.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/03847f0a70b4b384c3e39f37e88885430f034a76.jpg Debut

Bjork

Debut

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 2 0
September 2, 1993

Months before the Sugar Cubes' first album debuted in the United States, a heavy buzz began to circulate about the group's lead singer, Björk. It was weird enough that the group hailed from Iceland, but Björk's eerie yelps, shrieks, girlish whispers and leather-lunged vocal acrobatics transported the band into another head space entirely. The word invariably used to describe Björk's synapse-bending vocals was feral. Songs such as "Motorcrash" and "Delicious Demon" were supercharged tours de force.

In concert, however, two things became abundantly clear about the Sugar Cubes: First, Björk could deliver the goods; second, the Sugar Cubes' stage act seemed dangerously close to bad performance art. On two subsequent albums, the Cubes abandoned their blunt rock attack for a trendy Euro-dance sound. Björk's vocals were lost amid the electronic clatter. People wondered if it wasn't time for Björk to light out on her own.

She did, and Debut is the utterly disappointing result. Rather than sticking to rock & roll, Debut is painfully eclectic. On "Come to Me" and "Venus as a Boy" Björk adds not just a string section but an entire orchestra from India. It's more intrusive than galvanizing. Likewise, on the jazz standard "Like Someone in Love," Björk is accompanied by a harp — not the kind Little Walter played. Only on the opening track, "Human Behavior," do we get a glimmer of what the fuss was all about.

Producer Nellee Hooper (Sin&233;ad O'Connor, Soul II Soul) has sabotaged a ferociously iconoclastic talent with a phalanx of cheap electronic gimmickry. Björk's singular skills cry out for genuine band chemistry, and instead she gets Hooper's Euro art-school schlock — and we do, too.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Money For Nothing”

    Dire Straits | 1984

    Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com