Björk’s Debut is a varied album, full of character, mixing elements of classic house and trip hop with more mellow pop, featuring a range of brass, percussion, strings, and electronic instrumentation.
Percussion plays a key role in many of the songs, whether driving the song forward, like on Human Behaviour, or providing a backdrop for Björk’s excellent vocals, as on Aeroplane. Björk’s delivery ranges from the sweet, delicateness of Venus As A Boy to the powerful roar of Crying, to the cheeky whisper of There’s More To Life Than This, to the playful joy of Big Time Sensuality, sometimes all within a single song.
The first half of the record in particular features a lot of classic house, identifiable by its repetitive, dancey beat, bouncing piano or keyboard and the occasional bit of trumpet. The sound can be heard on songs such as Crying, Big Time Sensuality, Violently Happy and the quirky There’s More To Life Than This, during which Björk momentarily sneaks away from a party.
These classic house tunes are alternated with softer, slower tracks, often with a more romantic feel about them, as can be heard in Venus As A Boy and Like Someone In Love, in which Björk’s vocals are accompanied only by a harp.
The second half of the record features more of a relaxed trip hop feel to it, with songs like One Day and my highlight of the album, the wonderfully soothing Come To Me. In contrast, bonus track Play Dead carries a grander, darker, more serious weight to it, further explored in Björk’s later albums, in particular on Homogenic.
Despite all of this variation, the album is consistently strong and fits well as a whole. The pacing is good and allows Björk’s unique character to shine through.