Björk, the Icelandic pop iconic whose career spans four-decades of originality, is a keen student and avid fan of the sounds being created around her.
Having been a part of music industry since the age of 11, Björk has been immersed in the industry and surrounded by the creatives that have dominated since she first gained international recognition as the lead singer of the alternative rock band the Sugarcubes.
Since then Björk has found a diverse source of inspiration, whether it comes from her colleagues, her family, her home or the environment she surrounds herself in. Back in an old interview with The Guardian, Björk referenced the rainforest as a major source of creative aid: “I need it, I need it, I need it,” she said. “I found it is actually so good for my voice, too. Seventy per cent humidity is ideal for vocal cords. It is and it isn’t different to what I grew up with — Iceland is very humid, but not as warm. I was hiking in Costa Rica a few weeks ago, and was crying inside myself. I wanted never to leave.”
A few years ago Björk was asked by The Rest Is Noise to try and attempt to create a comprehensive list of albums which have had a lasting impression on her life. Having grown up listening a wide-ranging selection of music with ranged from 1950s-70s records, Björk typically referenced female icons such as Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell as albums that have an important impact on her life.
When speaking about Bush and her impact on feminism and the role she played women in music, Björk once said: “It was kind of sexist. People thought that Kate Bush was insane. People were embarrassed about admitting that they actually liked her and I think that is something, actually, one good thing about feminism nowadays is that she is not a threat at all.”
Elsewhere Björk typically includes some obscure numbers like Thai Pop and Alim Qasimov and, while reminding his that she always has her finger on the pulse, includes Aphex Twin and James Blake.
See the full list, below.
Björk’s favourite 11 albums of all time:
- Thai Pop – Siamese Soul, Volume 2
- Steve Reich – Tehillim; Steve Reich and Musicians
- Mahler – Symphony No. 10 [performing version by Deryck Cooke]; Simon Rattle conducting the Berlin Philharmonic
- Berg Lulu; Teresa Stratas, Franz Mazura, Kenneth Riegel, Yvonne Minton, Pierre Boulez conducting the Paris Opera Orchesta
- Alim Qasimov – Azerbaijan: The Art of the Mugham
- Joni Mitchell – Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter
- Kate Bush – The Dreaming
- Nico – Desertshore
- Public Enemy – It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back
- Aphex Twin – Drukqs
- Panasonic – Panasonic EP
- Black Dog Productions – Bytes
- James Blake – James Blake