Top 10 Bjork Songs – Ranked
It’s 30 years this year since the release of Bjork’s debut album, ‘Debut’, and with over 200 songs from 10 studio albums, two soundtrack albums and a greatest hits, it’s no mean feat to pick a top 10, but here goes nothing – here’s the top 10 Bjork songs – ranked.
Bjork signed her first record deal at just 10 years of age and enjoyed success in her homeland of Iceland, predominately with alternative rock band The Sugarcubes. Since then Bjork has recieved five BRIT Awards, Four MTV Music Awards, one Academy Award nomination and fifeteen Grammy Award nominations.
10. Play Dead
Released in 1993 and written with David Arnold and Jah Wobble Play Dead was the lead track from the soundtrack of the 1993 film The Young Americans with Harvey Keitel. While the film failed to make much of an impression, Play Dead reached the top 20 in singles charts across Europe, peaking at number 12 in the UK.
David Arnold’s melancholy strings and Bjork’s emotionally charged lyrics about a person numbing their emotions in order to prevent emotional pain combine to make an unfortgettable and catchy 4 minutes.
9. Army Of Me
Released on 24 April 1995 as the first single from her second album ‘Post’, Army Of Me was the first single from Björk to enter the top 10 on the UK Singles Chart. Dominated by a heavy bass-line along with elements of trip-hop and industrial rock, Army of Me has become a firm favourite of Bjork’s live shows.
The lyrics were written in response to her brother’s behaviour who had been a “bit out of order for a while”, according to Bjork, “the lyric is about people who feel sorry for themselves all the time and don’t get their shit together”.
Stonemilker is taken from her eighth studio album Vulnicura, which has often been described as Bjork’s divorce album. The raw lyrics and stirring strings combine to make what has been described as Bjork’s saddest sounding song.
While the subject matter is one of raw emotion the strings add a level of beauty that moves the song into greatest. The whole song is the sound of a person pleading with someone to show some feelings.
7. Human Behaviour
Human Behaviour is the lead single from her debut album, ‘Debut’ and was a huge underground hit, reaching number 2 on the US Dance Chart. Inspired by naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough, the lyrics tell the story of the relationship between humans and animals from the animal’s point of view.
The opening line, ‘If you ever get close to a human, and human behaviour, be ready, be ready to get confused,’ speaks not only to how animals may see us but also to how many of us see ourselves as a species.
“‘Human Behaviour’ is an animal’s point of view on humans. And the animals are definitely supposed to win in the end.”Bjork
Bjork considers Human Behaviour to be the opening track of a musical trilogy, which continues with the tracks of Isobel and Bachelorette from later albums, ‘Post’ and ‘Homogenic’ (more on those to come!)
If ever the music to a track could be described as a long sigh, then Cosmogony is that track. Cosmogony is the second single taken from her eighth album ‘Biophilia’, and the ambient use of brass instruments sounds like the outer universe taking a huge breath out. The entire track almost sounds like hardly any instrumentation is involved at all, giving the whole thing a calming, soothing feel, yet euphoric at the same time.
Isobel was the second song released as single from Bjork’s second album, ‘Post’, and is the second song in her trilogy of Human Behaviour, Isobel and Bachelorette. Talking some years later Björk explained the trilogy: “In ‘Human Behaviour’, she’s a little girl. In ‘Isobel’, she moves to the big city and big lights. In ‘Bachelorette’ she takes over and trees grow over the city”
The song was a collaborative effort by Björk, Nellee Hooper, Marius de Vries and Sjón and is a trip-hop string-laden uplifting song about a woman moving to the city with Human Behaviour written about the same woman being born in the wilderness.
Joga was released in 1997 and was the lead single from Bjork’s third album Homogenic. With epic strings and an undercurrent of industrial beats it’s a clear defining track of Bjork’s career. It’s almost sparse sound demonstrates Bjork’s remarkable vocal range. It’s a sweeping, beautiful song about friendships and, as with many of Bjork’s songs, sounds completely unique.
3. Venus As A Boy
Venus As A Boy was the second single released from Bjork’s debut album and was inspired by a boy who saw everything from a “beauty point of view”. Björk never revealed who was the inspiration for the track but it is believed to be Dominic Thrupp (also known as Dom T.) with whom she had a relationship at the time of writing.
Apparently, Venus As A Boy is Bjork’s most covered song having been recorded by over 30 other artists. The song uses largely Indian instruments with a chilled-out vibe and in 2003, Q Magazine ranked “Venus as a Boy” at number 610 in their list of the “1001 Best Songs Ever”.
Hpyerballad is so good this could easily be the number 1 pick in many people’s view and is often cited by critics as her best track. Hyperballed was released as the fourth single from her second album Post in 1996 and reached number 1 on the US Dance Charts.
The backing track is classic Bjork with orchestral strings and electronic house beats vying for your attnetionn throughout. It’s uplifting chorus soars, and Bjork’s feel-good infection picks you up, carrying you along with her. In September 2010, Pitchfork included the song at number 11 on their “Top 200 Tracks of the 90s”.
The second single from her third album Homogenic, Bachelorette is the third and final track of Bjork’s ‘Isobel’ trilogy. As with many of Bjork’s great tracks its made up of ‘beats and strings’ but also includes instruments such as timbales, timpani, and an Alp Horn, among others, which helps make the song stronger giving it an epic feel.
Bjork initially had trouble with the lyircs so asked Icelandic poet Sjon to collaborate;
“Because I wanted the lyrics to be so epic, I got my friend Sjón – who’s a poet in Iceland – to write them. We sat together at the kitchen table and drank a lot of red wine and I told him the whole story for hours and days and he wrote the words from that story.”Bjork
The songs video was directed by Michel Gondry, co-writer and director of Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind, and won an award at the 1998 MTV Music Video Awards.
A song of pure perfection.
Check our top 20 Bjork tracks below!
However much Bjork you listen to, it’s probably not enough.