To many ears, the Icelandic elf always has been weirder than your average rocker, but in the early days of her solo career, she still created pop songs that were way more melodic and danceable than her later work, which is more experimental than anything.

After her first band the Sugarcubes melted in 1992, lead singer, songwriter and keyboardist Björk Guðmundsdóttir (Icelandic pronunciation: [ˈpjœr̥k ˈkvʏðmʏntsˌtouhtɪr] if you ever meet her), launched her solo career with “Debut”, in 1993 (not counting her 1977 youth eponymous album). The highly acclaimed album got her worldwide praise, led by such hits as Human Behaviour, Violently Happy, Big Time Sensuality… Her performance at the then-very popular MTV Unplugged events showed her unique charisma and huge talent to re-think her own music, re-arrange it and re-invent herself completely.

bjork post bw

On her follow-up album, 1995’s “Post”, she confirms her place as top musician with big songs that each have very different styles. It all starts with the hit single Army of Me, a strong melody backed by an industrial beat à la NIN. The song was initially included in the “Tank Girl” movie soundtrack, which had some resonance with the rrriot girl movement, in the early to mid-90s. In those days, female artists like PJ Harvey, who tackled grunge, Hole with its all over the place leader and emotional and intimate artists like Tori Amos were bursting into the rock scene, pushing away the Guns’n’Roses and Mötley Crüe’s of the world into old-mindsets.

 

“Post” includes songs that are very different one from the other. It’s Oh So Quiet is a big band jazz song on which tiny Björk shows her immense voice. (Rare) longtime fans knew that the Reykjavík-born singer once led a jazz trio when she was just 25 years old! In 1990, the album “Gling-Gló” showed that aspect of her musical spectrum.

 

Many of her songs on “Post” have an electronic feel to them, often mixed with elegant strings. Isobel is a beautiful ballad with a strong melody that gets in everybody’s minds at first glance. I Miss You is a twisted way to see a relationship that hasn’t ended yet: “I miss you, but I haven’t left you yet…” sings the cute elf. Musically, it builds up to being danceable, by the end of the song. Possibly Maybe is another Björk gem on this album, with Portishead-like arrangements, with its vinyl record noises in the background.

 

This song explores the contrast between a thorn heart in the lyrics and very happy music, that seems to want to party, from its initial timid accordion to the grand carnavalesque final.

More obscure songs like Cover Me show the more experimental side of Björk, with its mix of harpsichord and industrial noises in the background. She sings very softly through the song. The song blends into the last moment of this record, Headphones. Many voice tracks are blended with space-type keyboards and a bassline that sounds more like an Atari ball game than anything traditionally musical oriented.

Weirder things were to come on the next albums, sonically and visually, from this very interesting artist. Björk turned 50 on November 21st, 2015.

BJÖRK
Post
(Elektra, 1995)

-Genre: electro pop
-in the same mood as Peter Gabriel, St. Vincent, Portishead, NIN

Follow the artist via her Facebook page
Listen to videos on the artist’s YouTube channel

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About The Author

Nicolas Pelletier

Mélomane invétéré et rédacteur agréé, Nicolas pratique la critique en mode olympique: il parle de tout, tout le temps, depuis 1991. Il a publié 6 000 critiques de disques et concerts dont 1100 chez emoragei magazine et 600 sur enMusique.ca, dont il a également été le rédacteur-en-chef de 2009 à 2014. Il publie “Les perles rares et grands crus de la musique” en 2013, et devient stratège numérique des radios de Bell Média en 2015, participant au lancement de la marque iHeartRadio au Canada en 2016.