Björk, with a unique voice that creates a medley of the finest sounds to have ever graced the planet, does so with a creative mind truly like no other. The Icelandic singer-songwriter is always one step ahead of the curve and, on her 1993 debut LP, aptly titled Debut, she announced her greatness to the world.
The track ‘Human Behaviour’ stands out as a highlight among a flawless set of songs and, when the vocals are isolated, it somehow sounds even more remarkable. Having been a part of the music industry since the tender age of 11, Björk grew up within an intensely creative and unforgiving business. To be surrounded by the artists that have swirled around her own journey has affected her in a beautifully positive manner. Ever since she first gained international recognition as the lead singer of the alternative rock band the Sugarcubes, Björk has always kept moving and never dared rest on her laurels. Her shapeshifting career has made Björk one of the most dynamic artists to have ever graced the planet; she is much more than just a musician and continuously looks to push barriers within her work.
Her first two records, 1993’s Debut and the staggering follow-up, Post, released in 1995, cemented her status as a musical genius. These two records saw Björk win an army of ardent fans worldwide. David Byrne, who is among those to have fallen head over heels over the singer, once told Pitchfork: “Björk’s Debut and Post were mind-blowing records at the time—that somebody could use electronic beats and then do super innovative stuff with it,” he said.
“Then she continued doing things that explored lots of different other areas, with the Greenland Choir and with sounds made with the mouth. Once in awhile you see this amazing total artist, where you go, This person thinks about the stage, the shows, the costumes, the record covers, and the music, and it’s all part of a total thing,” Byrne added.
‘Human Behaviour’ is a beautiful example of her brilliance, when she announced herself with this record to the masses, nobody could quite believe how somebody was capable of having a voice quite like Björk’s. The track’s message is another way that the Icelandic singer looks outside of the box, with her stating that the track “is an animal’s point of view on humans and the animals are definitely supposed to win in the end.”
Björk continued: “So why, one might ask, is the conquering bear presented as a man-made toy? I don’t know. I guess I just didn’t think it would be fair to force an animal to act in a video. I mean, that would be an extension of what I’m against. I told him (Michel Gondry, the video’s director), ‘I want a bear and textures like handmade wood and leaves and earth, and I want it to seem like animation.’ Then I backed out.”
The singer also explained the poignant line in the song, “There’s definitely, definitely, definitely no logic to human behaviour” during a 2011 Q&A with The Guardian: “At the time I wrote it I was referring to my childhood and probably talking about how I felt more comfortable on my own walking outside singing and stuff than hanging out with humans. I experienced harmony with kids, the mountains and the ocean surrounding Reykjavik and animals I guess but found grown-ups rather chaotic and nonsensical.”
This isolated vocal is utterly remarkable and is a joy to behold. Although ‘Human Behaviour‘ is now almost 30-years old, hearing it through this new lens gives it a new breadth of emotion by just listening to Björk’s astounding naked vocals that are jaw-droppingly wondrous. Check it out, below.