To some Americans, the Icelandic singer/actor/artist Björk is just the woman who wore a swan dress to the 2001 Oscars. But now, thanks to her new album, Biophilia, will she be remembered as the woman who changed the music industry? Biophilia, released Tuesday, has iPad apps that accompany each track to immerse listeners in an interactive experience — letting them play along on digital instruments, for example, or chart out visual representations of a song. With CD sales plummeting, could this experimental iPad album change the way people listen to music and save the industry — or is it just a silly gimmick?
This is revolutionary: Even if Björk's music isn't your thing, says Eliot Van Buskirk at Wired, you'll be impressed by her iPad album. "We've never seen anything like it." With Biophilia, Björk has completely reimagined the concept of a music album, turning it into "something functional." Each song is "beautifully depicted" as an app, offering a different, immersive experience that "will blow your mind."
"Björk's Biophilia app album launches 10 beautifully depicted songs"
Maybe not… but it is pretty awesome: The iPad apps are "aesthetically stunning, clever, and inspiring," says Lucy Jones at the U.K.'s Telegraph, but "there is no way this format is going to save the music industry." It probably won't even become a "particularly popular mode of buying albums." Music is still first and foremost about listening — "on the train, in the bath, cooking dinner, at a party" — and the iPad album isn't equipped for "that kind of consumption."
"Björk's iPad album Biophilia is wonderful and the ultimate package for music geeks — but it won't save the music industry"
I would rather just hear the music: Artists these days seem to generate as much buzz "by what bells and whistles they attach to the music, as with the music itself," says Dan Deluca at the Philadelphia Inquirer. That's certainly the case with Björk's Biophilia. While there are "some cool looking graphics and interactive features" to tinker with on the apps, "I'm underwhelmed with that aspect of the project." It's the stellar collection of "eerily beautiful" tracks that is Biophilia's biggest draw.
"Review: Björk's Biophilia"