Picks and Pans Review: Selmasongs
Eccentric and edgy, Iceland's punk priestess is one of the last singers you might expect to star in a movie musical. But this isn't The Sound of Music. It's the soundtrack for Dancer in the Dark, the sobering tale of a factory worker (played by Björk) who is losing her eyesight to a genetic condition and trying to protect her son from the same fate. Her only relief is to envision herself in classic Hollywood-style song-and-dance numbers.
These lush, fanciful compositions (written by Björk, with orchestrations by Vincent Mendoza) perfectly capture her life's tensions, which are underscored by her ecstatically hiccuppy vocals and a hovering string section. Against a modernistic background of drum machines and synthesized effects, Björk (with guests Catherine Deneuve and Radiohead's Thorn Yorke) delivers traditional-sounding melodies, cleverly echoing the campy, old-style bits that both attract and bedevil her.
Bottom Line: Daring pop star dances into new territory