Song Of The Week: “Human Behaviour” by Björk

Iceland.

Here are the few random facts I know about Iceland:

  • the US and Russia held a Cold War summit meeting in the capital city of Reykjavik in 1986
  • it contains the most golf courses per capita of any country in the world
  • you can’t hit a golf ball there without landing it near an active volcano
  • and it’s the home of Björk, Iceland’s most famous export since….well, whatever else it is they export

Growing up in Reykjavik, Björk was something of a child prodigy, enrolling in music school at the age of 6 to study classical piano and flute. At age 11, her teachers sent a tape of her singing a song called “I Love To Love” to Iceland’s only radio station which led to a recording contract and the release of her debut album in 1977. “I Love To Love” made the Top 20 in Iceland and Björk was offered the chance to record a second album, but instead bought a piano and began composing songs.

Over the next 15 years, Björk showed off her eclecticism in a number of musical outfits, from punk to jazz to goth, but found her greatest success with the alternative rock band, The Sugarcubes, the first group to break out of Iceland and garner worldwide attention with numerous hits on the US and UK indie charts. When The Sugarcubes dissolved in 1992, Björk decided to record her first adult solo album and marked this creative rebirth by titling the album Debut.

The opening track on Debut was a song Björk composed as a teenager but never offered to her other bands because she felt it wouldn’t have fit in stylistically. Inspired by watching nature documentaries as a child, and her own preference for walking alone in the woods rather than interacting with people, “Human Behaviour” serves up an animal’s perspective about those crazy and confusing Homo sapiens. Happy one minute, sad the next. Pulling you in, then pushing you away. And yet, capable of such magical moments. A perplexing population, indeed, these humans.

Released as the first single of her new solo career in the summer of 1993, “Human Behaviour” received widespread attention and went into heavy rotation on MTV, giving Björk her first US hit and providing a foundation for worldwide success.

So don’t try to understand, because there’s definitely, definitely, definitely no logic. Just open your ears and take a walk in the woods … with Björk.

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