Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Exitfare Videography: Bjork

Remember those days when MTV actually played videos?

I do, and it was pretty awesome sacrificing sleep to stay up late Sunday nights to watch every last second of 120 Minutes. Sure, now I can fire up Youtube and watch almost any video ever, but it's not the same. Part of the excitement of MTV in its heyday was staying up late and not knowing what video you'd see. You'd know and expect to see the big names when they had new albums out, like Sonic Youth, Jawbox or Blur.

MTV2 has a sorry excuse for a new video show (Subterranean) and there are a ton of other outlines to check out new stuff, like Music Choice or On Demand, but the spontaneity is not there and that really sucks.

In honor of me missing my favorite video outlets of the past, I am going to put together these collections every week or so -- or at least that's my intent. Bjork is a great place to start because she has an expansive collection of work that is completely unlike anything else out there. Most of her videos are brilliant visual displays that are made for repeated views and he choice of directors is always spot on. Sure, there was a clunker here or there ("Violently Happy" for one), but more often than not, what she does in a three to four minute clip is often more mind-blowing than many movies.

"Human Behaviour"

Her first solo album (Debut) came out in '93, which gave us one of her most iconic works, "Human Behaviour." It was a track that made its way into regular rotation on MTV and preceded clips for "Venus as a Boy," "Play Dead," Big Time Sensuality" and the aforementioned "Violently Happy." In '95, Post brought about the decidedly more rock "Army of Me," "Isobel," the Spike Jonze-directed "It's Oh So Quiet," which was played ad nauseam (but for good reason), "Possibly Maybe" and the stunning "Hyperballad," which remains one of my favorite songs and videos to this day. The remix album Telegram dropped in '96 which brought about the video for "I Miss You."


To this day, the videos from Homogenic remain my favorite because they pair some of her best visual imagery with her absolute best musical work to date. "Joga" works because it illustrates its point in the simplest way possible, with a camera gliding over the Icelandic landscape. The other clips from this record were just as innovative from the bald Bjork in "Hunter" to the deft storytelling in "Bachelorette" to the robots falling in love in "All is Full of Love."

"All is Full of Love"

It took four years for a proper follow-up, but the work from Vespertine was some of her best yet, highlighted best by the clip for "Pagan Poetry." With Medulla, she produced three clips, including "Triumph of a Heart" which makes me laugh every time I see it. This year's Volta sees Bjork up to her old tricks with three excellent videos -- "Earth Intruders," "Innocence" and "Wanderlust."

[Myspace] Bjork
[Video] Debut: "Venus as a Boy"
[Video] Post: "It's Oh So Quiet" & "Isobel"
[Video] Homogenic: "Joga" & "Bachelorette"
[Video] Vespertine: "Pagan Poetry"
[Video] Medulla: "Triumph of a Heart"
[Video] Volta: "Earth Intruders"


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