15. Hidden place
First entry from 2001’s Vespertine, and an album that really built on her offbeat mystique enough to push me over the edge into full loonship for a few years. This is a really eerie atmospheric piece, perfect setup for the wintery soundscape of its parent album. Subtle electronic beats (enjoy those while you can) and a wonderful choir underline a really hypnotic track. The video still gives me shivers (not least because she eats her own bogies)
14. Who is it
First appearance from the ‘difficult’ Medulla now, but one of the rather easy choices for a single. Medulla as you’ll probably know was notable for its dependence on human voices standing in for all the instruments, so we get a pretty astonishing beatbox backing to this light fluffy track. Acapella vocal groups have always been a bit hit and miss, but I think it really works beautifully. I liked the “bells” remix for the single, with a video that was fun and quirky to the point of parody. One of her last conventional tunes to make it onto an album, sadly.
The opening buzz single from Homogenic now, a surprisingly quite straightforward ballad for Mother Nature, that bastard humans are messing up. Maybe not Iceland though, is there anything going on there? Anyway, you may have gathered by now, but I’m a bit partial to some string sections, and this is a lovely example of that. Full of drama and soaring vocals, making way for some rather industrial sounding breakdowns. Admittedly not the most commerical thing to flog your new album with, but a great track either way.
12. Pagan Poetry
Back to Vespertine now, and a really melancholy (God, people sound so pretentious when they say that word) song about… OK I don’t really know, but she REALLY means it. The video is pretty hair-raising, and not for those of you who can’t stand the idea of body piercing. It’s got quite a odd plodding rhythm to it, but that plinky-plonky instrumentation gives it a really memorable hook. Her vocals are a little bit meandering, but really hits the spot when we get to the last bit. The silent “I love him, I love him” section into the “He makes me want to hurt myself” have really lodged in my memory now.
11. Human Behaviour
OK another one from her debut “Debut”(…). That rhythm is really wonderful isn’t it? No wonder I hear it quite regularly as a soundbed for TV shows. Showcases her quirky lyrical style, as well as her vocals, that don’t pay much attention to the rhythm but somehow fit the song wonderfully. Love the video too, really makes this into a great package. Not bad for a first single.