A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there are a few dark images (corpses and pregnant terrorists, for example) sprinkled amid charming poetry and an experimental hodgepodge of sound effects. There are also subtle messages of female empowerment.
What's the story?
VOLTA, Bjork's sixth album, is filled with odd musical juxtapositions and playful experimentation. Kids will find the surprising mix of sound effects and inventive percussion on many of the tracks very cool. Timbaland fans will enjoy the fact that he produced two of the tunes. Feminists will love the all-female Icelandic brass section. And parents will appreciate that the few mentions of anything sexual are buried deep in innuendo ("Let's celebrate now all the flesh on our bones/let me push you up against me tightly") and that the few potentially frightening images ("turmoil carnage," "suicide bomber made to look pregnant") are softened with intriguing musical arrangements and wispy, ethereal vocals.
Is it any good?
As is often the case with quirky artistic efforts, some of it works and some of it doesn't -- and the songs that work the best are those that are the least self-consciously "artistic." When Bjork manages to get over herself and just be fun, her music is absolutely charming. There's something delightfully refreshing about Bjork's way of turning a phrase. For example, on Wanderlust, she sings, "I am leaving this harbour/giving urban a farewell/Its habitants seem too keen on God/I cannot stomach their rights and wrongs/I have lost my origin and I don't want to find it again/rather sailing into nature's laws/and be held by ocean's paws." Bjork is really one of a kind.