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Björk: Greatest Hits

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Album Review

Björk closed out her first decade as a solo artist with the retrospective Björk's Greatest Hits. Despite its somewhat pedestrian title and approach (especially considering some of her intricate import collections and box sets) she still managed to find a way to put a twist on the collection: she let her fans vote for which songs they wanted included on the track listing. Overall, they did a pretty good job; with the notable exception of "It's Oh So Quiet" — which is probably her biggest single — the collection touches on most of the biggest songs from each of her albums. The album puts most of its focus on the middle portion of her career to date, culling four tracks each from Post and Homogenic, but still makes room for old favorites such as Debut's "Venus as a Boy" and "Human Behaviour," as well as newer singles such as Vespertine's "Pagan Poetry" and "Hidden Place." One minor disappointment is the lack of any songs from her excellent Dancer in the Dark soundtrack, though the greatest-hits disc that appears in the Family Tree box set, which Björk herself compiled, includes that album's "Scatterheart" and "I've Seen It All" (as well as other great album tracks from her career, such as "Unravel" and "You've Been Flirting Again"). However, the inclusion of the somewhat hard-to-find "Play Dead" — which appeared on the Young Americans soundtrack and was previously available most easily on a Japanese single — and a new track, the lovely "It's in Our Hands," help compensate for the omissions about which fans could potentially complain. Arguably, since Björk isn't really an artist who lives and dies by the charts, virtually any of her songs could be considered fair game for inclusion on a collection like this; her body of work is so consistently strong that her album tracks are almost always as interesting (if not more so) as the songs that are deemed to be singles. And indeed, Björk's Greatest Hits does fulfill one of the main goals of a greatest-hits collection: it presents the many different sides of her sound, from playful to bittersweet to experimental, making it a good introduction to those unfamiliar with her music and a convenient collection for her fans. Die-hard Björk fans might want a domestically available B-sides or rarities collection instead, but Björk's Greatest Hits is quite possibly the first step in that direction — and a nice way to celebrate the beginning of another decade's worth of her innovative music.

Biography

Born: 21 November 1965 in Reykjavik, Iceland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Björk first came to prominence as one of the lead vocalists of the avant pop Icelandic sextet the Sugarcubes, but when she launched a solo career after the group's 1992 demise, she quickly eclipsed her old band's popularity. Instead of following in the Sugarcubes' arty guitar rock pretensions, Björk immersed herself in dance and club culture, working with many of the biggest names in the genre, including Nellee Hooper, Underworld, and Tricky. Debut, her first solo effort (except for an Icelandic-only...
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