Looking at her life and career, Bjork is honest about what is hers: "All I have is intuition." Obviously, her intuition has served her well -- and also put her in the center of criticism and debate. She reminisces: "I was... [more]
Looking at her life and career, Bjork is honest about what is hers: "All I have is intuition." Obviously, her intuition has served her well -- and also put her in the center of criticism and debate. She reminisces: "I was on television when I was very pregnant. I was 19 with my stomach sticking out. And the Icelandic television had never got so many complaints. People called, wrote letters and were angry, and one woman got a heart attack. So it can be dangerous to do what you want."
To the surprise and delight of the music world, Bjork has done exactly what she wanted for almost 20 years. Her sound and image are a tug-of-war between the clear and the cluttered. A photo from I.D. Magazine reveals her in raw form: consciously messy hair, arms outstretched, hyper-yet-focused eyes, knees locked, feet uncomfortably turned out, a bright collage of clothing lending a fruit-basket-with-an-attitude look.
Bjork's first album hit the Icelandic charts when she was 12 years old. Frustrated with how little input she had in its production, she spent her teenage years swinging between punk bands before settling with the Sugarcubes. She describes their experience as "magical." But though the six friends loved each other dearly, they struggled to maintain a musical passion, and Bjork separated from the band after six years.
"Debut" was released in 1993. Bjork paints an innocent picture of the album: "For me, it was very much like the songs I had kept in darkness and locked in my little diary, only to be seen by myself." The songs from "Debut" were written in the evenings, after she put her son Sundri to bed. They are secretive and anticipatory, as relayed in the song, "Big Time Sensuality": "And I know I'm a bit too intimate/ But something huge is coming up/ And we're both included/ It takes courage to enjoy it/ The hardcore and the gentle/ Big time sensuality."
Bjork left Iceland and her love life to move to London, and her 1995 "divorce" album followed. Most critics judged "Post" to be a worthy successor to "Debut," finding it complex and ambitious, ignoring conventions of form and proving that Bjork's work went deeper than exotic charm. Those who criticized the album for being too electronic deeply offended Bjork. "If I hear one more person who comes up to me and complains about 'computer-music has no soul,' then I will go furious, you know. 'Cause of course the computer is just a tool. And if there is no soul in computer-music, then it's because nobody put it there, and that's not the computer's role."
In 1997, Bjork released "Homogenic." While still retaining her characteristic whisper-to-shriek vocal style, the album was less commercial and less melodic. Yet it was emotionally fragile, darker and more textured than her first two albums. Wiser than the orange-haired girl of her youth, she comments, "The more discipline you have, the more freedom you have." Her playful yet controlled sensibility breeds an innovative musician, whose quirks are simply part of her talent. [show less]