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Bjork: Visual and Vocal Genius
Bjork. Maybe you've heard of her. Maybe you've seen pictures of her swan outfit that everyone made a big fuss about (they still do). Maybe you've never heard of her, and that's why you clicked on this link, because you wondered why I consider this person a visual and vocal genius. And why did I use the word "vocal" instead of just "musical"?
I'm going to say it straight out: I am not an expert on this musician, but I do love her music. I think that gives me, with a "fan's license", some ability to talk about and explore the topic of BjÃ¶rk. I've been listening to her music on-and-off for years, and more recently, my full-blown, long-ago obsession with her music has returned.
The word 'genius' implies expert. It is actually defined as, "an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work in science, art, music, etc." [Dictionary.com]. Bjork shows a LOT of creative and original work, a LOT. Each of her albums, each of her appearances in music videos, live on tv, in concerts, whatever - ALL are original, different, and exciting. Plus, her voice does things that others' voices simply do not do! I have never heard a voice like hers, ever.
As for visual, the swan outfit does not do justice to the fine array of color, creativity, and utter bizzare-ness that is the wardrobe of Bjork. Many musicians are known for having fantastical, outlandish attires. I find that Bjork's outfits really stand out, and they are never the same. Some stand out more than others; some are downright alarming. I'm going to try to share a range of outfits in this lens. (Lens, for those of you who don't know, is the Squidoo word for 'article').
You will also listen to some Bjork music and watch some Bjork music videos, if you get through some of this lens. Enjoy!
Who is Bjork?
Here is a quick summary on Bjork. It is from Wikipedia, which is not a reliable source; but these are facts, plain and simple.
"Bjork Godmundsdattir, (born 21 November 1965), known as Bjork (pronounced byurk in English), is an Icelandic Polar Music Prize-winning singer-songwriter, occasional actress, music composer and music producer, whose influential solo work includes seven solo albums and two original film soundtracks.
Her eclectic musical style has achieved popular acknowledgement and popularity within many musical genres, such as rock, jazz, electronic dance music, classical and folk. Her voice has been acclaimed for its distinctive qualities.
Bjork's 1990s singles "It's Oh So Quiet", "Army of Me" and "Hyperballad" charted in the UK Top 10. Her record label, One Little Indian, reported that by 2003 she had sold more than 15 million albums worldwide.She has acquired a high level of critical acclaim. She has won four BRIT Awards, four MTV Video Music Awards, one MOJO Award, three UK Music Video Awards and in particular, she received, in 2010, the Polar Music Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, in recognition for her "deeply personal music and lyrics, her precise arrangements and her unique voice".
Find Out More
Go Google her! =D
Or even better, go to her website, http://www.bjork.com/
She has an interesting history.
To start you off (or continue your Bjork joys, if you're already a fan), I want to share some of Bjork's powerful voice and visuals. Some of these videos are official music videos. I tried to pick a few super-famous and a few more obscure songs. Any batch of Bjork songs you get shows her incredible range!
"All Neon Like" from the album Homogenic (1997)
"Vokuro" [Lyrics are Icelandic] from the album Medulla (2004)
"Joga" from the album Homogenic (1997)
"Big Time Sensuality" from the album Debut (1993)
"Hidden Place" from the album Vespertine (2001)
"Pagan Poetry" from the album Vespertine (2001) - WARNING, THIS VIDEO FEATURES NUDITY
"Pluto" from the album Homogenic (1997)
"I See Who You Are" from the album Volta (2007)
"Hyperballad" from the album Post (1995)
"It's Oh So Quiet" from the album Post(1995)
Bjork on Amazon
What song from the above videos shown do you like best?
Photo Gallery 1Click thumbnail to view full-size
Here are some reasons I love Bjork
- No one else can sing like her.
- She expresses herself fearlessly, in her music, in her wardrobe, and in her life.
- She's got this pixie, fae sort of face that feels like it comes from some other dimension or world. That combined with her voice and her outfits make for a very striking figure.
- Her lyrics make me think.
- She never runs out of ideas.
- People either seem to love her or hate her, and I think that basically means: this woman knows how to make a statement! I admire that.
- You can tell she really works hard to make her music.
- I can listen to her songs over and over; the same song, repeatedly.
- Her music videos are like no other.
- Her fans, from what I've seen, are awesome, intelligent people (this excludes her very creepy stalker, who killed himself. I mean the nice people online! "Nice people online", an oxymoron, right? Well...they do exist).
A lot of people would say that Bjork's fashion is NO fashion; that, in fact, Bjork's wardrobe is actually a crime against fashion. You might agree. Especially after you see the famous swan outfit! But here's the thing...Bjork can look good in outfits that other people look ridiculous in. There's just something about her face, her smile, her utter willingness and joy in her own skin, that makes it amazing to see her in any outfit, even something that most would call hideous.
The pictures I've shown you above are of the glossy, photoshopped, poster/wallpaper type photos of Bjork fashion. Below are some of her more bizarre outfits. They are quite a delight! I really don't think anyone else could pull them off. Even, yes, Lady Gaga. For those of you who think Lady Gaga is a new big thing - hold it. Bjork came first! Her visuals and vocals are way more powerful and make much more of a statement, in my personal opinion.
""I was doing the backstage photography at the first Fashion Rocks at The Royal Albert Hall in 2003. It was mayhem: designers, models, musicians...within all of the chaos there was this moment which was quite quiet. They were individually sticking crystals onto BjÃ¶rk's face and it had to be quite slowly, properly applied because each one was stuck on individually. I kept coming back to see them applying more and more..."
Bjork, Royal Albert Hall, London, 2003 | Above Quote and Photo Below: Mary McCartney
Photo Gallery 2Click thumbnail to view full-size
Want to dress up Bjork yourself?
Poll 2 - Best Outfits from Photo Gallery 2
What is the best outfit from photo gallery 2?
More Awesome Music!
Comments on Bjork
Photo by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. Winter 2010
Her lyrics tend to appear simple, but therein lies the deception, because they are also profound.
"I find her outsider's manipulation of the English language to be one of the more engaging things in music. She clearly thoroughly enjoys words and the effects they can produce on the mind and the pleasures they produce flowering off the tongue."
One of Bjork's greatest assets is her other-worldly voice.
"I love it how Bjork, in her lyrics...allows you to make your own decisions and draw your own conclusions."
"Why does she never go wrong.......no not even the year of the swan was a wrong'un in my eyes. And now look, she looks like a little husky dog. F*** off Gaga and your over hyped sense of style!"
Bjork on LiveJournal and The Bjork Journals
The Bjork Journals
Videos of or about Bjork
Fan-made Bjork survey
This is part of a mysterious project! Go here:
"For a person as obsessed with music as I am, I always hear a song in the back of my head, all the time, and that usually is my own tune. I've done that all my life."
"I love being a very personal singer-songwriter, but I also like being a scientist or explorer."
"I am a grateful... grapefruit."
"I'm a bit of a nerd, I wouldn't mind working in a shop selling records, or having a radio show where I could play obscure singles."
"People are always asking me about eskimos, but there are no eskimos in Iceland."
"When I was a teenager in Iceland people would throw rocks and shout abuse at me because they thought I was weird. I never got that in London no matter what I wore."
About her album Volta: "I feel in a lot of ways Volta is Post 2. Very restless and sort of schizophrenic. Promiscuous in collaborations, but sincere. It`s consistent in its restlessness."
"I like the creative angle. Where people express themselves. But I don`t like it when it`s too much of people being told what to do, and too much like ... fascism, of magazines telling women to starve them-self, and they obey! Or they`re like "out of fashion", which is the worst crime you could ever commit! So they get executed for it, publicly! It makes women very unhappy." (2007)
"There`s no map to human behavior."
"I have this utopian view that the common person - like your gran, or the guy who works in the sandwich shop - actually wants an adventure, to hear something they`ve never heard before. I might seem leftfield, but I`m really not trying to be weird, you know." (Telegraph interview, 21/07/2005)
"What probably confuses people is they know a lot about me, but it quite pleases me that there`s more they don`t know."
Photo Gallery 3 - Bjork in Black and WhiteClick thumbnail to view full-size
Duel and Debate Time!
Okay guys, final role call now. You've survived this entire long and glorious lens on BjÃ¶rk, and it's your turn to vote, yet again! This time, I want explanations. I want you to pour it all out.
NO SPAM PLEASE. OR I WILL HAVE TO SEND AN ARMY OF ME. ;D
Do you think Bjork is a vocal and/or visual genius? or at least talented and creative?
Yes, I like her voice and/or her fashion. Here's why (please include if you like both or just one):
What do you think of this lens? Do you have any ideas of what I could add?
Bjork fans out there! - what do you think? Did I miss anything? (I couldn't include *everything*). Have anything to add?
Thanks for viewing my Bjork page!