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Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack 'Dancer in the Dark'
Soundtrack album by Björk
Released 18 September 2000
Length 32:14
Label One Little Indian
Björk chronology
Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack 'Dancer in the Dark'

Selmasongs: Music from the Motion Picture Soundtrack 'Dancer in the Dark' is the first soundtrack album by Icelandic musician Björk. It was released on September 18, 2000, by One Little Indian Records to promote and accompany the film Dancer in the Dark. In the film Björk starred as Selma Ježková, a Czech immigrant who has moved to the United States. The album features classical arrangements, as well as melodies and beats composed of sounds from mundane objects, such as factory machines and trains.

Notably, some of the song lyrics on the album are substantially different from the songs in the film, the most pronounced example being "Scatterheart". The album omits the vocals of actors David Morse, Cara Seymour and Vladica Kostic. Some lyrics were rewritten, perhaps to prevent spoiling crucial plot details, since the soundtrack was released in stores before the movie opened in theaters, or to make the record flow better as a stand-alone album. In particular, on the song "I've Seen It All", Thom Yorke performs the words sung by Peter Stormare in the film. In addition, the track "My Favourite Things" does not appear on the album at all.

The track "I've Seen It All" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and was released as a promotional single in 2000. For the track, Björk made a "webeo" with director Floria Sigismondi that premiered on September 1, 2000 on It used a shorter version of the song that the singer recorded specifically for the webeo.[1]


Björk promoting the film at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.

Björk, who was known primarily as a musician, had rarely acted before, and has described the process of making the film Dancer in the Dark as so emotionally taxing that she would not appear in any film ever again.[2][3] She had disagreements with director Lars von Trier over the content of the film, wanting the ending to be more uplifting.[citation needed] She later called Trier sexist.[4] Co-star Catherine Deneuve and others have described her performance as feeling rather than acting.[5] Björk has said that it is a misunderstanding that she was put off acting by this film; rather, she never wanted to act but made an exception for Trier.[6] The musical sequences were filmed simultaneously with over 100 digital cameras so that multiple angles of the performance could be captured and cut together later, thus shortening the filming schedule.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 76/100[7]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[8]
Entertainment Weekly C−[9]
Melody Maker 4/5 stars[10]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[11]
NME 8/10[12]
Pitchfork 7.4/10[13]
Q 3/5 stars[14]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars[15]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3/5 stars[16]
Spin 8/10[17]

At Metacritic, which assigns a normalised rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 76, based on 20 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[7] Heather Phares from AllMusic gave a positive review, commenting, "Selmasongs' best tracks are poignant, inventive expressions of Björk's talent and Selma's daydreams and suffering. [...] Selmasongs paints a portrait of a woman losing her sight, but it maintains Björk's unique vision".[8] While giving a "C–" grade, David Browne from Entertainment Weekly noted that "the melding of drum and bass rhythms and panoramic classical orchestrations is as sonically impressive as it was on 1997's Homogenic. But something here brings out the most precious and irritating aspects of Björk's elfin voice", but "yet Selmasongs is mostly show tunes on Ecstasy, and you keep praying for a police raid".[9]


The song "I've Seen It All" was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, at the performance of which Björk wore her infamous swan dress.[18]

Recipient Award Category Result Ref.
Selmasongs 21st Brit Awards Best Soundtrack/Cast Recording Nominated [19]
13th Chicago Film Critics Association Awards Best Original Score Nominated [20]
4th Online Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Score Nominated [20]
19th Robert Awards Music of the Year Won [20]
"Overture" 43rd Annual Grammy Awards Best Pop Instrumental Performance Nominated [21]
"I've Seen It All" Best Pop Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying A Vocalist(s) Nominated [21]
73rd Academy Awards Best Original Song in a Motion Picture Nominated [21]
58th Golden Globe Awards Best Original Song Nominated [21]
1st Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards Best Original Song Nominated [20]
5th Golden Satellite Awards Best Original Song Won [22]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Overture" Björk Björk 3:38
2. "Cvalda" (with Catherine Deneuve)
  • Björk
  • Bell
3. "I've Seen It All" (with Thom Yorke)
  • Björk
  • Sjón
  • von Trier
  • Björk
  • Bell
4. "Scatterheart"
  • Björk
  • Sjón
  • von Trier
  • Björk
  • Bell
5. "In the Musicals"
  • Björk
  • Bell
  • Sjón
  • von Trier
  • Björk
  • Bell
6. "107 Steps" (with Siobhan Fallon)
  • Björk
  • Sjón
  • von Trier
  • Björk
  • Bell
7. "New World"
  • Björk
  • Sjón
  • von Trier
Björk 4:22
Total length: 32:12


Country Peak position
Austria 21
France 4
Finland 10
Norway 2
Japan 17
Poland[23] 19
Sweden 12
Switzerland 20
United Kingdom 34
United States 41


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[24] Platinum 300,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[25] Platinum 200,000^
United States N/A 201,000[26]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ Mirapaul, Matthew (August 21, 2000). "Music Videos Enter the Digital Age". The New York Times. Retrieved 2000-08-21.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "Bjork launches celluloid comeback". BBC News. 2005-11-02. Retrieved 2006-12-22. Bjork vowed never to act again after making Dancer in the Dark in 2000, despite winning a best actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival. 
  3. ^ "Björk Uncovers Dancer Feud". October 2000. Retrieved 2006-12-22. Right now, I feel very strong about focusing on music 
  4. ^ Bryan Appleyard (2009-07-12). "Should Lars von Trier's Antichrist be banned?". London: The Times. Retrieved 2009-07-12. [dead link]
  5. ^ Pytlik, Mark (29 May 2003). Bjork: Wow and Flutter. ECW Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-1-55022-556-3. Retrieved 11 October 2010. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "Reviews for SelmaSongs: Music from the Motion Picture Dancer in the Dark by Björk". Metacritic. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  8. ^ a b Phares, Heather. "Selmasongs – Björk". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Browne, David (18 September 2000). "Selmasongs". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Björk: Selmasongs". Melody Maker: 50–51. 26 September 2000. 
  11. ^ Nichols, Natalie (10 September 2000). "Songs of Optimism in a Grim Setting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  12. ^ Empire, Kitty (13 September 2000). "Bjork – Selmasongs". NME. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  13. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (31 August 2000). "Bjork: Selmasongs". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Björk: Selmasongs". Q (170): 99–101. November 2000. 
  15. ^ Walters, Barry (28 December 2000). "Recordings: Bjork, Selmasongs". Rolling Stone: 56. Archived from the original on 27 March 2002. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  16. ^ Wolk, Douglas (2004). "Björk". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian. The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 73–74. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. 
  17. ^ Powers, Ann (November 2000). "Bjork: Selmasongs". Spin. 16 (11): 197. Retrieved 6 November 2016. 
  18. ^ Levy, Emanuel (14 January 2003). All about Oscar: the history and politics of the Academy Awards. Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 24. ISBN 978-0-8264-1452-6. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 
  19. ^ "Bjork". BRIT Awards. Retrieved 9 December 2013. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Björk Awards". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c d "Björk". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  22. ^ "Satellite Awards 2001". Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  23. ^ "Oficjalna lista sprzedaży :: OLiS - Official Retail Sales Chart". OLiS. 2000-10-30. Retrieved 2012-03-09. 
  24. ^ "French album certifications – Björk – Selmasongs" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. 
  25. ^ "Japanese album certifications – Björk – Selmasongs" (in Japanese). Recording Industry Association of Japan.  Select 2000年月 on the drop-down menu
  26. ^ "GOT CHARTS? CREED, EMINEM, NO DOUBT, 'NSYNC HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON". MTV. January 25, 2009. Retrieved December 17, 2016.