Medúlla

~ Release group by Björk

Album

ReleaseArtistFormatTracksCountry/DateLabelCatalog#Barcode
Official
MedúllaBjörkCD15
  • JP2004-08-25
Polydor (worldwide imprint, see annotation)UICP-10564988005368225
MedúllaBjörk2×12" Vinyl8 + 6
  • GB2004-08-30
One Little Indian RecordsTPLP3585016958060916
MedúllaBjörkCD14
  • GB2004-08-30
One Little Indian RecordsTPLP358CD5016958060923
Medúlla (special edition)BjörkDVD-Audio35
  • US2004-08-30
One Little Indian RecordsTPLP358DVD5016958061203
MedúllaBjörkCD14
  • RU2004-08-31
Universal Music Russia206 038-44605026003842
MedúllaBjörkCD14
  • US2004-08-31
Elektra Entertainment (renamed from Elektra 1989–2004; revived as Elektra 2009-06-01)62984-2075596298421
MedúllaBjörkHybrid SACD (CD layer) + Hybrid SACD (SACD layer, 2 channels) + Hybrid SACD (SACD layer, multichannel)15 + 15 + 15
  • JP2004-10-13
Polydor (worldwide imprint, see annotation)UIGP-10014988005371720
MedúllaBjörkCD14
Polydor (worldwide imprint, see annotation)9867590602498675908
MedúllaBjörkCD14
Elektra Entertainment (renamed from Elektra 1989–2004; revived as Elektra 2009-06-01)CD 62984075596298421
MedúllaBjörkCD14
Polydor (worldwide imprint, see annotation)9867589602498675892
MedúllaBjörkHybrid SACD + Hybrid SACD (SACD layer)14 + 14
One Little Indian Records9867591602498675915
MedúllaBjörk(unknown)15
Medúlla (cardboard gatefold package)BjörkCD14
Elektra Entertainment (renamed from Elektra 1989–2004; revived as Elektra 2009-06-01)62985-2075596298520
MedúllaBjörkCD14
  • -2004
One Little Indian Records60219867590602498675908
Medúlla (Surrounded)BjörkDualDisc14
  • GB2006-07-10
One Little Indian Recordstplp358dual5016958073107
MedúllaBjörkDualDisc14
Atlantic (Warner Music imprint)R2 73327081227332723
MedúllaBjörk2×12" Vinyl7 + 7
  • GB2008-06-30
One Little Indian RecordsTPLP358DMM5016958096915
MedúllaBjörk2×12" Vinyl8 + 6
  • XE2016-01-29
Polydor (worldwide imprint, see annotation)4751689602547516893
MedúllaBjörkCassette14
  • GB2019-04-26
One Little Indian RecordsTPLP358C5016958089061
Medúlla (Bandcamp release)BjörkDigital Media14
  • XW2020-06-18
One Little Independent Records[none]
Bootleg
MedúllaBjörkCD14
Universal (bootleg label pretending to be the real one)F529012180446886739

Relationships

associated singles/EPs:Triumph of a Heart
Who Is It
included in:(____surrounded):
part of:1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die (2005 edition) (order: 126)
Discogs:https://www.discogs.com/master/39459 [info]
reviews:https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/reviews/mh63 [info]
other databases:https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/bjork/medulla/ [info]
Allmusic:https://www.allmusic.com/album/mw0000712627 [info]
Wikidata:Q842502 [info]

CritiqueBrainz Reviews

There’s 1 review on CritiqueBrainz. You can also write your own.

Most Recent

Bjork's long-awaited Medulla presented the Icelandic innovator with a challenge. Not only did she have to follow-up her breathtaking 2001 masterpiece Vespertine, but she also decided to do away with instruments. "I only wanted to work with vocalists," she proclaimed in a recent magazine interview.

No instruments? No problem. Welcome human beatbox artists Schlomo, Rahzel (of The Roots) and Dokaka. And many tracks still have a distinctly electronic edge, helped along by Bjork's longtime collaborator Mark 'LFO' Bell. Bjork also has the most powerful instrument of all at her disposal - her voice.

Fans will feel at home with the opener, "The Pleasure is All Mine", with those familiar trademark wailings and some pleasant Vespertine-like harmonies courtesy of an Icelandic choir. Many songs have a minimalist feel, such as "Show Me Forgiveness" and "Submarine" which features Robert Wyatt. The Icelandic "Vokuro" and "Sonnets / Unrealities XI" are full-on choral numbers with an almost religious tone to them. "Desired Constellation" is one of the more effective slow tunes, with Bjork warbling over a background of delicate digi-noise.

It's not all simplicity though. "Where is the Line" is a mish-mash of ideas, sounding like a fight between a choir and a rack of effects boxes, with neither winning. "Oceania" too, which opened the Athens Olympics, is spoilt by some overenthusiastic vocal whoopings. An Inuit throat singer called Tagaq is also brought into the mix, whose contributions range from unnerving ("The Pleasure Is All Mine") to downright horrid ("Ancestors").

This is not a radio-friendly album. There are no "It's Oh So Quiet" moments here. The only really immediate tunes are the enjoyable "Who Is It" and the closing track "Triumph of a Heart" (listen out for the rather splendid human trombone on that one).

Medulla has some high points, and it never gets boring, but it still left me feeling rather confused. It was recorded in 18 different locations, and you can tell - the end product feels disjointed and at times claustrophobic. Whereas previous albums like Vespertine were real growers, some people may lose patience with this one. The unquenchable desire to try out new ideas, which makes Bjork such an exciting artist, may prove to be her downfall on Medulla, as too much of the experimentation doesn't quite hit the mark.

But I still can't wait for her next album.