PS, if you like this post, I have reviewed every Bjork studio album on this blog, just click “Bjork” in the tag cloud on the right.
5. All is full of love
Homogenic was at its best for me when it wasn’t trying to shatter my eardrums. That’s why this track stands head and shoulders above Pluto, ack. A gentle lovesong, played out with seductively slow beats and twanging string instruments. Her vocals really are lovely on this, it’s like a siren song or something.
Then we come to the video, a really spellbinding display that sounds quite crass on paper: two robot Bjorks making out. But it’s done with such sensitivity, it’s really quite lovely, and one of those real visionary moments that set Bjork apart from her contemporaries at the time (and in a GOOD way, for a change).
4. New world
OK I admit I surprised myself that something from Selmasongs even managed to make my top 20, but the more I listened to this, the more I loved it. It certainly feels like her big soundtrack song, even though “I’ve seen it all” got all the attention, and an Oscar nomination to boot.
I just love how that orchestra builds throughout the track, to an almost deafening crescendo. It’s just got so much optimism to it, quite bittersweet when you find out when you hear it in the film. But optimism I think was the point of this, and I get that. Oh that orchestra!
3. Play dead
One of my earliest memories of Bjork was the use of this on a car advert for a Vauxhall Vectra, I remember it vividly. Odd how things stick with you like that. Anyway, another lavish orchestral extravaganza, this time in collaboration with David Arnold. I think it was one of her first big vocal songs, coming as a bonus track at the end of Debut, where it still feels a little out of place.
She really pours everything into those vocals though, and some of the big notes still send shivers up my spine. As you know I’m partial to a string section, and the drama created by that in this track really is amazing. Glorious.
Bjork managed to strike gold once more with Homogenic, and the ominous piano thumping here brings on a wonderfully mechanical-sounding ballad.
Again her vocals are in top form, but it’s really the accompanying video that sets this apart from the pack. A really visionary tale of a book that tells Bjork’s life story while it’s still being written. It becomes a bestseller and gets adapted for the stage, but the story contains the part where she discovers the book and gets it published and adapted, so we end up in this bizarre tale-within-a-tale concept, that has rather weird consequences for the audience and participants.
Not to say that the video makes up for something lacking in the song, the song is total poetry, the lyrics really draw me in every time, marvellous.
No shock No.1s I’m afraid, I think there was only one way this was ever going. I am totally in love with this song, part of the reason I got into her in the first place. The crown jewel of the amazing Post album, it starts with a quite gentle fizzing beat while Bjork sets this vivid but unusual scene of a remote beach house that she regularly clears out of loose items by throwing them off a cliff. It’s quirky but nice enough. Or until she fantasises about jumping off that cliff one day. Hmm, I think she needs supervision.
The gentle sound hitches up a gear for the second gear, with more layers of rhythm added, and this continues until we’ve got a pretty solid dance track on top of this gorgeous song. Then the strings! God I love this song … I only hope she is even capable of making something like this in the future. Personally I doubt it, and that’s a terrible shame, but I will always treasure Post.