A Personal History of Music, Day 25: “Bachelorette,” by Bjork

John Scalzi

One thing I have long admired about Bjork is how unapologetically weird she is, musically speaking (I don’t know how she is in her personal life, and it’s not my business anyway). The less ambitious version of her could have made a decent career out of being merely quirky, but nothing about Bjork could ever be described as “less ambitious.” And thus, a musical career that has ranged from, yes, quirky pop hits to entire albums done acapella, because that’s what Bjork wanted to do and who is going to argue with her, she’s Bjork.

There’s a lot to admire about Bjork’s entire discography, but the album I’ve connected to the most is Homogenic, and of all the songs there, “Bachelorette” is the one that stands out for me. Part of it is the lyrical imagery (any song that begins “I’m a fountain of blood/in the shape of a girl” is one that is trying for something different than your average pop hit), and part of it is the relentless thrum of the music itself. This song is going places and it’s taking you with it. Do you want to go where it’s taking you? It hardly matters, you’re going anyway.

I love it. I love that you have to take Bjork on her own terms; it seems doubtful to me she’s worried about having a hit single since the 90s at least. There’s something to be said about having to take the walk to wherever an artist is and appreciating them on their terms, not yours. And if you can’t or don’t, that’s fine! They’re going to do their thing no matter what. I don’t want everyone I listen to (or every creative person whose output I admire) to be this way. But I’m glad Bjork is like this. I honestly can’t imagine her any other way.

— JS

5 Comments on “A Personal History of Music, Day 25: “Bachelorette,” by Bjork”

  1. Saw her first band, The Sugarcubes, open for U2 and Public Enemy at the old Mile High Stadium in Denver back in the day. Weird lineup but had not heard her before and her band was very much the highlight for me. Raced as soon as possible next day to local record store to pick up Sugarcubes album. So awesome.

  2. I frickin’ love Bjork. One of the defining artists of my ’90s musical experience, and been making good, or at least interesting, music ever since.

  3. …but that was the first time I ever saw that video –
    Such a weird meta-narrative story in a story mini-movie — and all about storytelling!
    Cool in and of itself, but I can’t see how it relates to the lyrics.

%d bloggers like this: