Sunday Singalong: Björk

Björk possesses a soprano vocal range, apparently. She released her first solo album at the age of 11. But we all got to know her in Australia when she was in The Sugarcubes, which was pretty much the first Icelandic band to get popular success. And then she went off and had her solo career for the last twenty years and she has been this incredibly prolific and eclectic singer-songwriter and composer ever since. She’s won a bunch of awards, including for her acting work in that (dreadful) film, Dancer in the Dark. Björk is hugely talented and one of the few women in the very sexist music business to have been held in high regard pretty much the entire time and without any perceivable compromises on her part.

But never mind that, the woman also writes great sex from a woman’s perspective. Like, “Venus As A Boy” and “Cocoon”. For the Sunday Singalong I chose “Big Time Sensuality”. She’s also written some lovely songs about other things, like not apologising, with “Army of Me” and then “It’s Oh So Quiet”  and “Bachelorette” about the havoc lovers wreak in your life as you fall in and out of love with them.

Björk says she found feminism unexpectedly when she became the mother of a daughter:

‘It’s interesting for me to bring up a girl. You go to the toy store and the female characters there – Cinderella, the lady in Beauty and the Beast – their major task is to find Prince Charming. And I’m like, wait a minute – it’s 2005! We’ve fought so hard to have a say, and not just live through our partners, and yet you’re still seeing two-year-old girls with this message pushed at them that the only important thing is to find this amazing dress so that the guy will want you. It’s something my mum pointed out to me when I was little – so much that I almost threw up – but she’s right.’

She’s open about the problems of balancing family and work. ‘It’s incredible how nature sets females up to take care of people, and yet it is tricky for them to take care of themselves.’ Slightly to her astonishment she is becoming interested in women’s rights. Because of her mother’s own militancy – ‘she wouldn’t enter the kitchen, I mean come on’ – she reacted the other way, adoring housework, knitting and sewing.

But recently, ‘I have been noticing how much harder it is for me and my girlfriends to juggle things than it is for men. In the 1990s, there was a lot of optimism: we thought we’d finally sorted out equal rights for men and women … and then suddenly it just crashed. I think this is my first time in all the hundreds of interviews I’ve done, that I’ve actually jumped on the feminist bandwagon. In the past I always wanted to change the subject. But I think now it’s time to bring up all these issues. I wish it wasn’t, but I’ll do it, I’m up for doing the dirty work!’

Here’s the clip, which I chose mostly for how great it looks when you drive through New York on the back of a flat-bed truck.

Big Time Sensuality

I can sense it
something important
is about to happen
it’s coming up

it takes courage to enjoy it
the hardcore and the gentle
big time sensuality

we just met
and I know I’m a bit too intimate
but something huge is coming up
and we’re both included

it takes courage to enjoy it
the hardcore and the gentle
big time sensuality

I don’t know my future after this weekend
and I don’t want to

it takes courage to enjoy it
the hardcore and the gentle
big time sensuality




Categories: arts & entertainment, fun & hobbies, gender & feminism, parenting, relationships, work and family


1 reply

  1. Loving the photo you chose for the frontpage thumb!
    Thanks for the interview quote – it is quite fascinating what we as daughters choose to emulate and reject from our mothers, and then the disheartening discovery that equal rights for men and women is still really hard to balance once children come into the equation (largely because of what you wrote in the previous post, about how capitalism depends upon the UNPAID caring work of women, so it’s rigidly institutionally difficult to carve out an egalitarian work/family balance).

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