Post (Björk album)
|Studio album by Björk|
|Released||13 June 1995|
|Recorded||1994 – April 1995
Compass Point Studios, Bahamas
|Genre||Alternative, trip-hop, electronica, industrial|
|Length||46:10 (international editions), 50:55 (Japanese editions)|
|Label||One Little Indian|
|Producer||Björk, Nellee Hooper, Graham Massey, Tricky, Howie B, Marius de Vries|
|Singles from Post|
Post is the third studio album by Icelandic singer-songwriter and musician Björk, released in June 1995. Met with critical and commercial success, Post built on the electronic-pop of previous release Debut and flirted with various other musical styles including big band and trip hop, and featured numerous producers. Post went on to be certified Platinum in various regions including the UK, USA, Canada, Europe and Australia, and produced three UK Top 10 singles.
- 1 Title
- 2 Musical style
- 3 Critical reception
- 4 Single releases
- 5 Promotion and tour
- 6 Artwork
- 7 Formats
- 8 Related releases
- 9 Track listing
- 10 Charts and certifications
- 11 Personnel
- 12 References
- 13 External links
Björk named the album Post for two reasons. First, she saw Debut and Post as a series; the songs on Debut were written before her move to England, while the songs on Post were written after moving to England and dealt with her experiences there. Second, she saw the album as posting her feelings ("for me, all the songs on the album are like saying, 'listen, this is how I'm going'"). The white shirt with blue and red markings that Björk wears on the cover is an allusion to the Union Flag bordering on a British Royal Mail airmail envelope, thus giving Post an additional meaning of "mail".
While building on Debut's dance-pop blueprint, Post was very musically eclectic, with Björk herself calling it "musically promiscuous". According to Björk, her "musical heart was scattered at the time and I wanted to show that (on Post)". The album touches on various musical styles – from the industrial opener "Army of Me" to the big band of "It's Oh So Quiet", trip hop experiments "Enjoy", "Possibly Maybe" and "Headphones", and the cinematic, sweeping "Isobel". Unlike Debut, Post featured production from various producers – Graham Massey, Tricky, Howie B and Björk herself. Nevertheless, Debut producer Nellee Hooper still had a large input on Post, co-producing six of the album's tracks. Initially, Björk had begun recording and producing Post on her own, but found the task too daunting and begged Hooper to join her, to which he "kept refusing" because "he said [Björk] should and could do it (produce the album) on [her] own."
Album theme and lyrical content
Björk sees Post as being "fearless" and about the emotions of "a girl who left her home...and faces a new and unexplored world", concluding "Post was looking, Homogenic [the album's successor] was what I found".
The album opener, "Army of Me", as well as "The Modern Things", was written by Björk and Graham Massey before Debut was recorded. Another track, "Karvel" was also recorded and appeared later on the "I Miss You" single and on the compilation Family Tree. "Army of Me", dealing with getting on with life and stopping complaining, was written to her brother. "Hyper-Ballad" was inspired by a dream, and is about how a person hides their destructive nature from their partner and releases their aggression by "throwing little things off" a cliff. "The Modern Things", which describes technology taking over the world, concluding "it's their time now", was written in response to people's fear of the rise of "soulless" technology. "Isobel", described by Björk as a "mythical song", was written with frequent collaborator Sjón. Part of a sequence of songs including "Human Behaviour" on Debut and "Bachelorette" on Homogenic, "Isobel" deals with a woman who is "married to herself" and has isolated herself from modern life. "Possibly Maybe" was written about Björk's failed relationship with Stéphane Sednaoui ("Where's that love you promised me? Where is it?"), while "I Miss You" deals with falling in love with someone not yet met ("I miss you but I haven't met you yet"). "Cover Me", written with Hooper, is about "how dangerous I [Björk] manage...to make album making. And trying to lure him [Hooper] in" ("This is really dangerous...I'm going to prove the impossible really exists"). "Headphones" was written to Graham Massey as a thank you for his mixtapes, as well as being "a love letter to sound. The sound of sound."
Much material was recorded during Post's genesis in 1994. To save money on taxes, many of the vocals for the album were recorded in Nassau, Bahamas by Compass Point Studios, with Björk standing well out into the ocean at sunset. The vocals for "Cover Me" were originally recorded in a bat-infested cave and featured different instrumentation. While a studio recording appeared on Post, the cave recording is available on Family Tree, a box set of rare material, released in 2002; and also on the CD single of "Army of Me".
"Possibly Maybe" sample
The initial CD run contained a sample from Scanner on the song "Possibly Maybe". However, permission was not granted for authorised use of the sample and Scanner refused a sizable payoff days leading up to the release. Legalities were still ongoing on the release date, but on 17 June, (just five days into the release) the CDs and cassettes were withdrawn from sale through all retailers. NME reported that an estimated 350,000 CDs (containing the sample) were sold. A second version without the sample was speedily duplicated and available for sale the following week. Pulling the CDs from sale resulted in the album only making number 2 on the UK Albums Chart.
|Los Angeles Times|||
Post was generally acclaimed by music critics. All Music Guide gave the album four-and-a-half stars, saying "the pressure was on Björk to surpass that album's (Debut) creative, tantalizing electronic pop. She has more than delivered with 1995's Post." Rolling Stone gave Post four stars, concluding "When Post comes to an end, it feels like getting back from a good vacation: the last thing you want to do is re-enter the real world." Slant Magazine rewarded the album with five stars, concluding "Post will likely always remain the Björk album that most successfully sustains her winning balance of experimental whimsy and solid pop magic." The album was ranked number 26 in Spin's "100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005" and number 7 in Spin's 90 best albums of 1990s. In 2003, it was ranked number 373 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Furthermore, Post and Homogenic were placed back-to-back on Pitchfork's "Best of the 90s" list, at 20 and 21, respectively. In 2010, it appeared in Spin magazine's "125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years" list, at number 75. In 2011, Slant Magazine placed Post at number 2 in its 100 greatest 90s albums list.
"Army of Me" was released as Post's leading single on 21 April 1995. It debuted at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming her first UK Top 10 single. Although it dropped out of the Top 20 the next week, "Army of Me" remained in the Top 75 for five weeks. "Isobel" was released as the album's second single on 14 August of the same year. Less commercially successful than "Army of Me", it debuted at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart, remaining in the Top 75 for three weeks. "It's Oh So Quiet" was released as a novelty Christmas single on 13 November 1995. Spending a total of fifteen weeks in the UK Top 75, it peaked at number 4 and spent eight weeks in the Top 10. It became her biggest worldwide hit, peaking at No. 6 in Australia and No. 109 in the US. "Hyper-Ballad" was released as the album's fourth single on 12 February 1996. Some regions also included a double A-side single with the song "Enjoy", although it only received a number of promo remixes. Building on the success of "It's Oh So Quiet", the single debuted at No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming her third and last UK Top 10 single. While "Hyper-Ballad" dropped out of the Top 20 the next week, it remained in the Top 75 for a month. "Possibly Maybe" was released as Post's fifth single on 12 October 1996. It debuted at No. 12 on the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks in the UK Top 75. "I Miss You" was released as Post's sixth and final single on 24 February 1997. Although it hit No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play Chart, it debuted at No. 36 on the UK Singles Chart, spending two weeks in the Top 75.
Promotion and tour
Björk promoted Post heavily, appearing on various television programs including Later... with Jools Holland and Top of the Pops, and in print. In addition, the album was promoted through posters, magazine advertisements, etc.
Björk toured Post from July 1995 to February 1997. The tour covered the USA, the UK, much of Europe, Asia, Oceania, Israel and Brazil. The last gig of the tour, at Shepherd's Bush Empire in London, was filmed and released on VHS and DVD.
Originally, a photograph shot by Jean Baptiste Mondino, who shot the cover photograph for Debut, featuring Björk surrounded by silver balls, her tongue extended towards a falling ball, was chosen for Post's cover image. This idea was later scrapped. Björk decided that the cover of Post should be a portrait of herself surrounded by her possessions. The possessions, things from home that were important to her, were intended to reflect Post's theme of isolation from her friends and family in Iceland. This idea was scrapped when Paul White of Me Company thought of surrounding Björk with giant postcards, representing the communication with her friends and relatives via the post. The cover image was photographed by Stéphane Sednaoui in a street in London, while the booklet and packaging were designed by long-time collaborator Me Company, who were also responsible for the artwork on the album's singles. Orange featured heavily in the album's artwork, as White felt the colour matched the album's personality. The typeface used for Björk's logo during the Post and Debut eras was a modified version of DIN, which is used on German road signs. Martin Gardiner modelled the lotus flower used in the album's booklet and packaging, while the jacket Björk wears on the cover of Post, crafted from envelope paper called Tyvek, was designed by Hussein Chalayan, who Björk modelled for in September 1995.
Frequent collaborator Michel Gondry directed three of Post's music videos: "Army of Me", "Isobel", and "Hyper-Ballad". Spike Jonze directed the video for "It's Oh So Quiet", Sednaoui directed the video for "Possibly Maybe", and John Kricfalusi (creator of the cartoon Ren and Stimpy) directed the partially animated music video for "I Miss You".
Post was initially released on CD, cassette, vinyl and MiniDisc. In addition, Post was available for a limited time in the UK and Europe as a digipak with an extended lyric booklet and poster, or as a digipak contained in a clear PVC wallet (with a strap to carry it). The album was released for a limited time in the UK as a cassette in similar packaging. Post was also available for a limited time on pink vinyl. In 2000, the album was made available on 180g heavyweight vinyl and in 2008, One Little Indian reissued the album on DMM 200g heavyweight vinyl. In the same year, Post was made available on CD as a vinyl replica. The album was re-released in 2006 as a DualDisc including new DTS 96/24 5.1-channel surround sound mixes and the album's music videos, available separately or as part of the (____surrounded): box set.
In November 1996, Björk released Telegram, a collection of remixes of every song on Post excluding "It's Oh So Quiet" and "The Modern Things", and the B-side of "It's Oh So Quiet", "My Spine". The album featured collaborations with The Brodsky Quartet, Evelyn Glennie and LFO.
Enjoyed: A Tribute to Björk's Post
In March 2008, the website Stereogum released the original album Enjoyed: A Tribute to Björk's Post. The collection, available free at stereogum.com/bjork, features cover songs by Liars, Dirty Projectors, Xiu Xiu, High Places, Final Fantasy & Ed Droste, Atlas Sound, No Age, and others.
|1.||"Army of Me"||Björk, Graham Massey||Björk, Graham Massey, Nellee Hooper||3:54|
|2.||"Hyperballad"||Björk||Björk, Nellee Hooper||5:21|
|3.||"The Modern Things"||Björk, Graham Massey||Björk, Graham Massey, Nellee Hooper||4:10|
|4.||"It's Oh So Quiet"||Bert Reisfeld, Hans Lang||Björk, Nellee Hooper||3:38|
|5.||"Enjoy"||Björk, Tricky||Björk, Tricky||3:57|
|6.||"You've Been Flirting Again"||Björk||Björk||2:29|
|7.||"Isobel"||Björk, Marius de Vries, Nellee Hooper, Sjón||Björk, Nellee Hooper||5:47|
|8.||"Possibly Maybe"||Björk||Björk, Nellee Hooper||5:06|
|9.||"I Miss You"||Björk, Howie Bernstein||Björk, Howie Bernstein||4:03|
|11.||"Headphones"||Björk, Tricky||Björk, Tricky||5:40|
|Japanese bonus track|
|12.||"I Go Humble"||Björk, Mark Bell||Mark Bell||4:44|
|Australian/Thai Limited Tour Edition bonus disc|
|1.||"Sweet Intuition"||Björk, Andy Turner, Ed Handley, Ken Downie||Björk, The Black Dog||4:43|
|2.||"Venus as a Boy" (Harpsichord version)||Björk||Björk, Guy Sigsworth||2:13|
|3.||"Hyperballad" (Brodsky Quartet version)||Björk||Björk, Nellee Hoper, Brodsky Quartet||4:20|
|4.||"Charlene"||Björk, The Black Dog||Björk, The Black Dog, Marius de Vries||4:44|
Charts and certifications
- John Altman – Orchestra arrangements, conductor
- Gary Barnacle – Soprano sax
- Howie Bernstein – Producer, programming, engineer, mixing
- Björk – Vocals, producer, keyboards, organ, string arrangements, brass arrangements
- Stuart Brooks – Trumpet
- Jim Couza – Hammer dulcimer
- Einar Orn – Trumpet
- Eumir Deodato – String arrangements, conductor
- Marcus Dravs – Programming, engineer, mixing
- Al Fisch – Engineer
- Lenny Franchi – Programming, engineer
- Martin Gardiner – Lotus flower modelling
- Isobel Griffiths – Orchestral contractor
- Nellee Hooper – Producer
- Graham Massey – Producer, keyboards, programming
- Me Company – Artwork/Packaging design
- Maurice Murphy – Trumpet
- Tony Pleeth – Cello
- Steve Price – Engineer
- Stéphane Sednaoui – Photography
- Guy Sigsworth – Harpsichord
- Talvin Singh – Percussion
- Rob Smissen – Viola
- Mark "Spike" Stent – Mixing
- Al Stone – Engineer
- Tricky – Producer, keyboards, programming
- Marius de Vries – Keyboards, programming
- Gavin Wright – Orchestra leader
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