( ) by Sigur Rós

When ( ) came out, it was met with some extreme criticism; it's hard not to criticize. An album with an unpronounceable title, eight tracks that officially have no actual name, and a twelve-page booklet of blank pages. Lyrics, which would already have only meant gibberish anyways, are basically the exact same throughout the entire album, with only slight variations and breaking down of the syllables (it only deviates from the same "You sigh low" mantra a couple times the entire album), so even that sheds very little illumination. It's hard not to be angry; is their silence an extreme act of self-assurance of the fact that their fans are too busy hallucinating glaciers that they won't care if the band doesn't even try anymore?

But when it comes down to it, with Sigur Rós it really doesn't matter. We've already accepted that we aren't necessarily going to understand what they're really trying to tell us. If anything, ( ) is truly gratuitous for the listener -- if you've ever listened to Sigur Rós, you've already been projecting yourself into their music long before ( ) came out, and with the band's complete silence on meanings or even names, it's a chance for the listener to emote with the music guilt-free.

If there are any true faults with ( ), it may very well be the seventh track. A formidable 13 minutes, its long and arduous build up ends up mostly sputtering and dying, rather than building up to anything. After already sticking it out for 47 minutes (the last 20 of them already spent on tracks with the same build-up/emotional explode formula), the seventh track really does nothing more than grate on the ears. But it's hard to stay angry with Sigur Rós for long, as immediately after we come to the very last track, which is heads above the rest of the album. Possibly one of their liveliest tracks ever, the build up erupts into a frenzy of guitars and drums.

In the end, we all know this to be true: we listen to Sigur Rós to feel what we're already feeling. When we're happy, in love, needing to cry, wanting to feel angry and frustrated, there are very few bands that come close to Sigur Rós when we need to project ourselves into what we listen to. If music is made to touch other people, then these people are legend.

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