Earth Intruders

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"Earth Intruders"
Single by Björk
from the album Volta
Released April 9, 2007 (Digital single)
Format Digital download, Box set
Genre Tribal house, alternative dance[1][2]
Length 6:13 (Album version)
3:18 (Single version)
4:26 (Mark Stent's Extended Edit)
Label One Little Indian/Atlantic
Writer(s) Björk
Timothy Mosley
Nate Hills
Producer(s) Björk
Timbaland
Danja
Björk singles chronology
"Triumph of a Heart"
(2005)
"Earth Intruders"
(2007)
"Innocence"
(2007)

"Earth Intruders" is a song written and recorded by Icelandic singer Björk. The song was released as the first single from her seventh full-length studio album, Volta. The single was released digitally in the USA on 9 April and 21 April 2007 and in Europe on 28 April 2007.[3][4][5] It is produced by R&B record producer Timbaland and his protégé Danja.[6] The single was released in a physical box set on 4 February 2008. Due to high digital download sales, it remains Björk's highest charting single in the United States to date. Congolese group Konono Nº1 play electric likembes on the song.

Background[edit]

The first mention of "Earth Intruders" as a song title was made on allaccess.com on March 10, 2007,[7] and was later confirmed as the lead single through an article in The Guardian on March 11, 2007.[8] On March 26, 2007, a distorted sample of the song was uploaded to the YouTube video sharing website as part of the viral marketing campaign for the Volta album.[9][10] A fifteen second sample of the track then appeared on the Rhino Records online ringtone website on April 1, 2007.[11][12] The purchased ringtone featured a different clip (with different lyrics) to the one used in the online preview on the site; both audio samples were subsequently spread across music forums.[13] On April 3, 2007 it was reported that the Björk section of the Rhino Records online ringtone store had been removed.[14] After a broadcast of the song on the internet radio station WOXY on April 6, 2007 the song was made widely available across file-sharing networks.[15]

On April 7, 2007, the "Mark Stent Extended Edit" was released on the Australian iTunes Store; most other iTunes Stores made the single available on April 9, the official release date of the digital single.[16] The album version of Earth Intruders (which differs from the iTunes Store version both in terms of mixing and track length) was leaked to the internet on April 24, 2007 due to the full album being made available accidentally on the UK iTunes Store on April 23, 2007 for a total of six hours, two weeks before the album's official release date.[17]

In an interview on mtv.com Björk talked about the background of the song.[18]

The song "Earth Intruders," in particular, was sculpted soon after Björk awoke from a dream she had during a cross-Atlantic flight to New York. In the dream, the singer said a "tsunami of millions and millions of poverty-stricken people" swelled high above the airplane she was a passenger on. Eventually, the wave overtook the plane, hit land and razed the White House into oblivion. "It's a quite chaotic song," she said of Volta's first single. "Lyrically, it's a collection of all of these images" burned into her memory, from her trip to Indonesia as well as her vivid, in-flight reverie."

Critical reception[edit]

"Earth Intruders" got favourable reception by music critics. Drowned in Sound reviewer Mike Diver gave the song 9/10, praising it as "immediately catchy, compellingly left of centre, and undeniably unique".[19] Digital Spy reviewer Miriam Zendle cited "Earth Intruders" as returning to Björk's earlier commercial sound, comparing it to her more recent albums that were "incredibly difficult to grasp hold of".[20] Music website Popjustice called it the 80th greatest single of 2007.[21]

Music video[edit]

Screenshot from "Earth Intruders".

The music video for "Earth Intruders" was directed by Michel Ocelot and is his first for Björk, or indeed anyone else. It features Björk's face floating in the background, first upside down, then upright, singing with her eyes closed. In the foreground, a large group of silhouetted tribal warriors dance in time to the music. The video features psychedelic colours and patterns imposed on an earthy backdrop. The video ends with Björk's face slowly fading into the middle of a glade, her eyes being opened just as she sings the last lyric. Ocelot stated that Björk had originally wanted Kirikou (the child-hero of Ocelot's Kirikou and the Sorceress and Kirikou et les bêtes sauvages) to be featured as a 20 year-old in the video.[22][23] It was accomplished within strict time constraints through a combination of live-action, silhouette animation, 3D computer graphics, traditional animation, cut-outs and other special effects.[24] "Kirikou" was danced by Legrand Bemba-Debert in a costume made, based on Ocelot's ideas, by paper sculptor Anne-Lise Kœhler.[25]

An exclusive preview was shown during "Le Grand journal" show on French TV channel Canal+ on 17 April 2007.[26] The full video was made available in the iTunes Store on April 24, 2007.[27] It is also viewable on Björk's official MySpace page and included in letterboxed 576p "PAL" format on both the "Earth Intruders" and "Les Trésors cachés de Michel Ocelot" DVD-Videos and in 480-line, "NTSC" format in the Voltaïc box set. It was nominated for the 2007 Q Award for Best Video.[28]

Club Mixes EP[edit]

A digital-only "Earth Intruders – Club Mixes" EP was released on the iTunes Store in the US/UK on May 21, 2007. The European iTunes release contained only three of the original five tracks.[29] It is only the second time (the first being Play Dead) that an instrumental of a Björk track has been officially released. With this release, it was determined that "Earth Intruders" would have no physical release in any territory worldwide. Also, the Mark Stent mix was initially labelled as an "Extended Edit", but on May 23, 2007, was retitled to "Radio Edit"; the "xxxChange Mix" was retitled from the previous non-descriptive title "Earth Intruders Remix".[30]

  1. Mark Stent Radio Edit 4:26
  2. xxxchange Mix 4:38
  3. Lexx Remix 6:40
  4. Lexx Edit 4:05
  5. Mark Stent Radio Edit Instrumental 4:29

The European iTunes Store release omitted the tracks "Mark Stent Radio Edit" and "Lexx Edit."[29]

Limited edition release[edit]

A limited edition "multiformat" box set was released at the beginning of February 2008 with slightly different artwork. The box set consists of a sticker-sealed fold out box with five nesting boxes containing two 12" vinyl singles, a CD and a DVD in colored paper sleeves.

12-inch vinyl 1[edit]

Side A. "Earth Intruders" (xxxchange Remix)
Side B. "Earth Intruders" (Jimmy Douglas Mix)

12-inch vinyl 2[edit]

Side C. "Earth Intruders" (Lexx 12" Remix)
Side D. "Earth Intruders" (Mark Stent Mix)

CD[edit]

  1. "Earth Intruders" (Mark "Spike" Stent Mix)
  2. "Earth Intruders" (Jimmy Douglas Mix)
  3. "Earth Intruders" (Lexx Remix Radio Edit)
  4. "Earth Intruders" (xxxchange Remix)
  5. "Earth Intruders" (Lexx 12" Remix)

DVD[edit]

  1. "Earth Intruders" (Video directed by Michel Ocelot)

Performances[edit]

On April 21, 2007, a barefooted Björk appeared as musical guest on an episode of the U.S. comedy-variety show Saturday Night Live in promotion of the album. She performed the songs "Earth Intruders" and "Wanderlust."[31][32] On June 8, 2007 (recorded on June 5, 2007), Björk performed, along with her tour musicians, on the UK television show Later With Jools Holland for the fifth time in her solo career. She performed "Earth Intruders," "The Anchor Song," and "Declare Independence." Björk has also performed the song on every show of the worldwide Volta Tour, usually as the very first song played after she enters the stage. Björk's set at Glastonbury Festival was broadcast on BBC Four on 22 June 2007, with "Earth Intruders" being the first song of the concert.

Charts[edit]

"Earth Intruders" reached number 67 on the UK Official Download Chart, while the remix EP later released charted on its own at #150. In the United States, the song debuted on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 at number 84 in the issue dated April 28, 2007.[33] This is Björk's highest position on the U.S. Hot 100, the previous being "Big Time Sensuality" in 1993, which peaked at number 88. The single's very modest success on the U.S. charts has been mainly attributed to internet downloads; the single sold 16,000 downloads on the week of its release, propelling it to number 65 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Digital Tracks.[34] The song also peaked at number 75 on the U.S. Billboard Pop 100.[35]

Chart (2007) Peak
position
Belgium (Wallonia) 46
Belgium (Flanders) 48
French Download Chart 22
French Airplay Top 100[36] 90
French Top 100 Singles[37] 64
Greek Singles Chart[38] 18
Japan Hot 100[39] 7
UK Singles Chart 78
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[33] 84
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 75

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ranker. "Tribal house bands/artists". Retrieved 2011-07-31. 
  2. ^ Miss (February 2010). "Fashion Meets Music: Björk". Retrieved 2011-08-29. 
  3. ^ allaccess.com (2007). "All Access Music Group". Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  4. ^ fmqb.com (2007). "FMQB: Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!". Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  5. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - New Information on VOLTA!". Retrieved 2007-03-10. 
  6. ^ The Guardian (2007-03-11). "10 essential albums for spring". London. Retrieved 2007-03-11. 
  7. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - First Single from Volta: 'Earth Intruders' April 10th". Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  8. ^ observer.guardian.co.uk (2007-03-11). "10 essential albums for spring". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-08-15. 
  9. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - Possible slight leak on youtube?". Retrieved 2007-03-29. 
  10. ^ pitchforkmedia.com (2007). "Pitchfork: Bjork Trickling Out Volta Teasers". Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  11. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - Earth intruders ringtone!!!!!!!". Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  12. ^ "Rhino Ringtones". 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-01. 
  13. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - Earth intruders ringtone!!!!!!!". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  14. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - Earth intruders ringtone!!!!!!!". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  15. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "EARTH INTRUDERS 6PM Woxy.". Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  16. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "Earth Intruders (Mark Stent Extended Edit)". Retrieved 2007-04-07. 
  17. ^ MacWorld.co.uk (2007). "iTunes UK blunders with Bjork - iPod/iTunes - Macworld UK". Retrieved 2007-04-28. 
  18. ^ mtv.com (2007). "MTV News – Tsunami, Timbaland Help Shape Bjork's Forthcoming Volta". Retrieved 2007-03-14. 
  19. ^ drownedinsound.com (2007). "Drowned in Sound - Reviews - Singles - Björk - Earth Intruders". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  20. ^ digitalspy.co.uk (2007). "Music - Singles Reviews - Bjork: 'Earth Intruders' - Digital Spy". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  21. ^ popjustice.com (2007). "Popjustice - The Greatest Singles of 2007". Retrieved 2008-02-05. 
  22. ^ ansa.it (2007). "(page unavailable at time of citation)". Retrieved 2007-04-03. [dead link]
  23. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - Earth Intruders video directed by…". Retrieved 2007-04-03. 
  24. ^ Lugt, Peter van der (2008-08-25). "This is animation". GhibliWorld.com. Retrieved 2008-10-20. 
  25. ^ Kœhler, Anne-Lise (26 May 2010). "Animation works, cinéma d'animation". Anne-Lise Kœhler, sculptures et cinéma's Photos (in French). Facebook. Retrieved 2 September 2010. 
  26. ^ "Le clip "Earth Intruders" disponible en streaming" (in French). bjork.fr. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  27. ^ "Earth Intruders". Björk.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-17. 
  28. ^ bjork.com (2007). "Dazed&Confused + Q Award Nomination". Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  29. ^ a b 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - Earth Intruders Club Mixes (5 track EP, May 21/28)". Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  30. ^ 4um.bjork.com (2007). "bjork.com/\/\unity - Earth Intruders Club Mixes (5 track EP, May 21/28)". Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  31. ^ http://www.culturebully.com/archives/3117
  32. ^ Damien Mulley » Blog Archive » Bjork on Saturday Night Live April 2007
  33. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (2009). Top Pop Singles. Memomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-89820-180-2. Retrieved 2010-12-07. 
  34. ^ billboard.com (2007). "Bjork's New Blend". Archived from the original on 2007-06-15. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  35. ^ billboard.com (2007). "Top Music Charts - Hot 100 - Billboard 200 - Music Genre Sales". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  36. ^ France Airplay TOP 100 - 22/04/2007
  37. ^ Steffen Hung. "Björk - Earth Intruders". lescharts.com. Retrieved 2012-02-14. 
  38. ^ Greek IFPI Singles Chart
  39. ^ Bjork Earth Intruders @ Top40-Charts.com - 40 Top 20 & Top 40 Music Charts from 25 Countries