Monday, March 11, 2013
50 GREAT ALBUMS IN MY 50th YEAR (Part 19)
(This is a slight re-write of a post from Oct 2009)
I was an admirer of the music released by The Sugarcubes in as much that I bought singles and albums, but usually a few weeks or months after they had been released rather than on the day they hit the shops.
I was slightly sorry to learn of their break-up in 1992, and while I was interested to hear that their female lead singer was going to pursue a solo career I didn't think it was one that would have a big impact outside of her native Iceland.......(glad I never put a bet on that one at the bookies).
I first heard the debut solo LP in its entirety in a record shop one browsing afternoon. I recognised that Bjork was singing, but my first assumption was that she was doing guest vocals for someone else. It was only after the third or fourth track in row to feature her talents that I thought there was more to it, and this was confirmed by the ever-friendly indie-store sales assistant. He also told me that in the week or so since the CD had arrived in the shop it had been on very heavy rotation as it was that rare beast - ie an album that found favour with all four folk who worked in the shop.
I told him I was a fan of her former band - he replied that it was nothing at all like any of the old stuff. And he also offered me, as a well-known face in the shop who spent something in the region of £40 a week on CDs, a free copy over the weekend that I could bring back on Monday morning if I didn't like it. And if I did...well it would be added to my next bill.
I don't know how many times the CD was played over the course of that Friday night, the Saturday and the Sunday, suffice to say that not many other things got a look in.
Debut is a record that shifts from one music genre to another with the greatest of ease, class and style (another record that I think does the same is Boat To Bolivia by Martin Stephenson & The Daintees). As such, it is impossible to get bored with it. It's a combination of the songwriting genius of Ms Gudmunsdottir and magical production from Nellee Hooper (and no I haven't forgotten that he also co-wrote at least half of the songs).
Nearly 20 years (!!!!!) after its release, this is a record which just hasn't dated one bit whatsoever. It can still make me smile, it can make me dance, it can make me listen intently and there are places where it has an uncanny ability to just stop me in my tracks and made me think about loved ones present and past. It's a truly remarkable piece of work.
It was an album that was a slow-burner. It spent ages in the UK charts but never got any higher than #3. Four singles were taken from it, and in a strange reversal from the norm, they reached progressively higher chart positions, with the lead-off Human Behaviour hitting #36 in June 1993. Venus As A Boy touched #29 in August, while Big Time Sensuality climbed to #17 on its release in November. However, in March 1994, Violently Happy reached #13. Later copies of the LP added a further one-off single, Play Dead which had featured on a movie soundtrack of the The Young Americans.
If you don't own this record, do something about it. It's one of THE most essential albums of all time.
mp3 : Bjork - Human Behaviour
mp3 : Bjork - Come To Me
mp3 : Bjork - Violently Happy
And while I'm on......
mp3 : Bjork & David Arnold - Play Dead (Tim Simenon 7" Remix)
mp3 : Bjork & David Arnold - Play Dead (Tim Simenon Orchestral Mix)
mp3 : Bjork & David Arnold - Play Dead (Tim Simenon 12" remix)
mp3 : Bjork & David Arnold - Play Dead (Tim Simenon Instrumental)
mp3 : Bjork & David Arnold - End Titles/Play Dead (Original Film Mix)