics, musical ability, and connection to an audience that craves soul-soothing, a playground for the mind, and sounds that haunt the mind in a most memorable and positive way. If anyone desires to be left feeling like they have been to their own theatre, created a masterpiece with their own invisible thoughts, and were blessed for once for all their invisible gifts inside, THIS is your background music!! 100 stars. Beautifully 'crafted' from packaging to production.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just what you'd expect (and hope for), April 8, 2010
By 
M. Bentley (California, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Go (Audio CD)
This album aptly bridges the gap between the ambient soundscapes of Jonsi and Alex's "Riceboy Sleeps" and just about every Sigur Ros album. Fans of either won't be disappointed, and fans of both should be thrilled.

The pace and tone is varied across the album. The tracks alternate between electronics and instrumentals, some incorporating both. It all comes together beautifully. For me, it was appealing upon first impression, which doesn't happen most of the time. Enjoy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, April 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: Go (Audio CD)
I haven't been a major Sigur Ros fan in the past, but on a friend's recommendation I checked out this album and, frankly, I find it emotionally stunning. The singer has an androgynous falsetto that serves the music really well: where you might hear soaring strings, his voice climbs there instead and becomes an instrument in the songs. Electronic in a warm way that is occasionally reminscent of Moby, the album achieves its power and momentum not just with arrangements but with a solid string of profound songs - the kind that become part of the soundtrack of your daily life if you're not careful. An amazing work!
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jónsi is that rare true artist in the musical world, April 6, 2010
This review is from: Go (MP3 Music)
This review is based entirely on hearing this album in it's entirety a few times on NPR's First Listen website. I am well and truly stunned by this, Jónsi's solo album. A collection of the quote-unquote 'Happy' music that he writes found it's way here, and we the listeners, fans and friends benefit greatly from this outpouring. While Sigur Rós as a band tends towards grandiose melencholy (with the possible exception of their most recent album 'Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust') Jónsi here takes things in an entirely and surprising new direction. There are many beautiful and, quite frankly, uplifting moments to be experienced as Jónsi allows us passage on this great journey. Long may this trip last!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grow Till Tall, April 25, 2010
By 
J. Loudon (Nashville, TN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Go (Audio CD)
Jon Thor "Jónsi" Birgisson, lead singer of Sigur Rós, is known for his soaring vocals that often gracefully switch in and out of the falsetto range. With an exquisite attention to musical detail, Sigur Rós has been playing together since 1994. The Icelandic group has always maintained a veil of mystery about them, however, mainly thanks to the entirety of Jónsi's lyrics being written in "Vonlenska" or "Hopelandic."

The completely made up, non-literal language of the music places the focus on the sounds of the words in lieu of their literal meaning; in turn, the voice is turned into another instrument to be manipulated as they see fit.

With his first solo album, Jónsi takes a break from the enigma of his previous work to release an album filled with intelligible jubilation.

The first track "Go Do," offers cheerful words of wisdom to a generation of aspiring musicians; "go sing, too loud. Make your voice break, sing it out. Go scream, do shout. Make an earthquake." Hearing Jónsi sing in English is almost shocking at first for longtime fans of Sigur Rós.

Even while the majority of the album is in English, Jónsi's ability to let the listener forget the words and get lost in the music hasn't been lost. Although they were never understood previously, his lyrics have always had the ability to reflect the mood of the music perfectly and whether listening to the words literally or not with this record, Jónsi's vocal grasp of the emotion conveyed through the other instruments is unmatched.

Go was recorded between Jónsi's home studios in Iceland and Connecticut. With the help of Nico Muhly, who has worked with the likes of Björk and Mew, the orchestration is unforgettable. There is no greater example of the dramatic augmentation Muhly's contributions create than the sweeping strings and haunting brass heard in "Tornado."

Solo albums are typically a means for artists to release the ideas they've had that don't quite fit with the style of their original band. Like many others before him, Jónsi had an incredible amount of hype to live up to, especially having spent the last sixteen years with the same group without releasing any solo work. Although Go may not be quite as musically captivating as the finest Sigur Rós moments, it is easily worthy of comparison. Jónsi's debut is a must own for any Sigur Rós fan and perhaps even the perfect stepping stone for new listeners to discover over a decade of musical magic.

Similar Artists: Sigur Rós, Mew

Track Suggestion: "Tornado"
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Welcomed Turn, April 11, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Go (Audio CD)
OK so this is the album that I always wanted Sigur Ros to do. I am a big fan of Sigur Ros but I felt that as I listened to their last album that they were ready to do something different but didn't feel the freedom to do so -- expectations perhaps were challenging them a bit.

Don't get me wrong - I have been listening to Sigur Ros from the beginning and tell everyone I know about them. Such great song writers and great arrangers but the one thing I felt was missing from their last effort was growth, development, whatever you want to call it. Of course I have never been in an internationally successful band so what do I know?

I spotted some news way back about Jonsi's solo effort and alas he had put up his own website. Soon enough, Boy Lilikoi was a song you could hear on Jonsi's website. Immediately I took to it. It's...how should I say it...glorious? Yes, that's it. Glorious. I can't really think of another word for it.

Immediately upon hearing Boy Lilikoi I was very excited about Jonsi's solo effort. It's almost as if he was waiting to burst out of the clouds and write an album like this. And boy does he deliver.

"Go" is one exceptional album. It's bombastic, glorious (I have to use this word again), enlightening, happy, sad, pensive, emotive, dramatic and lastly, beautiful.

So many minutes of this CD are of such unadulterated mature coming-in-to-his-own beauty that it never comes across as over the top or cheesy which, if you think about it, is something that is pretty damn difficult to do. Jonsi is never over the top or schmaltzy with his delivery on this CD. He is just doing what he does, and really, he does it very, very well.

"Go" is simply glorious -- you'd be a fool to not at least have a good listen to it. If you don't, too bad for you.
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