The Spoked Traveller | Bjork Trumps Gaga
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Bjork Trumps Gaga

Bjork Trumps Gaga

Bjork would be cool even if no one was watching. This is the difference between her and Lady Gaga. A few years ago I gave a talk about Icelandic pop culture on a cruise ship of 90-year-olds for a university alumni event. Well, they weren’t all 90, but you get the idea. As a single blond looking for a seat at supper time, I was very popular.

Back to Bjork. Before the swan dress at the Oscar’s, but not before her first album at 11-years-old (Icelandic folk songs), the woman started an all girls punk band called Spit and Snot. 

This kills me. You are too cool for words.

In videos such as Who Is It, which features bells chiming in the background, Bjork dresses up like a giant bell. At the Hurricane Festival in 2003, she wears giant aqua flowers around her ears. It’s delicate even though her voice is piercing and raw. Gaga can throw a steak on her face, but there is no aesthetic behind it. It’s for show; it’s for the masses and it’s disingenuous.

Bjork comes to subversion honestly: her dad was a union leader and her mom was an activist. Bjork also had a child young– she was used to defiance, and grit. And, when a reporter in Bangkok accosted her just after stepping off a plane with her son, she attacked her. She thought of giving up the whole public life after that.

Even when she gave an award-winning performance in Dancer in the Dark, as a factory worker, and was nominated for countless awards (Golden Globes, Cannes…etc), she vowed to never act again. It was music; it was always music that spurred her on, not a shocking outfit; those were secondary to her talent, to her voice, to her creativity.

2 Comments
  • fortunecookie
    Posted at 13:30h, 26 November Reply

    Bang on article. Björk manages herself effortlessly, drawn on by the thrill of creation and collaboration. Gaga seems to crave fame and makes contrived efforts to keep the spotlight on her whilst trying to convince the world she is somehow making anything other than meaningless disposable pop. She is a media machine with little much actually behind the crafted persona and team working hard to convince us of how to perceive her.

    • Melanie Chambers
      Posted at 14:34h, 26 November Reply

      I think Gaga is talented–don’t get me wrong. But, I wholeheartedly agree: Bjork is not contrived. There is a real genuine push to her work; like you said, it seems to come from an honest and pure place. Yes, the machine. Every time Gaga steps out the door, it’s an over-the-top outfit that just seems to be, well, big. Bjork was ‘wonderful hair’ and ‘intricate make up.’ It was like poetry. She is also a performer–reminds me of early Kate Bush. I’m going to listen to her now. Thanks for your note.

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