Debut – Björk (1993)
I’ve written a few times before about this album, but I’ve never bettered what I said over on the old blog in October 2009, which I was later able to salvage and re-post on T(n)VV in October 2016. As it’s almost another seven years on, I’m going to re-post with just an occasional edit to cut down the number of words.
Debut is something that I first heard snippets of in a record shop while browsing. Being familiar with Sugarcubes, I recognised that Björk 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 a 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 – i.e. 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 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).
Thirty years on and it has not dated one bit whatsoever. It still makes me smile, makes me dance, and every now and again stops me in my tracks and makes me think about loved ones present and past.
It’s a truly remarkable piece of work.
It’s was an album that was a slow-burner, spending ages in the UK charts, but never getting any higher than #3. Four singles were taken from it, and, in a strange reversal from the norm, they reached progressively higher chart positions. Human Behaviour got to #36 in June 1993. Venus As A Boy reached #29 in August, while Big Time Sensuality climbed to #17 on its release in November. However, in March 1994, Violently Happy launched its way to #13.
If you don’t own this record, do something about it.
mp3: Björk – Come To Me
7 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #48”
An album my partner and I bonded over. Glad to see it make the cut.
Was hoping this would feature. A definitive album for me too. I met my wife dancing to Big Time Sensuality.
For me Bjork album holding this place is Homogenic, but it would be a hard hard choice between that, this, and Vespertine.
It needs to be said, and you alluded to it, Nellee Hooper’s work on this is outstanding, the production, instruments and arrangements are superb. The playfulness too, especially the bit in There’s More To Life Than This recorded live at the Milk Bar where she runs down to the toilets to sing and then comes out- equal to anything the great studio pioneers did.
One of my faves as well. One of the few vinyl albums where we have two copies in the house, mine and Mrs S’s. Listened to this on Spotify recently and was surprised to see the single Play Dead on there, although I think it had actually been included on the CD release since late ‘93.
Big Time Sensuality is one of the most joyful videos ever. It was only just, as in whilst jotting down this comment, that it dawned on me that I had spent the Summer / Autumn of 93 working in New York where Bjork filmed the video at this time.
Agree, and that all-time great line in it on the pure pleasure on getting lost in the music: “I don’t know my future after this weekend, and I don’t want to”! For interest, while you can’t beat the originals, I really enjoy this version of the album too – https://bjork.bandcamp.com/album/debut-live