Much like Neko Case a few days ago, some may contest Björk’s inclusion in Women-Who-Rocktober on the grounds that her music is more pop and electronica than rock. Sure, from a certain perspective – ignore what I’ve been saying about rock being a state of mind – that is true, but is surely also a rather myopic view when you take into account the depth and breadth of her career, to say nothing of her idiosyncratic, and constantly shifting, style – both musically and sartorially. With Björk it’s difficult to know exactly where to start, leaving the beginning – how surprising – as the easiest jumping off point.
Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, Björk became involved in music from a young age, studying classical piano and flute at the age of 6. By the age of 12, she had her first album, Björk, released – 16 years before her solo album, Debut. In her teens Björk formed an all girl punk band called Spit and Snot, and soon was experimenting with jazz-fusion. In 1986 she would become one of the founding members of alternative-rock outift, The Sugarcubes, the band that would bring her international attention prior to her career as a solo artist.
Since making the move to being a solo act in 1993, Björk has accrued critical acclaim with her musical experimentation – with reams of analysis and discussion being published examining her audio-visual output. Björk’s musical influence extends well beyond the electro-pop sphere she dominates and astounds, with Mike Einziger of Incubus admitting to being infatuated with her voice and displaying a sticker of Bjork on his PRS guitar, and Queens of the Stone-Age stating in the credits to Rated R that the chorus to Better Living Through Chemistry was inspired by her.
While Björk’s avant-garde stylings – such as with the a cappella driven album, Medúlla – mighn’t appeal to all, and indeed her morphing sound and image has been prone to startling and alienating the listening public over the years, it cannot be doubted that she is a unique artist, without whom the contemporary music scene would be noticeably bleaker. Love or hate her music, Björk has continually proven herself to be one of the Women-Who-Rocktober.