Even since her days with the Sugarcubes, Bjork has been a figure that captivated like-minded audiences. Her voice was was both powerful and whispery when needed, and I’d like to think her unique voice led the way for various artists who also didn’t have the most traditional sounding vocals. She’s the alternative Madonna; able to revive her identify with each subsequent releases, and still is compelling to watch(Unlike Madonna). Today we talk about Bjork’s Top Ten Best Songs. Let’s go!
10. Crystalline, Biophilia
Like I mentioned in the introduction, Bjork is constantly changing, and you’ll see examples of this all throughout my Top Ten Bjork Songs. With this album she not only created music, but a whole world of computer app’s to make the album more integrated and world oriented. There’s some filler there, but much of it is really cool and intriguing. The song itself though, has this small feeling bell factor running through the duration, and Bjork’s voice is smashing through the simple yet highly engaging beat. There’s a mixture here that makes the song awesome. I love a song that can seem like it’s minimal and simple. Often times it’s the opposite to be honest. The song is mid tempo, and a little bit quiet, but here, and especially at the end, there’s a lot of beat work happening.
9. Hyper-ballad, Post
Number nine on our Top ten Bjork songs list finds the first song on our countdown that perfects the slow build and growing of sounds. The imagery here is simply incredible. The story of Bjork waking up to a gorgeously cold day, and having to care for her family is one that you find easy to relate to. When she talks about “Early morning, no one is awake,” you know exactly what she’s talking about. There’s a beautiful stillness to an early morning,and without much effort you’re transported to this wonderful world full of vibrant beats that both make you want to dance and be in the arms of the one’s you love. I love that she’s able to do all this with just her voice and magic with lyrics, and it’s one of the reasons she’s still going strong twenty plus years on.
8. Enjoy, Post
This darker themed musical track opens with a machine like movement, and it’s one of the few things that she does that gets closest to darker industrial music. Now, she’s not quite there, but it’s brimming with ominous beats and the vocals here are held back in the mix to give more focus to the highly organized music. The beats keep growing throughout the song, and you get the impression that the lyrics are representative of the forcefulness, but in a very strange way. Maybe she like’s being dominated? I’m still not sure, but the song itself is quite submissive at times, and the murkiness of the track only adds to the overall gloom of the song.
7. Human Behaviour, Debut
For many their first exposure to Bjork was this song, and I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t mine. As soon as my eleven year old mind heard this, I was entranced. The beat, the off kilter voice, and especially, the animal themed music video all caught something within my mind, and that’s where my love and fascination with her began. The song has this tribal drum beat happening in the background, and her voice is especially solid here. She’s gone on to say that this album was quite weak and not a favorite of hers, but I’m grateful for being exposed to it, and it ignited a love and excitement that’s lasted a large portion of my existence here on Earth.
6. All is Full of Love, Homogenic
There’s two clips of this wondrous song that I love. The first is the official video. Depicting an android version of Bjork, she’s gradually built in a cold, still environment. Machines making machines, and she’s slowly morphing into an entity and gaining the love of the other robot in the room. It’s a video of cyber erotica that’s really quite beautiful and enticing to the eye. It’s probably one of the better videos she’s ever made to be honest. The second one, is a live version from when she opened her first Coachella set with the song. The crowd is a little too much for her, and you can see she wasn’t expecting that response, but it makes the performance that much more engrossing. It’s a thing of beauty, and both variations of this track shouldn’t be missed if you haven't seen them.
5. Pagan Poetry, Vespertine
Number five on our list of the best Bjork songs, “Pagan Poetry” is blooming with fantastical beats that make you feel as if you’re in a wonderful, illuminating garden at night. It’s a layered song that is perfectly complimented by Bjork using her voice in a more subdued way than she does in other songs. I’m still not sure how much harp is involved in the track, but there’s something that sounds like that in the background, and it really helps to move the song along. The album, “Vespertine,” is often forgotten because it came out after her two most well known and groundbreaking albums(Post and Homogenic), but it’s a record worth digging into it.
4. Joga, Homogenic,
The strings opening this song propel you into exactly the world she’s trying to show us. This album was the first record where she really went for a more personal, emotional type of record, and that feeling permeates this entire track. The song itself is an ode to Iceland, and also to her best friend, and the lyrics demonstrate her love and need for them both. I like to think that her use of the “State of Emergency” isn’t her being in danger, but rather how much she requires these things to be ever present in her life. You can sense how important her friendships and relationships are, and she requires them in her life to make her world the best possible world.
3. Hunter, Homogenic
This song opens the record, and from the first second you sense this wouldn’t be like her previous albums. It has an otherworldly aesthetic to it, and you feel like you're watching her scavenge for food on some alien world. No One is quite capable of incorporating electronic beats with symphonic qualities as well as she is, and on “Hunter” you see her mastering her craft to a level higher than anyone in modern music. The song is quiet on the surface, but don’t be mistaken. There’s much happening here. Her vocals are a little bit sparse, but the way she allows the instrumentation to paint the world is brilliant. This signified a change of pace for her, and brought her status way up in the world. Excellent song, from an excellent album.
2. Army of Me, Post
More than likely this is one of the her heaviest, beat driven song. The song itself is a bomb of sorts, and from the initial opening of the song, you’re pretty much in the middle of it. The track blends machine like beats and her signature voice in such a way that you can’t really focus on one for too long until you start to figure out just how closely they are in tune. I’ve always felt like this song is a presentation that might see Bjork standing atop a tower, imploring the army below that not only doesn’t she need them, but she’s capable of wiping them all out with her skill and precision. Now, that’s just my interpretation to the song. Feel free to disagree if you want, but when I hear this track I witness Bjork at her fiercest and most powerful, musically and otherwise.
1. Bachelorette, Homogenic
Since I heard it, this was my favorite Bjork song, and it was no surprise when I knew it would be the Number One song on my list of the Top Ten Bjork songs. This song is so amazing in every way that’s hard to pinpoint just one area where it excels in brilliance. First, the music is one set in a post apocalyptic world that sees the skies turn to ash and the slowly beat bubbling over a dark world. I’ve always only ever witnessed the song in this context musically. But the lyrics do something different. While the instrumentation is dark and mischievous, the lyrics are a struggle and full of love. All throughout the track, you see examples of her and her partner, and their need for the other. “Love is a Two Way Dream” is an absolute brilliant example of the shared love among partners in crime, and with gorgeous blossoming love can come heartache and difficulty. The song is full of epic imagery, and this is without a doubt her strongest track to date. The strength behind her voice is precise and you feel as though she’s not only giving it her all for the power of the song, but also for the strength of her love for her partner. It’s a remarkable song, and one that speaks to the epic scope and feeling of being in love. Thanks for reading, see you Wednesday.
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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