Written by Felicity Ward

Arts

Rated or Dated: Post

Standard Issue writers are revisiting a film/book/TV series to see if it’s stood the test of time. As the 20th anniversary of its release approaches, Felicity Ward looks at Björk’s third album.

Post album coverWhat and why: Björk’s third studio album, Post, is 20 this week. Once heralded as one of the top albums of the 1990s, does it still hold up in today’s musical climate?

Rated or dated: Firstly, I should say I’ve always fantasised about those who came to Post through the popularity of Björk’s 1995 single It’s Oh So Quiet and were met with the lyrics of the opening track: Stand up / you’ve got to manage / I won’t sympathise / anymore. Björk wastes no time dispelling notions of Icelandic whimsy in the industrial soundscape of Army of Me. It’s a powerful opening: commanding, loud and almost War of the Worlds-like.

Just as quickly as she wrong-foots us with Nine Inch Nails industrial rock, she returns to her more typical trip-hop beats in Hyperballad. The beautiful uplifting melodies juxtaposed against the mania of her lyrics: this is sublime and perfect Björk.

And in case you had forgotten what an incredible vocalist she is, Modern Things is stripped back for the first minute just to give you a clue, before falling into jazzy drumming and the underwater sound which would become pivotal in the late 90s and early 2000s electronica scene (see: every Café del Mar album).

Ping-ponging from It’s Oh So Quiet back to the darkness of Enjoy, then to the Amélie-like storytelling of You’ve Been Flirting Again, Björk effortlessly glides from the submissive to the dominatrix, and you are taken every time. She pays homage to the past and is a clairvoyant of the future. At least two of these tracks could be found five years later on The Beach soundtrack, and the beat samples on I Miss You give Basement Jaxx an idea of what’s to come for them.

“Beautiful uplifting melodies juxtaposed against the mania of her lyrics: this is sublime and perfect Björk.”

The gift of this album is listening to every track emerge with its own production. No moment left untended to, no verse phoned in; the attention to detail in every element of song and album makes this very satisfying listening. More than that: it’s an experience.

With nods to big band, French busking, bossa nova and the silver screen, Post is riddled with influences from all eras and music, and spawned no less than six singles. Like a soundtrack written for a time-travelling movie that never got made, this album is an excursion into the past and future of music.

Relevant then. Relevant now. Post is a triumph from start to finish. RATED.

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Written by Felicity Ward

Felicity Ward is an Australian comedian, writer, actor and full time knucklehead, based in the UK.