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Friday 24 November 2023

You're On Your Own Now

1995's Top Of The Pops repeats continue to reward, frustrate and amuse in equal parts. This recent clip was definitely in the reward section. April, 1995, Bjork singing Army Of Me, a piledriving and huge sounding song with Ms Gudmundsdottir issuing stern words to a boyfriend. In the clip she looks extraordinary, standing on the very lip of the stage, the audience visibly shrinking back slightly in her presence, dressed in an enormous black, floor length puffball skirt and a Ren And Stimpy t- shirt. 

Army Of Me was a single from her second solo album, 1995's Post. Co- written by Graham Massey, it is led by a weather system of a bassline, one that could have been borrowed from the heaviest metal song and then slowed down and made louder. Bjork issues instructions - 'stand up/ You've got to manage/ You're alright/ There's nothing wrong/ Self sufficiency please'. Futuristic modern dance/ rock and streets ahead of the rest of the pack. In classic random Top of The Pops style, they go straight from Bjork to Deuce, a shockingly identikit two boy two girl Europop foursome who finished third in the race to represent the UK at Eurovision. Watching the episode segue from Bjork's otherworldly and electrifying performance to Deuce is one of those moments where you just have to shake your head and applaud the brain scrambling quirks of mid 90s pop television. 

Army Of Me

Two weeks later she was back with Skunk Anansie for a different version of the song, an episode presented by a very cool looking Whigfield, with a version that is furiously mid- 90s industrial rock, Skin and Bjork giving it all and singing live. 

The Skunk Anansie version came out on CD2 back when record companies released multiple versions across multiple releases. This was one where both CDs were packed full of goodies.  

Army Of Me (feat. Skunk Anansie)

The CD single also included Graham Massey's Masseymix which distorts everything further, slows the pitch down and chops it up, a total deconstruction job. 

Army Of Me (Masseymix)

In honour of Bjork's t- shirt in the first Army Of Me performance, here's some classic Ren and Stimpy, Space Madness, with Ren losing his mind. Again. 


TheRobster said...

What a contrast between the two clips. Bjork really sings within herself in the first one, but in the second she really lets rip as we know she can do so well. And is it just me who finds 'Goth Bjork' in the second clip even more cute than 'normal' Bjork? I'm swooning here...

Swiss Adam said...

I'm with you there Robster... but a girl in a Ren and Stimpy t- shirt...