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Greatest Hits by Björk

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Reviewed on 1st November 2002.


Greatest Hits

By Björk

In a time before you were born, dearly beloved, an Icelandic child called Björk joined a punk band called KUKL. When the band broke up she cried for a week. Some friends tried to console her, and together they formed a band called the Sugarcubes. The Sugarcubes travelled all over the world and became famous and quite good. Because the world was full of dull people in those far off and distant days the Sugarcubes were known as "alternative" by which people meant "not very easy to listen to when you're working in a call centre". An old man in London, who is still known as John Peel, enjoyed the Sugarcubes and he played Sugarcubes records on his wireless programme. Perhaps that didn't help much, because John Peel didn't enjoy call centre work either.

It wasn't long before Björk grew up and became a lady with her own name and her own records. She was a clever and musical person w ho made friends with artists and musicians of all kinds. She forgot about the world of childhood and stopped using all its baby names. "Punk" and "Alternative" got left behind and she made songs with the Brodski String Quartet and some other famous and clever people who liked her tunes. She sold lots more of her recordings. Some people still thought she was Alternative, but they started to call her "Weird". This helped them to hide their confusion and lack of understanding.

As time went by, two new generations of children grew up, thinking that Punk and Alternative were good ideas because it was easier to l earn how to play like that. Alternative was quite a long word and difficult to remember, so they started saying" Indie" instead. They thought Björk was odd, but that was because they were young and hadn't learned much.

One day Björk went into her attic and found twenty years worth of recordings and videos and manuscripts. "Goodness!" she thought "time for a clear out". So she spent nearly a year rummaging around and tidying it up. She put together a Boxed Set with some very groovy stuff like the early Punk material and later live sessions with the quartet. "Somebody will be able to afford all this" she thought. But because she was kind, and remembered what it was like to be 15 and to have no pocket money, she asked lots of people what their favourite Björk recordings were. She put 15 of them onto one CD that could be sold as "Greatest Hits" by Björk, which was a sensible name.

Songs from 1993 like "Big Time Sensuality" and "Venus as a Boy" were included, along with later tunes like 2001's "All is Full of Love". In some cases different mixes were included, to make the Collector People happy. It was a very good CD indeed. If you listen to it now, you can have lots of fun noticing the fashions for different synth noises and midi patches coming and going, as you try to remember which other Famous Artists had used them when the were Box Fresh. And guess what? None of them sound dated or sad.

The other thing you will notice, dearly beloved, is how much care Björk has always taken to be Musical and not Weird. The album will make you think that some of the sad people who cover their own ignorance by calling her Strange have not really been listening. I think they might have been looking at her face and being puzzled because she doesn't look like Shania Twain. If she looked like Shania Twain, I think, they might have listened to her songs more closely. Some television people with a satirical puppet show once made a puppet of her that they also used when they wanted to have Andrew Lloyd Webber in a sketch. That probably didn't help.

Her Web site is huge, comprehensive and full of great stuff all about the new collection.



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