A Warrior Who Had to Fight with Love

“The title of the album, in fact,  indicates that music comes from a same direction: straight from my heart, because home is where the heart is”
Björk

 
 

Homogenic is the fourth studio album by Icelandic musician Björk

 
 

A relationship with fellow musician Clifford Price (better known as Goldie) caused controversy for the singer, an American fan, offended by her dalliance with a black man, taped himself creating an acid bomb and sent it to her house before shooting himself in front of the camera. While the bomb, thankfully, never reached Bjork, she became extremely depressed and fled to Spain where she recorded her next album. The result, entitled Homogenic, was released in September 1997 and featured emotional, dark songs possessing sounds that had never been explored. So off the beaten path was the record that it failed to enjoy the commercial success that her last two efforts had. But it was her most personal record to-date.

The album was Björk’s first attempt to bridge the world of electronic music with more organic elements (including orchestral score and unusual applications of the human voice), and she approached Alexander McQueen to try to capture the album’s icy, otherworldly cool vibe in a cover image.“When I went to Alexander McQueen, I explained to him the person who wrote these songs — someone who was put into an impossible situation, so impossible that she had to become a warrior,” Bjork told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1998.“A warrior who had to fight not with weapons, but with love.”

Though the cover appears to be a straight illustration, Bjork actually posed for the image, photographed by Nick Knight. “I had 10 kilos of hair on my head, and special contact lenses and a manicure that prevented me from eating with my fingers, and gaffer tape around my waist and high clogs so I couldn’t walk easily,” she said. “I wanted to put all the emotion of the album into that image.”

 
 

A previous McQueen/Knight collaboration for a photo shoot clearly provided the basis idea for the imagery achieved

 
 

Björk’s vocals on Homogenic range from primitive sounding screams to a traditional singing method used by Icelandic choir men, a combination of speaking and singing as illustrated in the song Unravel. Björk wanted Homogenic to have a conceptual focus on her native Iceland. In an interview for Oor, Björk explained that “in Iceland, everything revolves around nature, 24 hours a day. Earthquakes, snowstorms, rain, ice, volcanic eruptions, geysers… Very elementary and uncontrollable. But at the other hand, Iceland is incredibly modern; everything is hi-tech. The number of people owning a computer is as high as nowhere else in the world. That contradiction is also on Homogenic. The electronic beats are the rhythm, the heartbeat. The violins create the old-fashioned atmosphere, the colouring.”

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The Ravishing Blooms Appear

“Men were created before women. … But that doesn’t prove their superiority – rather, it proves ours, for they were born out of the lifeless earth in order that we could be born out of living flesh. And what’s so important about this priority in creation, anyway? When we are building, we lay foundations on the ground first, things of no intrinsic merit or beauty, before subsequently raising up sumptuous buildings and ornate palaces. Lowly seeds are nourished in the earth, and then later the ravishing blooms appear; lovely roses blossom forth and scented narcissi.”

Moderata Fonte, pseudonym of Modesta Pozzo (1555-1592)
The Worth of Women: Wherein Is Clearly Revealed Their Nobility and Their Superiority to Men

 
 

Devon Aoki in Alexander McQueen for Visionaire 20, 1997. Photo by Nick Knight

Steven Meisel: Rock The House

Carolyn Murphy: Courtney Love. Jake Schroeder: Kurt Cobain. Dylan Schroeder Murphy: Frances Bean Cobain

 
 

Fanni Bostrom: John Lennon. Audrey Marnay: Ringo Starr. Tasha Tilberg: Paul McCartney and Trish Goff: George Harrison

 
 

Ben Northover: John Lennon. Devon Aoki: Yoko Ono

 
 

Omahyra: Prince

 
 

Karolina Kurkova: Marilyn Manson

 
 

Cyrille Victor: Jimi Hendrix. Matt Duffie: Jim Morrison. Karen Elson: Janis Joplin

 
 

Crew of models: The Rolling Stones

 
 

Hannelore Knuts: David Bowie. Diana Meszaros: Angela Bowie

 
 

Sophie Dahl: Debbie Harry