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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2007)
  • Original Release Date: 2007
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Atlantic
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (152 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,555 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Earth Intruders
2. Wanderlust
3. The Dull Flame Of Desire
4. Innocence
5. I See Who You Are
6. Vertebrae By Vertebrae
7. Pneumonia
8. Hope
9. Declare Independence
10. My Juvenile

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Bjork returns to her iconic, innovative and rhythmic roots with Volta. Featuring her own infamous beats and collaborations with Timbaland, Antony Hegarty, Brian Chippendale and an all-female Icelandic brass section, the end result is an explosion of beats and an amalgamtion of sound and visuals that give Volta a life of its own, like the world hasn't seen from Bjork in years.

Björk's main asset as a musician is her fearlessness. Since the end of The Sugarcubes and the pop-dance of Debut, she has released progressively more experimental records. But after well over a decade of going further and further out, Volta steps back. Make no mistake; this is Björk, and so it's still fabulously weird. Like 2004's mesmerizing Medúlla and the 2005 soundtrack for Drawing Restraint 9, the songs are blissfully peculiar, with narratives about love, offspring, name it. Yet melodically and philosophically, Volta recycles more than it innovates; the driving pulse of "Declare Independence," for instance, reminds us of Homogenic's "Pluto," and the lead single "Earth Intruders" sounds like Post's "Army of Me" on steroids. And just as Medúlla oriented itself around a certain instrument--the human voice--this one concentrates on horns.

Still, the transition between her early work and the avant-garde bender she's been on since Vespertine is pretty harrowing, and it's satisfying to hear Björk revisit her more accessible self. Uber-producer Timbaland pitches in here and there, most successfully on "Innocence," which uses a fat, disjointed pulse to drive the euphoric vocals forward. Elsewhere, the hyperactive sitar sample on "I See Who You Are" provides texture for the song's theme of enjoying each other while there's still "flesh on our bones." And "Pneumonia" makes fantastic use of the horn section with a soft arrangement that compliments the song's lyrical melody.

So while it's a bit of a stall, Volta is a lovely pause. It reminds us how much we appreciate the laboratory of Björk’s imagination, but also how much we missed her back when she was just goofing around. –Matthew Cooke

Customer Reviews

Antony Hegarty (of Antony and the Johnsons) sings duets on "The Dull Flame of Love" and "My Juvenile," and their distinct voices mesh very well.
Scott Bresinger
Volta is OK, Earth Invaders is a good song, but most of the other songs are just boring and, having other albums to listen to, why would I bother with this one?
With that said, I understand that those Bjork fans will find this review NOT helpful simply because someone said something bad about Bjork's album.
Frederick Reyes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By C. Loosen on June 27, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I was taken aback when I listened to Volta the first time. This wasn't because I thought it was a new, fresh and stunning representation of Bjork's genius, but because I feared it represented a transition in which this album was produced simply for the sake of sales and lacked any philosophical or artistic inspirations.

The second time around, I compared the sound less to previous works. I always have to remind myself that each new album is a new experiment and expression. To compare one to the other - expecting continuity - will only disappoint. Volta is a new child with its own personality.

Bjork has always pushed the limits of creative expression, and I feel Medulla was definitely evidence of this. Volta feels like an attempt to integrate her new territory with what some might call her classic sound.

Some critics have said Volta is directionless or just a hodgepodge of songs that form no narrative. Clearly they don't understand why Bjork chose Volta as the name for this album. It is full of sudden unexpected course changes, and I suspect she struggled with how to tie it all up in the end. The lyrics are more coherent than I'm accustomed to. I think Bjork had a lot to say here. The same critics who called Volta a hodgepodge also said "Declare Independence" is lyrically immature. They missed the point not only of that song, but also of "I See Who You Are," which is to enjoy every bit of life while we have time. Bjork's mystical understanding of the human purpose and condition is revealed once again in "Declare Independence" when she states the protection of language is as important as currency. David Abram's book "Spell of the Sensuous" goes into detail about the origins of language and how closely tied language is to the land of its birth.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joshua G. Feldman on November 11, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I love Bjork - but Volta is pretty weird self-indulgent stuff. There are moments of shocking brilliance and a few very good songs. That just makes the long meandering patches and weird duets harder to take. I keep listening and hoping that with familiarity this album will "take" (sometimes an album I can't stand at first ends up being a favorite over the long haul - like "After the Goldrush" by Neil Young). So far (6 months later) I still find this album strong meat and tend to skip a lot of tracks. I still love Bjork - but I can't seem to find my love for this one.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John E. Temple on May 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I'm not going to belabor this review by analyzing every song. Suffice it to say that I am in awe of Bjork's ability to make the music that she wants to make without worry over whether it will be commercially successful. The fact that she is constantly exploring new musical terrain stands as testament to the fact that she is a musical artist and not one of the gaggle of "singers" who rely on hype to sell their wares. Do I think that this is a truly great CD? Yes... I do. I will add that it is best listened to as a whole and not as sampled tracks. What on the surface seems not at all cohesive is decidely so when taken in as recorded and sequenced.

Is this as good as "Homogenic"? "Post"? "Medulla"? "Debut"? "Vespertine"? Funny, but I never questioned whether "A Starry Night" was as good as "Sunflowers".
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By J. Brewer on September 4, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Just to give a brief summary as to where I stand as a Björk fan before I dive in...I think her first two albums (Debut/Post) are both great records. Yet, she was a little more naive at the time and didn't have as much control creatively. But she was learning. With her next two releases, Homogenic and Vespertine, she began to break away from the poppy sounds of the first two and began to write (she began having more control over the writing), darker, bleaker records. So not only did she begin to define her sound and really become the unique artist she is, but they where also simply brilliant, amazing records. With Medulla she came up with an interesting concept, yet it was simply too hard to listen to in the context of a record. For me atleast.

My point is, Björk has been getting better and better, up until Medulla where things simply got TOO weird. It hurt the record and I think she crossed the line in that aspect. In her newest release, Volta, she returned to square one and tried to create something more in the flavor of a modern day Post. Well, this made perfect sense. Now I know she won't make another Vespertine, but with the creative control she's had to define her sound over the past 10 years then we should get a great return to form...right? Not so.

Three problems with Volta. 1.) Vocals are not very well written. None of the lyrics are catchy and just don't carry the emotional impact Björk put into them in the past. She just kind of rambles, which is unusual for her. 2.) The albums does not have it's own unique SOUND, as her past records have each had. The asian strings/brass/horns almost make that happen, but just don't dominate enough of the record. 3.) Her vocals are mixed WAY too high. Whoever mixed the album needs to be shot.
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1 of 0 people found the following review helpful By Christopher M. Discenza on May 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Despite much of the hype surrounding the release of it, Volta is hardly a return to the exuberant Pop of 1995's Post. In many ways, it is Bjork's most challenging and experimental record to date. Like its proper predecessor, 2004's Medulla, it has its fair share of accessible, catchy tunes, most of which occur early in the album. Volta begins with full-bodied, dynamic songs, laying down its distinct sonic pallette: minimal, angular beats, 'ethnic' textures, and horns, horns, horns. The standout fifth track, "I See Who You Are," is a dazzling mish-mash of instruments and rhythms that, amazingly, become harmonious. This marks a turning-point in Volta, where the pop hooks give way to short, biting moments of raw emotion, seemingly tied together by a portrait of visceral femininity. Bjork and her disparate collection of collaborators retain the musical flavors, but dispense of any kind of catchy, hummable melodies in favor of what have the feeling of pure improvisation. Most curious is "Hope," one of three collabs with Timbaland, wherein Bjork sings explicitly political lyrics over austere Silk Road beats and kora playing by Toumani Diabate. It's one of Bjork's oddest additions to her already odd and remarkable catalog. Before long (read: the song is too short), "Hope" gives way to the high-octane techno track "Declare Independence," her most visceral and upbeat anthem since Homogenic's "Pluto." Its simplicity makes it a standout among the moody, brooding songs around it.

In all, Volta is an exasperating experience, as most Bjork releases are, and is well worth exploring and, also like most Bjork releases, may take time to unravel, especially for those expecting a "pop" record.
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Topic From this Discussion
Why is Bjork so Violent???
You obviously are not famous and do not have to deal with the kind of constant hounding from the media that people known have to go through. When you just want space to do everyday things with your children and people are yelling at you to turn their way to take your picture. Keep your childish... Read More
May 29, 2008 by J. Callender |  See all 8 posts
My hopes for a Bjork b-sides compilation
Agreed. My friend made a disc for me of Bjork's B-sides from all the Vespertine singles. It flowed like an alternative and better take of Vespertine. Some of the best work from that album session that should have made it on the disc ended up as B-sides instead. Foot Soldier comes to mind.
Jun 19, 2009 by bowery boy |  See all 2 posts
They are selling used copies of an extremely popular album, and due to the sheer number of used copies available, the competition is driving the CD down to insanely low prices. Simple as that.

A shame for the seller, but a boon for the buyer! I just bought a copy for under $1.50.
Mar 8, 2010 by Ivan Petrovsky |  See all 3 posts
Volta Tracklisting
Earth Intruders, Innocence and I think Vertebrae by Vertebrae are the Timbaland collaborations. Innocence especially sounds very, very Timbaland. You can definitely hear his influence on that track.
Apr 23, 2007 by bowery boy |  See all 4 posts
No deluxe/special edition?
Yes, there will be three versions:

1. Original CD version in digipack
2. Special Edition CD/DVD version
3. Double 12" vinyl version

The Japanese version will also include a bonus track
Apr 7, 2007 by Diego Trejos Q |  See all 30 posts
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