Icelandic colour: top 5 Bjork moments

Along the spectrum of audio, visual and tactile splendour that is Bjork, Rasheeda Wilson recounts her top 5 favourite moments.

  1. Pagan Poetry (2001 Song)

Björk’s critically acclaimed ‘Pagan Poetry’ is one of her more interesting choices for a promotional single as it is not your typical radio friendly tune – the song is a composition written solely by Björk’s so it naturally transcends genre and convention. ‘Pagan Poetry’ is a lustful and enigmatic piece that slowly builds momentum as Björk’s sensual voice softly resonates in your ears. As the title suggests, the lyrics of ‘Pagan Poetry’ are in fact a poem where Björk’s allows herself to be unabashedly sexual but with romantic undertones. She has always embraced her sexuality as a woman and it is a frequent theme in her songs lyric-wise but ‘Pagan Poetry’ is where she is both figuratively and literally naked, the latter being observed in the song’s music video where Björk’s is seen caressing herself while mostly nude. The song is one of Björk’s best singles, her raw and emotional side so vulnerable.

 

  1. Army of Me (Live @ Free Jazz Festival Rio in 1996)

There is nothing particularly profound about Björk’s performance of ‘Army of Me’ at the Free Jazz Festival in Rio but it is a notable one that has circled the internet for years. Björk is seen dancing energetically on stage in a long khaki overcoat and runners with an overzealous drummer behind her clearly having too much fun with the song. Nothing is better than an overly invested drummer and ‘Army of Me’ is just one of the songs meant to be played live with as much gusto that can be possibly managed. The Rio gig captures an earlier Björk that is rawer and less theatrical. It is a recommended watch as it is really is just an awesome and entertaining performance of one of her most popular songs.

 

 

  1. ‘Venus As A Boy’ (1993 MV)

Björk is infamously idiosyncratic and the 1993 music video release of ‘Venus As A Boy’ is an extension of that; vividly colourful and brimming with metaphors that Björk reported to be sexual in nature. The concept of the clip was inspired by one her favourite book’s ‘Story of the Eye’ by Georges Bataille where the author used boiled eggs to symbolise sexual stimulation. The video is beautifully directed by Sophie Muller with lots of different shots of Björk whimsically cooking eggs and dancing around a kitchen daydreaming. The lyrics reference sexual intimacy between a man and a woman so the pairing of that concept with Björk simply cooking eggs is truly an odd concept but a genius one. Heterosexual intimacy expressed in videos are usually a tired concept but Björk knew how to reinvent it and keep it interesting. ‘Venus As A Boy’ is arguably Björk’s  most interesting clip to date and is a favourite amongst fans.

 

  1. The Swan Dress

The Swan Dress was designed by Marjan Pejoski and worn by Björk at the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001. It is one the more defining moments of her career as it caused a great stir in the fashion and entertainment industry. Björk received strong criticism and praise for her choice of attire as she walked the red carpet blurring the line between art and simply being ridiculous. She apparently carried six ostrich eggs with her as she placed them down the red carpet pretending to lay eggs. While it might have temporarily and negatively affected her image, it was well worth is because the swan dress now tours museums with Björk’s name proudly attached to it.

 

  1. Homogenic (1997 Album)

Homogenic is the album that greatly elevated Björk’s position as a musician. It often takes one widely critically acclaimed album and a strong fanbase to allow an artist to become one of the greats and Homogenic was Björk’s. An eclectic record with soulful strings and intense electronic beats, Björk had outdone herself. It features hit singles ‘Jóga’ and ‘Hunter’ and is also notably a very strong fan favourite. Homogenic was inspired by her native Iceland where she blends both the natural beauty and the hi-tech modern aspects of the country. Riddled with songs about love, personal growth and relationships the album is highly relatable which gives it an universal quality. The release of Homogenic was her career defining moment as it was the album that finally grabbed everyone’s attention. If you were to ask a Björk fan their favourite album, my guess is that the answer would be Homogenic 9 times out of 10.

 

 

 

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