There are some artists, regardless of medium, who are special. For many of us, Icelandic mega-talent Bjork is someone special. Her soulful voice sings to our hearts and souls in ways few-to-none can match.

Originally I wanted to have a wide look at the works of Bjork, going from album to album and looking at the art and design of the album art as well as the film clips the accompany her beautiful music. Having listened to her music over and over and enviously gazed at her film clips in the same way one might look at the works of an old master, I realised something. Something obvious, something I already knew but hadn’t quite realised. She’s extremely accomplished. Like I said, obvious.

So instead of presenting you with a 25,000 word article on the artistry of this queen of the creative, I thought it might serve better to produce for you a small article, focusing on a few key creative works. Of course, I could, and would, happily express my love for her work for 25,000 words, so this may very well turn into a series of articles, each focusing on a few film clips and an album or two per article. Without further ado, I give you creativity in one of its most beautiful personifications: Bjork.


Having evolved from her days as a punk-rock firecracker as part of the Icelandic group The Sugarcubes, through her first (and very successful) solo endeavour of Debut, her explosive exploration is contained and expressed through the part-jazz, part-pop and part-dance sounds of Post.

Each song is increasingly different. Opening with the heavy sounds of Army of Me, we are given an impression best left as the first. This strong, somewhat powerful piece of music doesn’t set the tone for the rest of the album. In fact, no single song does. Each song is distinctly Bjork—expressive, hyper, emotional and unique. Each feeling right and fitting nicely on this album, but no one song defining the qualities or sounds of it as a whole.

There is the almost dance, almost ambient Hyperballed, the delicate Isobel, the extroverted big-band extravaganza It’s Oh So Quiet and the sombre Possibly Maybe. All different in style and sound and all tracks that would serve as keystone moments on albums of their own.


A song set in the moment of a relationship when aspects of your character need to be executed in secret. We are given a tale of someone who needs to release themselves in a away so that they can feel comfortable with the ones their with. To put it simply, it’s about acting out or in a certain way when your partner isn’t in the audience, so that you can be more comfortable when they are around. Not so much about keeping secrets, more about keeping apart of yourself for yourself.

Much like the music Bjork creates, the French director Michel Gondry created a multi-layered film clip full of contrasting styles mashed together with beautiful colours and shapes while being elegant in its execution.

With layered video, it’d be easy to assume it was all simply done during post-production. Surprisingly it was all done straight to film, on one role 400 feet in length.

Maybe it was done this way for no other reason than to experiment with double (does it count as triple when you do it a third time?) exposing the film in the name of artistic experimentation. An excuse to have bit of a play. Perhaps I’m wanting to find the romance in the production and methodology of this one, but I’d rather think that more than an excuse to play, it was done this way to give the clip an organic feel. By layering the clip via double exposure, rather than doing it in post, Gondry relinquishes a great deal of control, giving the video room to grow along its own path through misalignment and mistiming in filming.

Perhaps it might be better to consider this film clip crafted by Gondry, rather than directed.

It’s Oh So Quiet

In contrast to the name of this one, Bjork’s career began to make a heck of a lot of noise around the world with the release of It’s Oh So Quiet.

About the clash-bang sounds of the heart when one falls in love, It’s Oh So Quiet is a cover of Blow A Fuse by American actress and singer Betty Hutton. It’s also one of the early showings of Bjork’s love for musicals, which ultimately cultivates in her involvement with Dancer in the Dark a film she starred in and wrote the soundtrack for.

Directed by Spike Jonze, whom Bjork has collaborated with numerous times, the film clip is a joyous four minutes of random members of a middle American community unexpectedly dancing and tapping along together in unison, supporting the lead Bjork takes. With such a large cast of in-sync dancers, it’s easy to see why the clip and all the fun it captures proved to be so popular.

Reflecting the tempo of the song, it’s simple and in slow motion during the lulls of the music, just to speed and light up in vibrant colours when things to start rev up.

I chose to highlight It’s Oh So Quiet not only because of its film clip, but because of the stark contrast to Hyperballad and the other songs on Post. To be able to explore such different styles of music within one album and to pull it off in a way that appears to be effortless sings loudly Bjork’s talent as an artist.


Two years after releasing Post, the world was given the especially personally Homogenic.

As the Rolling Stone review quips, if Post was a mixing of different sounds and instruments, then Homogenic is the juxtaposition of them.

All the songs on Homogenic are more closely aligned in style and emotional depth than Post. Employing fewer types of sounds (think mostly strings and synthesized bings and bangs), what really takes the spotlight more strongly than on Post is Bjork’s voice. It also has two of her most awe-inspiring film clips – Bachelorette and All Is Full Of Love.


Bachelorette is a sequal of sorts to the second single of Post, Isobel.

A song about confrontation and love, Bachelorette was written by Icelandic poet Sjon, based on an idea and the story of Isobel as conceived by Bjork.

Once again working with Michael Gondry, the film clip is a symmetrical in events, showing us Isobel’s rise from living in the forest to having a book published and play produced based on her story, to having it all taken away again.

Visiting a publisher, she delivers a book about meeting, and falling love with, a publisher. The book becomes a hit (and as the story line dictates), is turned into a broadway show about Isobel having a book which is published and a broadway show produced about her having a book which is published and turned into a play about… well, you get it – it’s a self-fulfilling loop.

Isobel’s book is always a step ahead, telling her what to do, feel and say. The love of her partner, Victor, dissolves as he watches a version of himself on stage watching a version of himself. Losing this love causes the words from the books that are being read by everyone in the real world to disappear, as well as the loop of plays becoming less and less fantastic in excitement for Isobel.

One must wonder how much of this clip is fact and how much is fiction? Is it possible a partner of Bjork’s found himself portrayed as a caricature of his true self while Bjork was being roasted by the British tabloid press?

Whatever the reasoning or deeper meaning to this clip, we are given a fun, almost puzzle like story about a story in a story in a story and it’s subsequent implosion. Would have been great to have been in the room when this one was pitched.

All Is Full Of Love

All Is Full Of Love is, without a shred of doubt in my mind, one of the most perfectly executed piece of artistry to be produced in my lifetime. As wanky as it sounds and hyped about this artists’s work as I am right now, of this I am sure.

A mix of string instruments and mechanically inspired sounds, this is a somewhat simple song, half energetically and half euphorically expressing a nice reminder.

With what feels like internal dialogue (half the vocals are hopeful, while the other half is seeded with doubt), what is expressed is a reminder that while we may be closed off to it (‘Twist your head around/It’s all around you/All is full of love’), love is something that can be found in many places in many manifestations, not necessarily person-to-person.

A relatively simple song, it is executed in such a beautiful way that you desperately want more—a perfect way to end Homogenic as an album, or perhaps to start her following album, Vespertine.

And the film clip? Oh, the film clip! Director Chris Cunningham delivers something truly special.

Opening somewhat abstractly, the audience is introduced to a robot in the process of being repaired. Large mechanical arms spin and dance together as parts are added and removed, tightened and loosened.

With virtually no colour (except for a beautiful spot of red found in the branding of the robots) and nothing but uber-clean metals of white and black, this is a rather simple film clip. While the mechanics may be complicated and intricate in nature, the setting is not, nor is the idea.

Partly model and partly CGI, all the emotion is carried through the eyes and mouth of Bjork which was put onto a rendered head. I won’t go into more of a description of the film clip than that, as my words won’t do it justice. Just go and watch it. And if you watched it before reading these words, watch it a second time. A brief note: you might want to be careful if there are kids around, you might not want to answer the question of ‘… why is that robot touching that robot?’ That being said, it is ‘broadcast friendly’.

Wait a minute…

It would be a fair question for you to wonder why I didn’t mention the artwork of the albums. A couple of answers come to mind – remember my 25,000 word suggestion at the start of this article? Yeah, don’t want to get any closer to that than I have to. Secondly, the artwork is nice, but not great, and if I have to pick between nice and great work to show you, I’m going for great everytime. I wanted to show you her voice more than the visuals, and the film clips are an easier way of doing that than scans of her albums.

We’ve looked at two of Bjork’s earlier albums. The music, artwork and filmclips that come after the two spoken about is great work. Really great work. She continues to experiment and explore different ways of making sounds and music in such fantastic ways that no matter what kind of creative you are, it’ll make you feel slack for not putting more effort in trying something crazy without the fear of failure. I have no doubt that I’ll write a similar article about Dancer In The Dark & Vespertine or Medulla & Volta. But for now, find somewhere quiet and natural, where your senses can float through the leaves of tall trees, run along the soft grass on the ground and connect to nature, all while enjoying the blissful half-talking, half-singing treasures this mega-talent has given us.

A look at one of Bjork’s latest singles, Wanderlust – the full clip (in 3D if you have the glasses!) and a making of. This is a stunning creative achievement worth having a look at more than once.
Bjork’s homepage is bit of a rabbit’s hole.

DVDs available form Amazon
Greatest Hits (1993 – 2003)
A collection of the artist’s beautiful film clips and singles.
Live at Royal Opera House
A life show that has been described as a gorgeous, beautiful and lush concert – Bjork at her very best.