Bjork - Greatest Hits

When Debbie Harry said ""the only people left with anything to say in rock are women and gays."" there's no denying that what she was saying had hit the point right on the head. The music industry is an industry dominated by a few insecure men and it's a policy which trickles down to the point where the actual artists themselves are a reflection of a few closed minds at the top of an office tower. If you just pause for a moment and think of any straight male band currently hyped as the "best new band in Peterborough" or "the hottest thing to come out of Aldershot" and then consider if they are offering anything new to music the answer will almost always be no. In fact the only man in music I genuinely consider to be offering something completely new to the music industry is german techno rocker Alec Empire who actually collaborated with Bjork several years ago for a one off EP.

When you consider that someone as talented as Bjork has had to fight through all this to get the respect she deserves it's testament to her will power and her desire to succeed. With most bands releasing Greatest Hits albums after 3 years. it seems that a collection of Bjorks finest tunes couldn't be more appropriate after a solo career spanning over 10 years and four albums. The fact that the album has been compiled with the input of her fans via a web pole has gone on to ensure that it's a full representation of Bjork as an artist rather than a compilation of her biggest selling singles and therefore tracks such as  "It's So Quiet" are noticeable by there absence.

Just listening to a song like "Venus As A Boy" it's easy to see why Bjork is universally respected by fans and critics alike. On the face of it a simple lullaby, yet look at the instrumentation which takes on indian strings over a decade before Bollywood was the word du jour. Likewise, "Play Dead" has a wide screen cinematic quality bringing in Bjorks love of classical music which pervades throughout her whole repertoire. On other songs such as "Hunter" and Hidden Place" it easy to see why Bjork never once retreated into a career of easy listening symphonies with her love of beats and tribal rhythms aided by her collaborators over the years such as 808 states Graham Massey and producers Guy Sigsworth and Mark Bell.

Offering us the token one extra track in "It's In Our Hands" which samples from To Rococco Rot's "Die Dinge Des Lebens" it seems that Bjork is still as experimental as ever. "Bjorks Greatest Hits" sums up as well as one 15 Track record could sum up such an inventive artist and is well worth it, but if you're after the complete Bjork there is also the "Family Tree" box set featuring 6 CDs from her whole career.

Alex McCann

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