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definition - Homogenic

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A picture of the album cover depicting a silver background with Björk standing facing forward in the middle. Björk is dressed in a outfit resembling a Kimono wearing large rings around her neck, silver fingernails and a large bun shaped hair style on each side of her head.
Studio album by Björk
Released September 22, 1997 (1997-09-22)
Recorded August 1996 – August 1997 at El Cortijo Studios in Málaga, Spain
Genre Alternative dance, trip hop[1]
Length 43:35
Label One Little Indian
Producer Björk, Mark Bell, Guy Sigsworth, Howie B, Markus Dravs
Björk chronology
Singles from Homogenic
  1. "Jóga"
    Released: September 1997
  2. "Bachelorette"
    Released: December 1997
  3. "Hunter"
    Released: March 1998
  4. "Alarm Call"
    Released: October 1998
  5. "All Is Full of Love"
    Released: June 1999

Homogenic is the fourth studio album by Icelandic musician Björk, released in September 1997. Produced by Björk, Mark Bell, Guy Sigsworth, Howie B and Markus Dravs, it was released on One Little Indian Records. The music of Homogenic was a new style for Björk, focusing on similar sounding music combining electronic beats and string instruments with songs in tribute to her native country Iceland. Homogenic was originally to be produced in her home in London, but was later recorded in Spain.

Homogenic marked the first of several production collaborations between Mark Bell and Björk, whom Björk would cite as a major influence on her musical career. The album peaked at number twenty-eight on the Billboard 200, and at number four on the UK Albums Chart. Five singles were released from Homogenic: "Jóga", "Bachelorette", "Hunter", "Alarm Call" and "All Is Full of Love". Homogenic was highly acclaimed on its initial release and continues to be praised by critics, with Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine stating that "if not the greatest electronic album of all time, it's certainly the greatest of its decade".[2]



  Maida Vale sessions

After an extensive tour in 1996, Björk returned to her home in Maida Vale with an urgent need to write new songs as a form of therapy.[3] Björk would let audio engineer Markus Dravs into her home studio to start creating new songs. Björk wanted to create an album with "a simple sound" and "only one flavour".[3] The album began with the working title of Homogeneous, but Björk shortly afterwards changed it to Homogenic.[3]

The sessions with Dravs and Björk were casual, with Björk allowing Dravs freedom with the album. Björk only left the studio to cook meals for the both of them.[4] One of the first songs created during the sessions was "5 Years" which Dravs created the fast beat for.[4] The progress of Homogenic in these sessions was halted due to a media sensation caused by the suicide of Björk's stalker Ricardo López.[5][6] To deal with the stress of being at home during this incident, Björk imagined herself as the protagonist in a Spanish soap opera.[6] The character's image inspired a song titled "So Broken" which she sang to herself in her kitchen.[6] The song was later included on the Japanese import of the album.[7]

  Málaga sessions

To record in privacy away from the sudden unwanted media interest, Björk's tour drummer Trevor Morais offered his studio in Spain. Björk went to Málaga and arranged to meet with flamenco guitarist Raimundo Amador.[6] Björk had originally intended to stay in Málaga only briefly, but later decided to record the entirety of Homogenic there.[6] Björk made a final trip out of the country before staying in Spain. As she had done since moving to London, Björk returned to Iceland for Christmas.[6] While there, she wrote more new songs for Homogenic, including "Jóga".[8] Before returning to Spain to record, Björk was sidetracked by a two week worldwide press tour for the promotion of her remix album Telegram, which had just been released.[9]

After returning to the studio in Spain in late January, Björk decided that producer Nellee Hooper, who had produced both Debut and Post, would not return, as Björk stated that they had "both stopped surprising each other".[10][11][12] Björk had intended to produce the album alone, but she abandoned the idea and sought out a group of close collaborators including Dravs, Howie B, Guy Sigsworth and LFO's Mark Bell.[10] Howie B had worked with Björk previously on Debut and Post and Sigsworth had played harpsichord on Post.[11][12] The American hip hop group Wu-Tang Clan almost contributed to the production of Homogenic, but were unable to due to their production on the album Wu-Tang Forever, which had taken longer than planned.[10] Most of the melodies on the album were created mentally by Björk, who then composed string sections on a Casio keyboard and brought them to programmers who would add suitable rhythmic patterns.[13] Björk desired to have Mark Bell contribute to her albums Debut and Post, only finding him available for Homogenic.[14] Mark Bell was credited for the majority of the album's production, including the songs "Pluto", "Alarm Call", and the bass line in "Jóga". Björk stated about her collaboration with Bell that she "trusts and respects what [Bell] does for me. If I were to say who has influenced me most it would be Stockhausen, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno and Mark Bell".[10] Other unorthodox methods of recording were used during the production, including Björk wanting to record outside on the porch and using non-professionals to help aid with production, such as Rebecca Storey, who was hired as a babysitter, but added to the production staff after showing interest in the equipment.[15][16]

String arrangements were added late in the recording process.[16] Björk had friend Eumir Deodato conduct, transcribe and compose original pieces for the few songs that Björk did not arrange for herself.[16] To keep with the Icelandic theme of the album, Björk ordered the services of the Icelandic String Octet.[16] By June 1997, the album was behind schedule and Björk was uncertain of the final track listing and unhappy with some of the recorded vocals.[17]


Before production began on Homogenic, Björk wanted to create an album with "a simple sound" and "only one flavour".[3] Heather Phares of Allmusic described the sound of Homogenic as a "fusion of chilly strings (courtesy of the Icelandic String Octet), stuttering, abstract beats, and unique touches like accordion and glass harmonica".[1] The album differs from her previous two releases stylistically, and Neva Chonin of Rolling Stone stated the album was "certain to be rough going for fans looking for the sweet melodies and peppy dance collages of her earlier releases".[18]

Björk wanted Homogenic to have a conceptual focus on her native Iceland. Producer Markus Dravs recalled Björk wanting it to sound like "rough volcanoes with soft moss growing all over it..."[3] In an interview for Oor, Björk explained that "in Iceland, everything revolves around nature, 24 hours a day. Earthquakes, snowstorms, rain, ice, volcanic eruptions, geysers... Very elementary and uncontrollable. But at the other hand, Iceland is incredibly modern; everything is hi-tech. The number of people owning a computer is as high as nowhere else in the world. That contradiction is also on Homogenic. The electronic beats are the rhythm, the heartbeat. The violins create the old-fashioned atmosphere, the colouring."[19][20]

Björk's vocals on Homogenic range from primitive sounding screams to a traditional singing method used by Icelandic choir men, a combination of speaking and singing as illustrated in the song "Unravel".[21][22] The majority of songs on Homogenic have lyrics about love and failed relationships. The song "Jóga" was written as a tribute to her best friend and tour masseuse of the same name.[8] Björk called "All is Full of Love" a song about "believing in love" and that "Love isn't just about two persons. It's everywhere around you".[23] "All Neon Like" contains snippets of a poem Björk wrote called "Techno Prayer" in 1996. The song "5 Years" appeared in live form a few weeks after her breakup with musician Tricky and music journalists considered it a response to it.[1][24] "Bachelorette" was originally written for director Bernardo Bertolucci for his film Stealing Beauty.[24] Björk later faxed Bertolucci, informing him the song would be used for her album instead.[24] "Bachelorette" and "Jóga" were written with Icelandic poet Sjón, because Björk wanted to use epic lyrics.[24][25] "Immature" was written about mistakes in past relationships, shortly after the breakup with Goldie.[26] Björk described "Pluto" as about "being plastered, that need to destroy everything so you can start again".[27] "Unravel" is a song about lamenting love, with brief flashes of hope.[28] The themes of the album are reflected in the album cover designed by Alexander McQueen.[29] Björk approached McQueen explaining to him the person who wrote Homogenic's songs was someone who "had to become a warrior. A warrior who had to fight not with weapons, but with love. I had 10 kilos of hair on my head, and special contact lenses and a manicure that prevented me from eating with my fingers, and gaffer tape around my waist and high clogs so I couldn't walk easily".[29]


Homogenic was released later than One Little Indian Records had intended. Björk was behind schedule and the album's cover design by Nick Knight needed a reshoot.[17] Towards the end of August 1997, One Little Indian delayed the album by a month.[17] Homogenic was released on September 22, 1997 on One Little Indian in the United Kingdom and on September 23 Elektra Records in North America on compact disc and cassette.[1][30][31][32] The album was later issued on vinyl and DualDisc formats.[1] The Japanese import version of Homogenic included several bonus tracks and remixed versions of songs.[7] The DualDisc release featured the full album on the CD side and the DVD side included the album with superior sound quality and the music videos for the singles.[33]

On the album's initial release, it charted in the United States on October 11, 1997, and stayed in the charts for nine weeks peaking at number 28.[34] Homogenic entered the charts in Canada for one week at number 20.[34][35] In the United Kingdom, Homogenic entered the charts on October 4, 1997, stayed in the charts for thirteen weeks and peaked at number four.[36] Of the ten songs on Homogenic, five were released as singles. A music video for "Jóga" directed by Michel Gondry was filmed in the middle of 1997 and was the first single for the album.[37][38] "Bachelorette" was released in December 1997 with another music video directed by Gondry.[38] In 1998, two singles were released: "Hunter", which had a music video directed by Paul White, and "Alarm Call", which had a video directed by Alexander McQueen.[38] The final single from Homogenic was "All Is Full of Love", released in 1999 with a music video directed by Chris Cunningham.[38] "Jóga" was the only single to not chart in the United Kingdom and "All Is Full of Love" was the only single to chart in the United States, peaking at number eight the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart.[36][39] In Canada, the Canadian Recording Industry Association certified Homogenic as a gold record on June 12, 1998, and in the United States the RIAA certified the album as Gold on August 31, 2001.[40][41]


A photo of Björk on stage dressed in white singing into a hand held microphone.
  Björk performing at Ruisrock, Turku, Finland on June 28, 1998.[42]

When the release of Homogenic was delayed by a month, its tour began with the audience not being familiar with the album's songs since it had not been released yet.[17] The tour started at the beginning of September with a backing band that consisted only of Mark Bell and made stops in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Spain, and England. These shows were brief live shows lasting about half an hour consisting of only new material.[17] Another tour took place in late October and lasted less than four weeks. Stops on this tour included Italy, Switzerland, France, England, Scotland, Germany, Ireland, and Denmark.[43] In late November, Björk was diagnosed with a kidney infection and while she was still healthy she was advised to take a three week rest and was forced to cancel her American tour.[43] In 1998, a North American tour with Radiohead was announced but canceled later due to difficulty of changing the stage between performances of the acts.[44] Björk had another tour in the middle of 1998 through Europe, and outside of the continent through other countries, including Chile, Brazil and Argentina.[44] Opening acts for portions of the tour included electronic musician µ-Ziq.[45]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
The A.V. Club (mixed)[46]
Robert Christgau (2-star Honorable Mention)[47]
Entertainment Weekly (A)[48]
NME (9/10)[49]
Pitchfork Media (9.9/10)[50]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[18]
Slant Magazine 5/5 stars[2]
Spin (9/10)[51]
Tiny Mix Tapes 5/5 stars[52]

Homogenic has been met with acclaim by critics since its initial release, winning multiple awards, as well as being placed on several "best of" charts. The album was nominated in the Best Alternative Music Performance category at the 1998 Grammy Awards, losing to Radiohead's OK Computer.[53][54] Michel Gondry's music video for "Bachelorette" was nominated for best Best Short Form Music Video at the 1999 Grammy Awards, but lost to Jonas Åkerlund's video for the Madonna song "Ray of Light".[55][56] Homogenic landed Björk the award for Best International Female at the BRIT Awards where she accepted the award stating "I am grateful grapefruit".[44]

Initial critical reception was positive. Entertainment Weekly gave the album an A rating, stating that "Homogenic could have been stuffy and dull — Sting with a sex-change operation. It's a testament to Bjork's continued weirdness that even overtures toward adulthood come out delightfully skewed".[48] Rolling Stone gave the album four stars out of five, calling it "one of the boldest – and most exciting – albums of the year".[18] NME gave the album a nine out of ten rating, noting the record as "probably her most weird, it is also her best....It is here...that Bjork has delivered her most emotional, highly-charged and groovy record, as well as a stinging triumph for the spirit of adventure."[49] A more negative review came from Stephen Thompson of The A.V. Club, who said "Homogenic is stylish enough, and it's as restlessly creative as you'd expect, but the album rarely gives Björk's songs a chance to assert themselves".[46]

American critics rated Homogenic highly in end of the year polls. In Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll of 1997, the album placed at number nine.[57] Spin ranked the album at number four on their list of "Top 20 Albums of the Year".[58] British critics listed the album in similar polls, with Melody Maker ranking the album at number thirty-three on their list of "Albums of the Year" and NME placed the album at number fifteen in its Critics' Poll.[59][60] Later reception to the album has also been generally positive. Ryan Schrieber of Pitchfork Media gave Homogenic a 9.9 out of 10 rating, claiming the album was "absolutely brilliant".[50] In 2002, Homogenic placed at number ten on Slant Magazine's list of "The Greatest Electronic Albums of the 20th Century".[61] In 2003, Homogenic placed on number 21 on the music webzine Pitchfork Media's list of the top one hundred albums of the 1990s, claiming it as "one of the most perfectly formed records of any era, and it is entirely possible that Björk will never approach this level of consistently enrapturing beauty again".[62] In 2007, Slant Magazine gave the highest possible rating of five out of five stars, describing the album as "gorgeous and evocative" and praising it as one of the best albums of the 1990s.[2] In a career retrospective in 2007, Spin gave the album five out of five stars.[63] In 2011, Slant Magazine placed the album at number one on their list of best albums of the 1990s.[64]

  Track listing

All songs written and composed by Björk,[1][30] except where otherwise noted. 

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Hunter"     4:15
2. "Jóga"   Björk, Sjón 5:05
3. "Unravel"   Björk, Guy Sigsworth 3:21
4. "Bachelorette"   Björk, Sjón 5:12
5. "All Neon Like"     5:53
6. "5 Years"     4:29
7. "Immature" (Mark Bell's Version)   3:06
8. "Alarm Call"     4:19
9. "Pluto"   Björk, Mark Bell 3:20
10. "All Is Full of Love" (Howie's Version)   4:32



  • Howie B – programming, producer, mixing
  • Mark Bell – programming, producer, drum programming, crew
  • Björk – arranger, producer
  • Danny Joe Brown Band – programming, mixing assistant
  • Richard Brown – programming
  • Kirsten Cowie – mixing assistant, assistant
  • Deodato – arranger, orchestration, transcription
  • Marius de Vries – programming
  • Markus Dravs – programming, producer, engineer, drum programming, crew
  • Katy England – stylist
  • Jason Groucott – mixing assistant, assistant
  • Nick Knight – photography
  • James Loughrey – mixing assistant, assistant
  • Alexander McQueen – art direction
  • Sie Medway-Smith – mixing assistant, assistant
  • Rob Murphy – mixing assistant, assistant
  • Russel Polden – mixing assistant, assistant
  • Steve Price – engineer
  • Guy Sigsworth – producer
  • Tony Stanton – copyist
  • Mark "Spike" Stent – mixing, crew
  • Rebecca Storey – mixing assistant, assistant
  • Paul Walton – mixing assistant
  • Jason Westbrook – mixing assistant, assistant



Chart (1997) Peak
Canadian Albums Chart 20 [35]
French Albums Chart 2 [66]
Norwegian Albums Chart 3 [67]
UK Albums Chart 4 [36]
US Billboard 200 28 [35]


Year Song Peak positions
US Hot Dance Singles
1997 "Jóga"
"Bachelorette" 21
1998 "Hunter" 44
"Alarm Call" 33
1999 "All Is Full of Love" 24 8
"—" denotes releases that did not chart.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Phares, Heather. "((( Homogenic > Review )))". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r312930. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  2. ^ a b c Cinquemani, Sal. "Slant Magazine Music Review: Björk: Homogenic". Slant Magazine. http://www.slantmagazine.com/music/review/bjork-homogenic/234. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Pytlik, 2003. p.119
  4. ^ a b Pytlik, 2003. p.120
  5. ^ Colin, Chris (05-01-2001). "Salon.com People Björk". Salon.com. http://archive.salon.com/people/bc/2001/05/01/bjork/print.html. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Pytlik, 2003. p.121
  7. ^ a b c Thompson, Dave. "((( Homogenic (Japan Bonus Tracks) > Overview )))". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r403653. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  8. ^ a b Pytlik, 2003. p.122
  9. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.123
  10. ^ a b c d Pytlik, 2003. p.124
  11. ^ a b "allmusic (((Debut > Credits)))". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r184600. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  12. ^ a b "allmusic (((Post > Credits)))". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r216082. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  13. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.126
  14. ^ "Mark Bell / LFO Interview". The Milk Factory. June 2002. http://www.themilkfactory.co.uk/interviews/lfoiw.htm. Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  15. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.127
  16. ^ a b c d Pytlik, 2003. p.128
  17. ^ a b c d e Pytlik, 2003. p.129
  18. ^ a b c Chonin, Neva (1997-10-03). "Homogenic Björk: Review: Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 2009-03-17. http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/homogenic-19971003. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  19. ^ Oor. September 1997. 
  20. ^ "Björk:albums:Homogenic:Icelandic techno". Muziekkrant OOR. September 1997. http://unit.bjork.com/specials/albums/homogenic/. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 
  21. ^ Lysloff, 2003. p.183
  22. ^ Lysloff, 2003. p.194
  23. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.170
  24. ^ a b c d Pytlik, 2003. p.169
  25. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.174
  26. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.182
  27. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.190
  28. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.196
  29. ^ a b "Björk:about:Homogenic:About the album cover". Chicago Sun Times. May 15, 1998. http://www.bjork.com/facts/about/right.php?id=1018. Retrieved 2009-07-08. [dead link]
  30. ^ a b Homogenic (Linear notes). Elektra. 1997. CD62061. 
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  32. ^ Smith, Ethan (8 September 1997). "Fall Preview Pop Music". New York Magazine 30 (34): 105. http://books.google.com/?id=FegCAAAAMBAJ. Retrieved 2009-04-15. "Björk, Homogenic, (Elektra, September 23)" 
  33. ^ Phares, Heather. "((( Homogenic (Dualdisc) > Overview )))". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r845471. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  34. ^ a b "Homogenic - Björk: Billboard.com". Billboard. http://www.billboard.com/#/album/bj%C3%B6rk/homogenic/261367. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  35. ^ a b c "((( Homogenic > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums )))". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/album/r312930. Retrieved 2009-04-08. 
  36. ^ a b c d Warwick, 2004. p.140
  37. ^ Pytlik, 2003. p.131
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  41. ^ "RIAA website. Search for "Homogenic"". RIAA. http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinumdata.php?table=SEARCH. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  42. ^ "bjork.com : gigOgraphy". bjork.com. http://www.bjork.com/facts/gigography/sub.php?date=1998-06-28. Retrieved 2009-05-30. [dead link]
  43. ^ a b Pytlik, 2003. p.132
  44. ^ a b c Pytlik, 2003. p.133
  45. ^ Bidaye, Prasad (September 1999). "Destination Out: Experimental & Avant-garde reviews: µ-ziq: Royal Astronomy". Exclaim!. http://www.exclaim.ca/musicreviews/generalreview.aspx?csid2=847&fid1=6777&csid1=103. Retrieved September 3, 2009. 
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  49. ^ a b NME: 54. 20 September 1997. "9 (out of 10) - "...her third solo album, HOMOGENIC, is probably her most weird, it is also her best....It is here...that Bjork has delivered her most emotional, highly-charged and groovy record, as well as a stinging triumph for the spirit of adventure.")" 
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  51. ^ Hunter, James (September 1997). "SPIN". Spin: 135. http://books.google.com/?id=G-86CzNjg9cC&pg=PA135. Retrieved 2009-04-15. "9 (out of 10) - "...the 31-year-old Reykjavik native's new album delves deeply into hip-hop, flies in orchestras, and proves that the electronic generation will yield much more than a string of dance epiphanies..."" 
  52. ^ "Review: Homogenic". Tiny Mix Tapes. http://www.tinymixtapes.com/Bjork,2285. Retrieved 12 June 2009. [dead link]
  53. ^ Randall, p. 251, 255
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  60. ^ Melody Maker: 66–67. December 1997. 
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  67. ^ http://lista.vg.no/liste/topp-40-album/2/dato/1997/uke/40


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