In 2002 an Icelandic band, Sigur Ros, recorded an album that became known as The Brackets Album. The album was purposefully untitled, and the artwork for the album revealed a pair of brackets. Subsequently, each of the songs were also untitled. Jonsi, the vocalist, sang the songs in a made-up language called Hopelandic, which was based off the phonetic sounds of the Icelandic language (source). The pages of the album booklet were blank, encouraging listeners to create their own meaning of the songs. The album is often described as a post-modern masterpiece.

As is common with Sigur Ros albums, The Brackets Album, is emotionally evocative, with most songs slowly building to a crescendo of intensity. The album received critical acclaim, drawing praise from critics around the globe.

Considering that the artists were intentionally creating art that would be received in subjectivity, I find it interesting that we can still critique the album objectively.

While the album invites us to establish our own subjective meaning to the songs, it is through an objective critique that we can judge the aesthetic qualities of this album. We judge it according to how the listener receives the album, paying special attention to the depth of the emotions that are evoked (this gives us insight in the songwriting quality). We also judge it according the time and place that the album was recorded (we can’t judge it according the albums recorded in the 1960s, for example). And we judge it according to the quality of the audio recording and mix of each song.

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