By Drew Ailes
By Courtney Harrell
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By Tom Murphy
Bjork thought so, too. "I used to be very unselfish from the age of, say, eleven to twenty-seven. I used to do things for a lot of people, to help them serve their visions and make true what was in their heads. But when I turned twenty-seven, I decided to be very selfish and do exactly what I want to do."
After leaving the Sugarcubes in 1993, the obvious next step was a solo album, but Bjork reveals, "I hated the album that I did when I was eleven so much that I promised myself that I would never do that again. But then I realized it was something I had to do, or else I was a coward. I couldn't really escape from it." For Debut, then, Bjork says, "I collected all the songs that I'd written in the last fifteen years; it was, like, the greatest hits that nobody had heard except me. So it was about me being into brass music when I was fourteen and Stockhausen when I was sixteen and disco music when I was eighteen."
To put it mildly, the material on Debut zipped from one side of the musical map to the other. Dance tracks, experimental tracks, uncategorizable tracks--the CD had them all, jamming them together without the slightest attempt at transition. Some reviewers rapped Debut for these jarring qualities, but Bjork views this eclecticism as one of the disc's strengths. "I think pop music should represent all the situations in real life that every person experiences," she states, "including waking up, being scruffy in the morning, not being ready for work, being overexcited, being sad, crashing your car, having no money for food, having a boring sister-in-law, being interested in the postman, having three children--I don't know, I'm just making this up. But in a way, the record celebrated the unpredictability of life.
"You won't know how you're going to feel at ten o'clock tomorrow, and I quite like that. And I quite like going dancing in a club until three o'clock in the morning, getting really sweaty and then coming out and it's an entirely different atmosphere. There's no such thing as a person's week being completely stylish and fade in, fade out, you know. Life isn't like that. You may be madly in love and kissing someone in your bed, and the phone rings and it's your mom, and she wants to talk about washing machines. And that would be fine with me, becaue I'm very anti-control. I trust life and all of the little surprises it offers in a day."
Similar logic fuels the makeup of this year's Bjork declaration, Post, yet her growing confidence gives it a more unified feel than Debut. She somehow makes the leap from the big-band sounds of "It's Oh So Quiet" to the modern-dance mastery of "Enjoy" (co-written with British trip-hopper Tricky, with whom she's been linked romantically) without stumbling. Post hasn't made the commercial splash of Debut, but this shortfall doesn't bother Bjork. "I can't really moan," she admits. "I'm in a position where some of my favorite people on the planet are helping me get out all the things that have been spinning in my head all my life and put them straight on vinyl. It's too good to be true, really."
Equally satisfying to Bjork is her relationship with her nine-year-old son, Sindri, fathered by ex-Sugarcube Eldon. She momentarily drops her perky exterior when she mentions that the lad won't be joining her during her upcoming tour--"It was tough, it was pretty hardcore to leave him," she allows--but even this situation doesn't faze her for long. "I'm going to Asia for two months in February, and he's coming with me then," she burbles. "It's not going to be a problem with his school, because he can do his homework on the Internet. Also, he's a tough cookie. I went on tour with him when he was one year old, and I was prepared to go on home with him the next day if he couldn't handle it. And he was like, `Woooo! Woooo!' I toured with him for six years, and he flourished in fucking airports."
Like son, like mother. "I was brought up here by my grandfather today--he's 74," Bjork notes as the snow continues to swirl. "And he got here. The snow didn't stop him, and it's an hour's drive from my house. He basically thinks pilots are sissies, but I can see both points of view, to be honest. I was never a good driver and would probably make an awful pilot. But it would be very interesting to try."
Bjork, with Goldie. 8 p.m. Tuesday, November 7, Paramount Theatre, 1631 Glenarm Place, $22, 830-TIXS or 534-8336.