My Favorite Album: Anna Meredith on Björk's "Debut" | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, February 26th, 2024  

My Favorite Album: Anna Meredith on Björk’s “Debut”

"It really changed my ideas of what an album could be."

Feb 17, 2020 Photography by Gem Harris Björk
Bookmark and Share

Any of the early Björk albums [could be my favorite], but probably Debut is the one, in terms of impact on what it meant for me in terms of albums.

I was a teenager in the ‘90s and very much not cool, I was quite late to it. I remember buying it on cassette, probably a year after it came out. I’d heard of The Sugarcubes before that, but I was much more in my honking-on-my-clarinet-in-my-wind-band-orchestra style of coolness. And maybe I even had some dismissive idea about her quirky cuteness and I had some superficial idea of who she was.

But I think it really changed my ideas of what an album could be. It’s so varied and it’s so holistic and each track is totally its own thing. It has the one where it’s all recorded in the loos of that club, and they made one in a cave I think. It opens with that big timpani riff and there’s one that has saxophones riffing. The honesty of the lyrics is interesting and each individual track has its own world that it’s in. It’s been really helpful to me.

She thinks really creatively production-wise and instrumentation-wise, how many layers of her voice, how near or far from the mic, and also in terms of how she positions herself, the visual side of it. Her own look, the cover art—she constantly questions what each of these things is going to be. It’s so dismissive when people say, “Oh, she’s so bonkers.” It’s such a simplistic view.

Because it was on cassette, you couldn’t skip to the ones you like. I think I initially got into it because of “Venus as a Boy,” which is still one of my absolute favorite tunes, it’s just gorgeous. But the batteries on my Sony Walkman couldn’t hack all the scrolling back so I had to listen to the whole thing. You follow the shape of the whole thing. I think I’m fond of this one in particular because it was on tape.

(Anna Meredith is a classically trained British composer who has had work commissioned by institutions including the BBC Proms and the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. In 2018 she scored the critically acclaimed film Eighth Grade. Her second studio album FIBS is a 2019 release on Black Prince Fury. Portions of Anna Meredith’s conversation have been abridged and edited for structure and flow.)

[Note: This article originally appeared in Issue 66 of Under the Radar’s print magazine, which is out now. This is its debut online. For the issue we interviewed musicians and actors about their all-time favorite album.]

Support Under the Radar on Patreon.


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

There are no comments for this entry yet.