Bjork came out of nowhere. Well, more accurately, she came out of Iceland. Wow, what an unprovoked slam on Iceland!
She had actually been performing with an art-pop group called the Sugarcubes for a while, but her true calling lay elsewhere. She became fascinated with European dance and electronic music and bent those styles to her will, resulting in some twisted, pretty compositions.
Bjork gave an idiosyncratic face and artistic vision to the burgeoning dance and techno scenes of America and the UK, utilizing their histrionic synthesized mood pieces as a backdrop for her versatile voice and dilettantish persona. This aesthetic was weird and personal enough to transcend any sonic indicators and trends of the era, so she’s just as accessible and bizarre today. The intimacy and sensuality of her melodies was intriguingly at odds with her increasingly cold, digitized soundscapes. This record is impressively diverse, but what she really brought to the genre was artistic agency, an auteur’s control and personality. That’s why Bjork is important. Although I refuse to code the umlaut in her name into this post. Hey, I just accidentally said the name of the album! Bonus points!
Key track: “Isobel”
See also: Debut – Bjork (1993), Vespertine – Bjork (2001)