Björk’s “Debut” (1993)

(Originally Published July 24th 2012)

Björk is a strange musician, that’s the first thing I knew about her, and that’s the first thing I’ll tell you about her. The second would be that she is an amazing, talented musician. So by no surprise, her 1993 “Debut” is both strange and wonderful.

The Wonderful: “Venus As A Boy” &  “Like Someone In Love” : these two tracks are masterpieces, works that embrace the tones of oldschool love songs and manage to sound like works of their own era.The Fun: “Human Behaviour” & “Big Time Sensuality” : tracks where Björk’s signature twist on punctuation and “growl” really shine, generally upbeat if not unsettling at times, and an assembly of instruments and sounds that speak to the style of the decade.The Strange: “There’s More To Life Than This”. After three unsettling yet fun and beautiful songs, this live track just invites itself onto the album. It’s closer to house music than anything on the album prior to, and after it. During the middle of the song the live track fades out, and Björk starts to sing to us – and then the live track fades back in and – what is even happening?

“Debut” feels like an album of two types of songs – either the song is very minimalist; just a few instruments to accompany Björk’s voice – or on the other side of the coin, you have songs where Björk’s voice is accompanied by loads of synths, catchy bass guitars, drum machines – crowded songs. Not to say that the crowded songs are bad – but I prefer the minimalist.

Songs like “Human Behaviour” and “Big Time Sensuality” are fun, but I prefer songs like “Venus As A Boy” & “Like Someone I Love” – songs where Björk’s voice can shine almost on its own. That “Debut” allows Björk to be both fun and wonderful – and let’s not forget strange – is a blessing, because the album is all the better and unique for it.

But “There’s More To Life Than This” still stands out like a sore thumb.


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