|Studio album by Björk|
|Released||13 June 1995|
|Singles from Post|
Post is the second studio album by Icelandic recording artist Björk.[nb 1] It was released on 13 June 1995 by One Little Indian in the United Kingdom and by Elektra Records in the United States. Unlike her previous album Debut (1993), which was almost entirely produced by Nellee Hooper, Post is characterised by more collaborations, including production by Hooper, 808 State's Graham Massey, and former Massive Attack member Tricky. Björk co-produced every song on the album.
Continuing the stylistic blueprint of Debut, Post is considered an important exponent of art pop and is known for its eclecticism, mainly incorporating electronic and dance styles--such as techno, trip hop, IDM and house--but also ambient, jazz, industrial and experimental music. A reflection of Björk's new life in London, Post features songs she wrote after moving to England and was intended to convey the fast pace and urban culture of the city, deviating from the themes of its predecessor, which focused on the compositions Björk had written in Iceland. It also reflects British underground club culture, with which Björk had established close ties.
Post received critical acclaim and was a commercial success, charting at number 2 in the United Kingdom and 32 in the United States. It was certified gold in New Zealand and Sweden, and platinum in Australia, Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Telegram, a remix album of songs from Post, was released in 1996. Six singles were released from Post: "Army of Me", "Isobel", "It's Oh So Quiet", "Hyperballad", "Possibly Maybe", and "I Miss You", with three charting in the British top 10. The acclaimed music videos that accompanied every single aided Björk's success, and have been noted for their surrealism, focus on the relationship between nature and technology, and artistic development of the medium. The peak of media interest on Björk and the extensive Post Tour proved detrimental to her welfare: she caused controversy by knocking a reporter to the ground, and a stalker's unsuccessful attempt to murder her. Björk would relocate away from the press in Spain to produce Homogenic, her following studio album. For its integration of pop and experimental styles, Post is now considered one of Björk's quintessential releases, one of the greatest albums of the decade and, occasionally, of all time.
Björk released her previous studio album Debut in 1993, on One Little Indian Records. A main element of Debuts sound was its incorporation of dance music, reflecting the contemporary styles of England's underground club culture, with which Björk had established close ties--as reflected in the remixes of the Debut and Post eras, and her romantic pairings with electronic musicians during this period, such as Goldie (with whom Björk was briefly engaged). Björk's adoption of "the contemporary musical environment of London" also included the burgeoning trip hop scene of bands like Portishead and Massive Attack.Nellee Hooper, who produced the album, had been a member of Bristol's Wild Bunch collective, a group that took from acid jazz, funk and hip hop, and catalysed the appearance of trip hop. Björk's embrace of England's dance culture also extended to her looks, her style at the time considered representative of 1990s acid house fashion. Although One Little Indian estimated that Debut would sell 40,000 copies worldwide based on an estimate of the Sugarcubes' fan base at the time, within three months of its release, over 600,000 copies had been sold worldwide. According to NME, it turned "an idiosyncratic vocalist from a feted cult band into a significant global pop star". The album received generally positive reviews from the British music press, although American critics were nonplussed by its sonority.
The production of Debut was "long and laborious", as it required Björk to realise her compositional ideas from the past ten years in a creatively autonomous fashion.[clarification needed] After Debut's release, she was free to concentrate on her present life for new musical clues for her following album. Once again, she contacted Nellee Hooper to produce the album. He refused initially, encouraging her to produce the album herself, but agreed when she insisted. However, Björk agreed to contribute to the album's production as a co-producer and to enlist other producers; "to make it stay fresh, she had to think about other people being involved". With Hooper's confirmation, Björk commenced work on the album almost immediately at the Bahamas' legendary Compass Point Studios. The picturesque locale inspired Björk to meld the recording process with the exotic natural environment. Biographer Mark Pytlik writes: "The tales surrounding these recording sessions are appropriately evocative". For example, Rolling Stone wrote that for her vocals: "Björk extended her mic cord to a beach so she could sing to the sea". Additionally, the first version of "Cover Me" was recorded entirely from a nearby cave, and rumours have persisted that Björk recorded "Possibly Maybe" in the nude.
For this record, Björk incorporated shelved songs she wrote in Manchester with 808 State's Graham Massey, which had preceded the recording sessions for Debut. These included "Army of Me" and "The Modern Things", which had become live staples over the summer, and did not need to undergo extensive transformations at Compass Point. Massey stated: "With "Army of Me" we wanted to try something that was quite hard and techno-y. I'm not sure how she wrote those lyrics so fast but I remember that song being almost instantaneous. [...] We kind of knocked that off in one day and then started on "The Modern Things" the same day and finished that the next". Although the album was supposed to be delivered the day after she returned from the Bahamas, Björk felt it was not yet complete and decided to continue its production back in London. She enlisted a new team of engineers and programmers, and spent the next months "tweaking, rearranging, and sometimes completely rerecording her pre-existing tracks". Ultimately, it was the inclusion of more "real" instruments that "resuscitated Post for Björk".
Björk continued to compose songs such as "Isobel", which was created while she was visiting Reykjavík for Christmas, before bringing it back to Hooper's studio. The song's lyrics were written in collaboration with Icelandic poet Sjón, which was his first songwriting experience. Together with Þór Eldon, Björk's ex-husband and member of the Sugarcubes, the three of them had been part of a circle of anarchist poets in Reykjavík called Medusa and had met Björk while she was a member of KUKL. Sjón would become a frequent collaborator throughout Björk's career. Intrigued by his work as part of Massive Attack and later by his debut Maxinquaye, Björk also asked trip hop pioneer Tricky to assist in producing the album. An admirer of her voice, Tricky agreed, on the condition that he would work on two tracks on her album and she would contribute two vocals for his album. Their collaboration resulted in the Post songs "Enjoy" and "Headphones"--in addition to "Keep Your Mouth Shut" and "Yoga", which appeared on Tricky's 1996 studio album, Nearly God.
The track that underwent the most extensive change was "I Miss You", an old song from the Debut era, the result of the input of Howie Bernstein (a protégé of Hooper and an aspiring programmer), who gave the song its "Latin-tinged [rhythm]". Back in London, Björk contacted "old standby" Talvin Singh to record additional percussion parts for it. Fellow former Sugarcubes member Einar Örn Benediktsson was also contacted to play the trumpet on "Enjoy". Renowned English sessionist Gary Barnacle was enlisted to play the saxophone. Although he had not been involved in music for a long time, Brazilian composer Eumir Deodato immediately agreed to participate on the album at Björk's request. Björk decided to contact him after being impressed by his arrangements of a rare Milton Nascimento song called "Travessia". Deodato's presence as composer and conductor "immediately bolstered" "Hyperballad", "You've Been Flirting Again" and "Isobel". This addition of strings, brass and percussion elements gave Post the balance Björk felt her original recordings had lacked. By the time the album was finished in April 1995, the list of co-producers included: Björk, Hooper, Bernstein, Massey, and Tricky. Björk has said: "The people I collaborated with were all people I was hanging out with in clubs in London. I had known them all for a while before we ended up working together."
Björk's website described Post as "a bit of a bolder side of [Björk], who now had ventured all the way from Iceland to England, and was exploring the faster pace and big city life that this new country brought. This album became influenced of that and became more adventurous and club-friendly as a contrast to the shy first album, Debut". Likewise, theguardian.com wrote in 2011 that "Post tapped into the vortex of multicultural energy that was mid-90s London where she had relocated, and where strange hybrids such as jungle and trip-hop were bubbling". Noted for its eclectic nature, Björk herself has described Post as "musically promiscuous" and "spastic". It is considered by some to be the "quintessential Björk" release, due to its protean form--more than any of her other albums--and its "wide emotional palette". While the album is recognised as an experimental work, it is also characterised by its accessibility and pop framework. As a result, Post--and Björk's body of work in general--is categorised as an important release of the art pop genre, while also being described with related tags such as experimental pop, and avant-pop. Reflecting on this, Nick Coleman of The Independent wrote in 2003: "The genius of art-pop resides not, as is often supposed, in unusual trousers and close study of the life of Oscar Wilde, but in a musician's willingness to take a basic pop structure and subject it to a lot of naughty formal tinkering. It is, if you like, a way of making pure formalism socially acceptable in a pop context. And of all the historical legatees of gloriana-period Bowie and Roxy, only Björk is worthy to play out of the same dressing-up box."
Referred to as a "genre roulette" by the San Francisco Chronicle,Post touches on various musical styles, including industrial music,big-band jazz, trip hop, chillout, and experimental music. Jim Farber, reviewing the album in 1995 for Entertainment Weekly, considered Post to be a "connecting point between industrial-disco, ambient-trance, and catchy synth pop". When asked if this variety of genres was intentional, Björk replied: "Yes, I'm very aware of that. I've got very many sides to me. To be honest, I think everyone has got a thousand sides to them. It's called being human. Nature gave us that kinda complexity. Most people pretend they're only one thing-like : "cool" or "intelligent" or "stupid" or "caring". But I think everyone are all of these things, including me". She recognises Post as darker and more aggressive than Debut, and has identified independence, strength, and instinct as its lyrical themes. In a 1997 interview, Björk said: "Post...[is] a bit like the Tin Tin books. Sort of Tin Tin goes to Congo. Tin Tin goes to Tibet. So it's all these different flavors, me sort of trying all these different things on". The balance between synthetic and organic elements in the album--generated through the combination of electronic and "real" instruments--is a recurring characteristic of Björk's output. In 1999, Vibe stated: "Fusing techno, industrial, ambient, punk, and the rarefied yet tuneful spheres of art rock, Björk explores a jungle of tones, supported by her eternally buoyant voice from Mars."
Part of the album's innovation was Björk's further embrace of electronic instrumentation, an interest established in Debut, which featured mechanical dance numbers such as "Violently Happy" and "Big Time Sensuality". Treblezine.com has said that Post "melded alternative dance and electronic with a graceful flow". While IDM and trip hop influences were present in Debut, Post is characterised by Björk's fuller incorporation of these genres. According to i-D, Post "couldn't have existed without Aphex Twin, Black Dog, A Guy Called Gerald, LFO and all the other producers who reshaped the language of music since 1988". In an article celebrating the 20th anniversary of its release, Stereogum stated that the album "had enough Debut-era dance-pop in it that it still sounded like the work of the same person," but also "blew Björk's previously-established sound out into something way, way bigger and more impressive". Mark Pytlik considered that, in a time when electronic music was still considered "cold, austere, or inhuman", it was unorthodox for Björk to "be playing with electronic elements--the stuff of science-fiction soundtracks, Kraftwerkian teutonics, and Orbital-style blippiness--and using them to express a closeness to nature."
The Rolling Stone review stated that Björk "[foraged] for inspiration in the soundscapes of orchestral jazz, ambient techno and classical". Influences of jazz fusion were also noted by a contemporary review by The New York Times. In a 1995 interview with Pulse, Björk was reluctant to listing other female vocalists as an inspiration, stating: "I've never really compared myself to other people, not because I'm too big-headed or I've got a minority complex, but because I know I just can't sing like anyone else." Nevertheless, in 2015 Björk acknowledged that as she grew older, she understood "that music like Kate Bush has really influenced [her]." The Pulse article also read: "a lot of Björk's early influences were books (George Bataille's Story of the Eye, Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita) and films (Tampopo, Star Wars, The Tin Drum) available internationally. [...] But talk about Iceland and you're getting to the heart of the matter, the source of her spirited outlook on life." In 1996, when asked about the album's musical influences, Björk stated:
I'm influenced by everything. By books, by the weather, by the water, by my shoes, if they're comfortable or not. Everything. One of it is music, but I think it is very important with people who are dealing with making music that they are not only influenced by music. And I find it very sad when you find a record, and it says on [it]: "this record was inspired by Miles Davis." Because it's like making...a film, you don't make a film about a film, you make a film about real life. And you wouldn't sit down and write a book about a book, it's like recycling, it misses the point. And music isn't brilliant unless it goes beyond the point of being music and becomes real life. So I'm influenced by real life. And when people listen to my music and say "Oh, I can see great influence from this artist in there", I read that and I say "Okay, I didn't succeed". But if people listen to my music and say "Oh, this made me feel like this and that [...]", that's right. It should be beyond style, beyond influence, it should be about pure emotion, and real life.
One of Björk's most acclaimed compositions, "Hyperballad" features morbid lyrics which actually reveal the singer's joie de vivre.Pitchfork wrote: "The song is full of tension - traditional balladry backed by pulsing house music; modernity contrasted with the natural world; Björk's voice vacillating between focused discipline and unrestrained expression."
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The album opens with "Army of Me", a song "so menacing and inorganic-sounding" that, according to The New York Times, it verges on industrial rock. It is an aggressivetechnopop song with elements of trip hop. Dedicated to Björk's younger brother, the song's lyrics are, according to Björk herself, "about telling someone who is full of self-pity and doesn't have anything together to get a life and stand up"; as she sings: "And if you complain once more/You'll meet an army of me!" "Hyperballad", which incorporates a spectrum of electronic and orchestral styles, has been described as "a love song penned by Aphex Twin".NME wrote that its music "altered from gentle folktronica to drum and bass-tinted acid house"; an attempt to reflect the song's lyrics, which are about "the art of not forgetting about yourself". In them, Björk describes living at the top of a mountain and going to a cliff at sunrise. She throws objects off the cliff while pondering her own suicide. The ritual allows her to exorcise darker thoughts and return to her partner. "Hyperballad" is followed by "The Modern Things", a song that, in a magical realist tone, "playfully posits the theory that technology has always existed, waiting in mountains for humans to catch up".Interview described it in 1995 as a "spooky tune", noting "the odd scratchings at the end" of the track. In his 2000 book Jung and the Postmodern: The Interpretation of Realities, Christopher Hauke described this effect at the end as "when a record player has reached the end of an analogue, vinyl record and the needle is stuck as the disc continues going round"; and considered this "trick" to be a case of postmodernism, serving as an example of "the relationship between the present and past that pushes conceptualising even further by the inclusion of modern technology and its ambivalent relationship with previous forms." In a startling shift in style, the big band track "It's Oh So Quiet" covers a German composition made famous by Betty Hutton. It has been described as "a palate-cleanser during the course of the record". The last song recorded for Post, Björk has said she decided to include it, "just to make it absolutely certain that the album would be as schizophrenic as possible, that every song would be a shock".
The following track, "Enjoy", a song concerning the links between sex and fear, has been considered as "decidedly trippy", and "Posts most abrasive track".NME described it in its 1995 review as, "a dark and deranged techno thing". Over military drums and "squalls of noise", Björk sings about "her hedonistic tendencies". The orchestral interlude "You've Been Flirting Again", like the previous track "Enjoy", features "mysterious or open-ended lyrics". They are an attempt to describe the nature of flirting, which is "ambiguous and slippery"; the playfulness of the song's title contrasting with the "weightiness" of its words. "Isobel" is a string-laden, orchestral trip hop song, with a "visually rich narrative". Craig McLean of The Face called the track "Broadway on breakbeats". Various critics have discussed the song's distinctive tempo, with Pulse!s Tom Lanham comparing it to "a camel making its way across the desert", and Rolling Stones Lorraine Ali writing that the song "snakes along like a patient desert caravan". Conceived by Björk as "part autobiography part storytelling", its lyrics concern Isobel, a woman magically born in a forest who finds people in the city "a bit too clever for her", eventually retreating back to nature and sending them a message of instinct through trained moths. Inspired by South American literature--particularly Gabriel García Márquez--the track's lyrics discuss "the duality between reason and emotions, between intuition and intellect"; in Björk's words, "asking how 20th century civilisation clashes with nature and, in places like Iceland and Thailand, people really believe they can have a TV remote control in one hand and a ghost sitting beside them".
"Possibly Maybe" is a fusion of trip hop and chill-out music, which the San Francisco Chronicle review called "a fragmented, poetic rumination on love's ups and downs". It has also been considered ambient dub. Björk has said that it was the first unhappy song she wrote, stating in 1997: "That was very hard for me. [...] I was ashamed writing a song that was not giving hope". The slide guitar heard in the background of the song was originally intended to be its focal point, as Björk initially strived for an "ambient country" sound inspired by Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game". The lyrics of "Possibly Maybe" document the various stages of Björk's ill-fated relationship with Stéphane Sednaoui. "I Miss You" was described in 1997 as an "amalgam of styles, with electronic drums melding into African bongos mixed with jazzy horn playing". A house music number, its "horn-infused Afro-Cuban strains [...] reflect the romantic whimsy of [its] lyrics". Björk wrote "Cover Me", one of the quieter moments on the album, to her co-producer Nellee Hooper after he agreed to participate in the making of Post. She has said: "I guess I was trying to make fun of myself, how dangerous I manage sometimes to make album making. And trying to lure him into it. But it is also a admiration thing from me to him". The album ends with the experimental "Headphones", an ambient track. Featuring "just-for-headphones studio tricks", it has been described as "a chiming, somnolent dip into Björk's heavy-lidded pre-dream state". Its lyrics were written as a thank you to Graham Massey, who would make compilation cassettes for Björk. She also stated: "But, of course, it is also a love letter to sound. The sound of sound. Resonances, frequencies, silences and such... a music-worship thing".
Björk chose the title Post for two reasons. Firstly, it refers to the fact that all the songs on the album were written after her move to England, while the songs on Debut were songs she had written during the previous ten years of her life in Iceland. In a 1996 interview, Björk said: "I always knew it would be two albums and that's why I called them Debut and Post. Before and after". Secondly, the title was inspired by Björk's desire to communicate with friends and family back in Iceland, giving Post the additional meaning of "mail". Talking with Raw in 1996, Björk stated: "I called the record Post, because I always address my songs back in my head to Iceland in a letter. Because it was such a big jump for me to move away from all my relatives, all my friends, everything I know".
The album cover was photographed by Björk's former boyfriend, the French director Stéphane Sednaoui. It shows Björk standing in a London street, her pale skin and dark hair contrasting with the vivid colours of the Japanese-inspired signs behind her. An earlier shoot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino was scrapped; it would later appear in a 1995 article for The Face, in which Björk explained: "It cost £24,000. But now I know what I want. OK, I admit it, [she throws up her hands, suddenly aware of the extravagance.] I'm a pop star"! In the original cover picture, Björk was surrounded by silver balls, but she scrapped the cover in favour of something "more poppy". Designer Paul White of Me Company--who had been a frequent collaborator since The Sugarcubes--"surrounded her with giant postcards to represent communication with friends and family". Me Company designed the artwork, while Martin Gardiner modelled the lotus flower used in the album's booklet and packaging. The jacket Björk wears, shown on the cover, was inspired by Royal Mail airmail envelopes, referencing the album's title. It was specially crafted from envelope paper called Tyvek by designer Hussein Chalayan. Björk was a friend of Chalayan and an admirer of his designs, modelling for him in September 1995. The jacket is displayed under glass at Hard Rock Reykjavík, and was part of a 2015 MoMA retrospective on Björk, Björk.Vice has identified the airmail jacket look as one the "ultimate fashion moments" of Björk's career.
Post was released on 13 June 1995, as a 12" record, CD, and compact cassette. It was issued on One Little Indian Records in the United Kingdom and Elektra Records in the United States and Canada; Polydor Records issued Post in Australia and Japan, also releasing the European edition of the album. Lead single "Army of Me" was released on 21 April 1995, shortly after the album's production concluded. It was released in the United Kingdom as two different CD releases, with "Cover Me", "You've Been Flirting Again", "Sweet Intuition", and various remixes as its B-sides. It debuted at number 10 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming her first UK Top 10 single. Although it dropped out of the Top 20 the next week, "Army of Me" remained in the Top 75 for five weeks. The ending of "Army of Me" music video depicted Björk bombing an art museum, and due to a recent terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City, MTV removed it from its playlist before it even aired. Within weeks it was broadcast, although this "foreshadowed a string of unlucky events that would further hinder Posts unveiling". An unsourced sample by Robin Rimbaud, prominently heard throughout "Possibly Maybe", resulted in a lawsuit demanding a co-songwriter credit. After Rimbaud's label New Electronica refused Birkett's standard sample clearance compensation of £1,000, he and Björk resolved to destroy over 100,000 copies of the album, and "remixing, remastering, and reprinting a new version". However, and at the request of Rimbaud, New Electronica later let Björk use his sample completely free of charge, meaning One Little Indian did not have to issue another version after all, since stores had yet to run out of stock of Post initial run. Björk was also due back in court as a witness in Simon Fisher's lawsuit against Nellee Hooper and herself (regarding Debuts writing credits), charges that were eventually cleared by judge Robin Jacob. Author Mark Pytlik writes: "The strange combination of events had conspired to form the strangest promotional tour anyone could have ever envisioned: in the week since Post had been released, Björk had seen her album deleted, her video banned, and two separate lawsuits brought against her". One Little Indian were also better prepared to promote the album, scheduling a string of European and American tour dates from the beginning of July into late August.
In September 1995, Björk and poet Sjón released Post, a paperback book meant to be a "pictorial and verbal record of the making of that album". It contained interviews with Björk and also focused on the European leg of the tour. Although the record company was against the idea of releasing "Isobel" as the album's second single, Björk insisted because she "felt intuitively that this was the right choice". It was released in August 1995, again as two different CDs, with B-sides "Charlene", "I Go Humble", "Venus as a Boy", and several remixes. Less commercially successful than "Army of Me", it debuted at number 23 on the UK Singles Chart, remaining in the Top 75 for three weeks. The Post Tour was her first proper North American tour as a solo artist, with Aphex Twin as her opening act. While in the United States, she also appeared on Late Night with David Letterman; this tour "helped maintain Posts momentum and keep Björk in the public eye", since airings of "Army of Me" and "Isobel" had been relegated primarily to after-hours alternative music shows in MTV. In the United Kingdom, Björk also performed on Top of the Pops on several occasions. "It's Oh So Quiet" was released as a single in November, once again as two CDs. Its B-sides included "You've Been Flirting Again", "Hyperballad", "Sweet Sweet Intuition" (a rework of "Sweet Intuition"), and "My Spine". The music video for "It's Oh So Quiet" became one of the most played clips on MTV, and the song became Björk's most successful single, charting highly in the UK, Scotland, Finland, and Australia; it reached the 9th spot of the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles.
"Hyperballad" was released as the album's fourth single in February 1996. The single--consisting of two separate CDs--also included remixes of the song, "Isobel" and "Cover Me". Building on the success of "It's Oh So Quiet", the single debuted at No. 8 on the UK Singles Chart, becoming her third and last UK top 10 single. While "Hyperballad" dropped out of the Top 20 the following week, it remained in the Top 75 for a month. Some regions also included a double A-side single with the song "Enjoy", although it only received a number of promo remixes. "Enjoy" was also included on a limited edition 12" double A-side with "Possibly Maybe" (the former remixed by Dom T. and the latter by Mark Bell). In 1996, Björk took part in Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, conducted by Kent Nagano and the Opera orchestra of Lyon. "Possibly Maybe" was released as Posts fifth single on 28 October 1996, to coincide with Björk's tour dates in South America and South Africa. Stéphane Sednaoui directed the music video for the track, which concerns his failed relationship with Björk. "Possibly Maybe" was released as several 12" records and three different CD releases. It debuted at No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks in the UK Top 75. "I Miss You" was released as Posts sixth and final single on 24 February 1997. It is among her worst-performing singles in the UK, but it rose to number one on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play.
In November 1996, Björk released the "often-delayed" remix project Telegram, which contained reworkings of several songs from Post, with her voice re-recorded.Telegram has been described as "effectively a completely new album". Author Mark Pytlik writes, "Promises of a Post remix album had been circulating since the release of "Army of Me" in April 1995. To compensate, Björk announced the release of a string of 12" remixes beginning in June, limited to only 1,000 copies each. Producers and musicians featured on Telegram include: Dillinja, Eumir Deodato, LFO, and Graham Massey, among others; Björk only remixed "You've Been Flirting Again" herself. The album also contains a new composition, "My Spine", a collaboration with British percussionist Evelyn Glennie. According to CMJ New Music Monthly, musically the album contains "a real and surprising taste for recent trends in dance music". Regarding the release, Björk said: "It's like the core of Post. That's why it's funny to call it a remix album, it's like the opposite. [...] Telegram is more stark, naked. Not trying to make it pretty or peaceable for the ear. Just a record I would buy myself". Björk also declared that the release of Telegram meant the end of an era consisting of Debut and Post. At the release of the compilation, Björk was already relocating to Spain to produce her next studio album solely by herself. The compilation was well received by music critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic wrote, "Telegram works as an excellent introduction to techno for alternative pop fans unsure of where to begin exploring." Douglas Wolk of CMJ New Music Monthly felt the music of Telegram was "actually better than Post", describing the tracks as, "well-considered reworkings". The Rolling Stone Album Guide gave the album three and a half stars, and stated it, "shed new light on the songs".Telegram spent five weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at the 66th spot. In the UK, it peaked at the 59th spot, spending two weeks in the albums chart.
During this period of commercial success, the extensive media attention and "the stress of the grand tour" began to affect Björk, as she repeatedly complained about the intrusiveness of tabloids and reporters. During the Asian leg of the Post Tour, Björk arrived at Bangkok International Airport with her son Sindri after a long haul flight; reporters were present, despite Björk's earlier request that the press leave her and her son alone until she held a press conference. While she was walking away from the reporters, Julie Kaufman began to ask Sindri questions; this angered Björk, who lunged at Kaufman, knocking her to the ground. Björk's record company said that the reporter had been pestering her for four days. She later apologised to Kaufman, who declined to involve the police. The televised incident generated unwanted attention, as did the suicide of Björk's stalker Ricardo López, which caused a media sensation. On 12 September, López sent a letter bomb rigged with sulfuric acid to Björk's residence in London, returned home and filmed his suicide. After viewing his video diary, police contacted Scotland Yard, who intercepted the package without incident. To record in privacy away from the unwanted interest of the press, Björk's tour drummer Trevor Morais offered his studio in Málaga, Spain for Björk to record what would be Homogenic. Björk had begun the first sessions of the album in 1996, at her Maida Vale residence, after the completion of the extensive Post Tour gave her an urgent need to write new songs as a form of therapy.
In 2005, the UNICEF charity record Army of Me: Remixes and Covers was released; it is a collection of seventeen eclectic remixes of "Army of Me". All profits went directly to the charity, to assist the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami.Live at Shepherds Bush Empire was released as a VHS in November, 1998, containing the last performance of the Post Tour, which took place at Shepherds Bush Empire in February 1997.Post Live, a live album consisting of songs recorded during the Post Tour, was included in the 2003 box set Live Box. The 2002 box set Family Tree includes demos and alternate versions of various tracks off the album.Post has been reissued several times, adapting to different formats such as colored records, 180g vinyl, and DualDisc. A remastered version of the album in surround sound was included in the box set Surrounded, which was released in 2006 on Elektra Records. In 2012, Universal Japan issued a limited edition of Debut and Post together as one compilation . In 2008, when asked how she felt about the album in retrospect, Björk reflected: "I listened to [Post] when we did the surround mixes of it like two or three years ago and I have to say I was kinda surprised how the odd spastic thing of the album had actually aged well. I was very aware of it at the time that I needed to be musically promiscuous and have almost every song [a] different mood/style and so on."
Post "came fully equipped" with six music videos, one for each single, many of which have gone on to become classics--most notably "It's Oh So Quiet" and "Army of Me". At the time of its release--and since the new wave era--music videos were an essential part of an artist's commercial success, as evident in the popularity of MTV, a channel with a primarily young audience. Music videos also began to be used as an art form, and Björk's visual output during this period--and her career in general--have become a clear example of the medium's artistic legitimation. Spanish writer Estíbaliz Pérez Asperilla has identified recurring motifs and themes through Björk's videography; these include nature, a magnified depiction of Björk, and spirituality.Surrealism and technology have also been identified as recurring features in Björk's visual output of this period. David Ehrlich of Time Out wrote, "In addition to being one of the first artists to meaningfully explore the aesthetic and semiotic value of CG and its relationship to the body, Björk has collaborated with the likes of Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze and Chris Cunningham, pushing these directors toward their potential." Writing for Paste, Alexa Carrasco felt, "Björk has created some of the most beautiful and weird videos to ever play on MTV."
Michel Gondry, who had directed the clip for Björk's debut single, "Human Behaviour", directed the music videos for "Army of Me", "Isobel" and "Hyperballad". "Army of Me" begins with Björk driving a massive truck, which has been described as "alternately [looking] like an overgrown SUV and a science fiction tank". Elements of cyberpunk--reflecting the industrial sonority of the song--have also been noted in the clip. The video then depicts Björk attending the dentist (a gorilla), since she has a toothache. The "dentist" finds a diamond inside her mouth. Björk said,
... And when Michel gets his strokes of genius and, in the video for "Army of Me", wants a dentist that's a gorilla to find a diamond in my mouth, some people call it nonsense. But it's probably the most realistic way of expressing what situation I'm in - all these people trying to take things away from me, and the gorilla finding a diamond that I don't know I have and then stealing it. "Army of Me" is so much about me actually learning that I have to defend myself. I have to stand up and fight the fucking gorilla. Once I've got the diamond and I run away with it, it becomes massive 'cos it's mine. But if the gorilla had kept it, it would have gone really tiny. That's surrealism for me.
By throwing the diamond inside the truck's "mouth", Björk fixes the problems the vehicle had. She then goes to an art museum, where her loved one is held on display. The video comes to an end as Björk plants a bomb in the museum and, after the explosion, "comes and retrieves her loved one, crying small diamonds onto his shoulder". Regarding the music video, Lainna Fader of LA Weekly wrote, "of the seven videos [Gondry] directed for her, "Army of Me" is probably the creepiest". On 13 May 1995, Billboard wrote it was, "visually striking". At the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards, "Army of Me" was nominated for Best Special Effects in a Video and the International Viewer's Choice Award.
The music video for "Isobel" was filmed for two days in a forest in Dolgellau, near Llangollen, Wales. The crew used a Mitchell S35 camera with varispeed to be able to rewind the camera and do superimpositions and masks, inspired by Georges Méliès' work. The final music video was projected in 35mm for the crew in a cinema in London; with its varying exposures, lighting effects and monochromatic scheme, it resembles an early film. "Isobel" represents the story of the title character Björk envisioned with Sjón. It tells the story of "a wild child discovering urban culture through installations of toy fighter planes", over lush superimposed imagery. Like in the lyrics, where Björk takes the role of narrator and protagonist, she plays two different parts in the music video: Björk is seen as the Isobel who "weaves and composes this world and this story on her organ", and as the Isobel who inhabits this primal world. Water is the primary feature of her world, Gondry using it as a dreamy transition tool between scenes. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine included the video in his list of the Top 10 Björk Music Videos, describing it as "surreal [and] visually striking". Ed Gonzalez of the same publication described it as "Jean Epstein-ian kabuki horror." The music video for "Hyperballad" has been described as "a techno-dream visual story full of flashing lights, buzzing static, and holograms." It shows Björk as "a character running through a landscape that simulates that of a computer game, only to throw herself off a cliff." The clip is an attempt to reflect the song's story, so Gondry depicted Björk lying down as a dead body, with a holographic image of her singing superimposed on her.Rick Poynor writes, "White metamorphosed her head, using cyberscan data, into a stone." The video demonstrated the musician's "[embrace of] the computer's shape-shifting powers." Music writer Carol Vernallis felt Gondry developed texture with an aesthetic that does not become "too coy or sickly sweet" by incorporating "a whiff of death"; pointing out that in the video, "Björk's head resembles a death mask".Henry Keazor and Thorsten Wübbena considered that the clip "[has] taught us that electronic bodies are rather intangible, dematerialized, purer in a certain way." The music video, with its play on the boundaries between real and virtual, has been absorbed by club culture, as a representative of the scene's visual forms of expression.
Spike Jonze directed the music video for "It's Oh So Quiet", a homage to Hollywood's Technicolor musicals that drew inspiration from Busby Berkeley and Jacques Demy's The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Like Demy, Jonze "mines the magical from the mundane," as he transforms a drab auto shop into the location where Björk dances and sings with a full dance company, an attempt to reflect the "exuberance" of her vocal performance. The whispered verse sections of the track are filmed in slow motion, "much as Tsai's cinematography takes place over an extended timeframe"; while the shouted musical sections "reflect back on ordinary or "lived" reality in a manner that denaturalizes the banal - turning it, more than the fantasy of musical spectacle, into something surreal." In his book An Eye for Music: Popular Music and the Audiovisual Surreal, John Richardson stated that "Björk's music videos and her work as an actress in Dancer become interreferential to a considerable extent because of ["It's Oh So Quiet"]." The popularity of the music video made "It's Oh So Quiet" one of Björk's most ubiquitous tracks. It was nominated for the Best Music Video award at the 38th Annual Grammys, losing to Janet and Michael Jackson's "Scream". At the 1996 MTV Video Music Awards, the video was awarded the Best Choreography in a Video VMA, and was nominated for Best Female Video, Breakthrough Video, Best Direction, Best Art Direction in a Video, and International Viewer's Choice Award (MTV Europe).
French artist Stéphane Sednaoui directed the music video for "Possibly Maybe". Curiously, that song is about his failed relationship with Björk. Björk and Sednaoui had previously worked together in the iconic music video for "Big Time Sensuality". In the clip, she appears "as a goddess, floating out from a numinous light-streaked background." Sednaoui is known for having a particularly filmic technique for each of his clips; in "Possibly Maybe", the use of blacklighting "makes Björk glow sensuously and perversely". It was conceived in a theatrical way: nearly all of the scenes were filmed in the same space, which is transformed with changes in the mise en scène. The style of "Possibly Maybe"'s scenery and Björk's wardrobe reference East Asian imagery, and a Japanese traditional doll is featured as Björk's only accompaniment; as a silent witness, it is the object on which the protagonist casts reflections on her own identity. For the "I Miss You" music video, Björk contacted John Kricfalusi of Spümcø to make the animation, as she had long been an admirer of his Ren & Stimpy cartoons. The first edition of Telegraph, a fan magazine directed by Sjón, read: "To the horror of parents everywhere two of the most disturbed minds in show business [have] come together to make what they promise will be the silliest, most demoralizing and, as some depraved souls will undoubtedly say, funniest music video ever!" The colourful clip was done in Ren & Stimpy animation style, and was promptly censored on MTV because of its nudity and violence.
All of Posts music videos were included on the 1998 video release Volumen, and its 2002 reissue Volumen Plus. They also appear on Greatest Hits - Volumen 1993-2003, a release that includes the videos featured on Volumen and Volumen Plus. They are also featured on video compilations of its directors, including The Work of Director Chris Cunningham, The Work of Director Michel Gondry and The Work of Director Spike Jonze, all of them from 2003. The music videos--and the iconic pink boots Björk wears in "Hyperballad" (the work of Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck)--were displayed in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, as part of a 2015 exhibition focused on Björk. They were also featured in the 2016 exhibition, Björk Digital, which premiered at Carriageworks as part of the Vivid Sydney festival.
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The Village Voice||C+|
Upon its release, Post received universal acclaim from music critics. Lorraine Ali of Rolling Stone praised the album for providing a "much-needed escape route" from the alternative rock offerings of the early 1990s, and for successfully merging disparate styles. She concluded: "When Post comes to an end, it feels like getting back from a good vacation: the last thing you want to do is re-enter the real world". Comparing it to Björk's previous studio album Debut, Slant Magazines Eric Henderson felt Post "upped the ante by plugging listeners into the diverse pop mixtape playing inside her mind". In the end, he argued that it "will likely always remain the Björk album that most successfully sustains her winning balance of experimental whimsy and solid pop magic". Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Jim Farber stated that despite Posts "bizarre" combination of diverse genres, the conviction of Björk's delivery and assuring hooks "[made] her most surreal passages as relatable as moon-June standards". He felt that Björk "[reinvented] that tradition, constructing standards for the cyber age".
Joy Press, who reviewed the album for The New York Times, praised the album for not being a "play-safe sequel" to Debut, pointing out that Björk, "[had] followed her most wonderfully wayward impulses".Los Angeles Times critic Richard Cromelin felt that Post was "an often heady mix of trendiness and nostalgia" that was capable of transcending Björk's self-consciousness.Greg Kot of the Chicago Tribune found the album's backing tracks to be "even more varied and unusual" than on Debut, describing Björk as "an extra-terrestrial voice rummaging around in a sonic toybox".Spins Barry Walters felt the album was an improvement over its predecessor, stating its songs were "stronger, more developed, and less reliant on Björk's wide-eyed delivery". He concluded that: "After years of (no) alternative fascist grunge domination, it's heartening that Björk and producer-co-songwriter Nellee Hooper stayed true to themselves and created another highly personal album that has a chance of interrupting the airwave flow of whiny rockers with little imagination".
Heather Phares of AllMusic felt that the record was "not simply Debut redux", concluding: "The work of a constantly changing artist, Post proves that as Björk moves toward more ambitious, complex music, she always surpasses herself". Writing for MTV Online, Lou Stathis wrote that, "[it's mostly] Björk's wacky, mind-altered perspective that makes Post modern pop music at once both baffling and engaging". He believed that the album was a rewarding experience for both the casual consumer, as well as the serious listener, also pointing out that, "it not only sounds good while you're listening to it, but it leaves you feeling good when it's over, too".Robert Christgau, reviewing the album for The Village Voice, was less enthusiastic. He felt that Björk "[rekindled his] primeval suspicion of Europeans who presume to "improve" on rock and roll," criticizing her "self-involved vocal devices" and poor grasp of the English language. He gave Post a C+ rating, meaning he considered it "a not disreputable performance, most likely a failed experiment or a pleasant piece of hackwork."MusicHound awarded the album two out of five stars.
By the end of 1995, Post appeared on the year-end lists of several publications, including Les Inrockuptibles, Melody Maker, NME, The Wire, Rolling Stone and Spin, among others. At the 1995 Icelandic Music Awards, Post received the award for Album of the Year; Björk was also awarded Artist of the Year, Female Singer of the Year, Composer of the Year, and was nominated for Songwriter of the Year. Additionally, "Army of Me" received the Song of the Year award, with "Isobel" also being nominated. She also received the Best Female award at the 1995 MTV Europe Music Awards, and Best International Female at the Rockbjörnen Awards. Björk was also nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize. In 1996, she received her second Best International Female Solo Artist award at the 16th Brit Awards. She received the same distinction at the Danish Music Awards, the International Dance Music Awards, and the Italian Music Prize. In 1996, Post was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 38th Annual Grammy Awards, was awarded an IFPI Platinum Europe Award, and the ASCAP Vanguard Award given by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers.
Mostly successful in Europe, Post charted at the Top 10 of several countries, including Australia,Belgium,Canada,Denmark, the Netherlands,Finland,France,Germany,Ireland,New Zealand,Norway,Portugal,Sweden,Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.Post also reached the second spot of the now defunct European Top 100 Albums chart. With the album, Björk "edged closer to the U.S. pop mainstream", charting at number 32 in the Billboard 200, almost 30 places higher than Debuts peak position. The album also received an enthuastic reception from college radios.Post also charted at the Top 40 in Italy,Hungary and Japan. The album was certified Platinum in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Europe (IFPI); and Gold in Sweden and New Zealand. In 2007, The Washington Post reported that Post had sold 810,000 units in the United States according to Nielsen SoundScan. As of 2015 Post has sold 846,000 copies in United States according to Nielsen SoundScan. 
Post is widely regarded as one of the greatest albums of 1995 and the 1990s in general. It ranked highly in the end of year polls of French and German music magazines, including Les Inrockuptibles, Magic and Spex. In the United States and the United Kingdom, the record was also featured in several publications' lists of the best albums of the year and the best albums of the decade. In Village Voices Pazz & Jop critics' poll of 1995, the album placed at number seven. British magazines Mojo, Mixmag, Melody Maker, Select and The Face coincided on including Post in their end of year lists.Vibe included the album in its 1999 list of the 100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century.Slant considered it the second best album of the decade in a 2011 list, only behind Björk's next release, Homogenic, writing it: "is [her] most scatterbrained work to date, but it's tied together flawlessly by the singer's singular whimsicality". In 2003, Pitchfork listed it as the 20th best album of the decade, with William Morris writing, "few artists on this list could rival [Björk] in terms of innovation, vision, talent, and high-yield experimentation, and Post was the record to establish this. In a 2012 article, Paste considered Post to be the sixty-fourth best album of the decade, with Ryan Reed stating: "no Björk album is as weird (or weirdly wonderful) as 1995's Post, a dizzying whirlwind of sonic textures and stylistic shifts that demonstrates every facet of her ever-expanding bag of tricks. [...] Björk clearly aimed to demonstrate the meaninglessness of genre boundaries. She succeeded." The British avant-garde music magazine The Wire included the album in its 2007 list of the 50 Records of the Year.
Later reception to the album has also been generally positive. Post is the only Björk album included on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, ranked at number 376, with the publication praising its "utter lack of musical inhibition." The American publication Consequence of Sound placed the album at number seventy-nine on their 2010 list of the Top 100 Albums Ever. In 2015, Post placed on number 69 on Spins list of the 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years, claiming that "[Björk's] fearless plunge into styles is matched by the aplomb with which she bares her anxieties and aspirations." Celebrating the album's 20th anniversary, the British magazine NME described it as, "a masterful matching of hard, up-to-the-minute beats with complex, personal lyrics about the rush and rage of being a modern urban woman". American writer Tom Moon included Post in his 2008 reference book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Also in 2008, FNAC placed the album at number 246 in its list of the 1000 best albums of all time.Entertainment Weekly included the album in its 2013 list of the 100 Greatest Albums Ever at number 78. In an unordered list of 500 essential albums compiled for Vanity Fair in 2013, English musician Elvis Costello included Post and mentioned "Hyperballad" as a highlight of the record. In the album's entry of the "Women Who Rock: The 50 Greatest Albums of All Time" list of 2012, Rolling Stone felt, "Björk's artistic stature grew by yards in the course of this strange, affecting work, by turns harshly industrial, meditative and neon jubilant."
The album's influence has been identified as being increasingly palpable on the contemporary music landscape, and later reviews of the album also make note of the timeless aspect of the music. According to Upma Kapoor, Post "[dropped] and [shifted] the status quo on how to produce and promote experimental music". Writing for The Daily Review, James Rose wrote in 2015:
Post is where mainstream music could have gone. While modern chart music hasn't gone there entirely, Björk opened up the space for a more enigmatic and less readily labelled style; she undoubtedly helped broaden the playing field. Modern music still, regularly, finds itself, like a dinosaur stuck in a tar pit, going nowhere and heading for extinction. Yet, there are pockets of air that artists like Björk - and those before her like Kate Bush - have pumped full of oxygen for the next generations of rare, raw and intense female talents - the Lordes and Sias of the world - to breath. In this way, the album title is a misnomer. Björk was a precursor rather than a late comer, less post than pre. Post stands today as a body of work that still informs the more marginal artistic fringes of modern music and reminds us how narrow and staid our world would be without outliers like Björk.
Also in 2015, Andrew Shaw of Nerdist felt that Post "chose to ignore expectation, market restrictions, and contemporary trends", and that Björk "pushed her vocal performances into new places, where no other vocalists could dare to sing". He compared the album's impact on audiences to that of Jimi Hendrix's 1967 album, Are You Experienced, writing it "set the benchmark for what was possible when you take tradition and set it on fire". Shaw also argued that the album was a classic and "simply genius"; considering "the masterstroke of the collection is in the thread that ties each disparate view into one singular perspective".David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors is an admirer of the record, stating he was influenced by Björk's deconstruction of classic melodies. American singer-songwriter Amy Lee has said Post is "one of the biggest records in [her] life".
DJ Shadow sampled "Possibly Maybe" in "Mutual Slump", a track off his 1996 magnum opus, Endtroducing...... "Army of Me" has been covered by several heavy metal acts, including Helmet, Caliban and Interzone. The Vitamin String Quartet--known for its series of tribute albums to rock and pop acts--covered "Army of Me" and "You've Been Flirting Again" in the 2001 album, Ice: The String Tribute to Björk. In 2008, Stereogum released a compilation of cover versions in homage to the album, titled Enjoyed: A Tribute to Björk's Post. It features: Dirty Projectors, Liars, Xiu Xiu, High Places and Atlas Sound, among other artists.
|Juice||Australia||The 50 Best Albums of All Time||1997||45|
|The 100 (+34) Greatest Albums of the 90s||1999||3|
|HUMO||Belgium||Albums of the Year||1995||10|
|Studio Brussel||The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, Nominations||2015||*|
|Toronto Sun||Canada||The Best Albums from 1971 to 2000||2001||*|
|Hervé Bourhis||France||555 Records||2007||*|
|Christophe Brault||Top 20 Albums by Year 1964-2004||2006||12|
|FNAC||The 1000 Best Albums of All Time||2008||246|
|Les Inrockuptibles||Albums of the Year||1995||*|
|Gilles Verlant||300+ Best Albums in the History of Rock||2013||*|
|Musik Express/Sounds||Germany||Albums of the Year||1995||1|
|Rolling Stone||The Best Albums of 5 Decades||1997||101|
|RoRoRo Rock-Lexicon||Most Recommended Albums||2003||*|
|Spex||Albums of the Year||1995||12|
|Giannis Petridis||Greece||2004 of the Best Albums of the Century||2003||*|
|Sentire Ascoltare||Italy||The 35 Best Rock Albums of the 1990s||2014||25|
|OOR||Netherlands||Albums of the Year||1995||34|
|Screenagers||Poland||Top 100 Albums of the 90s||2005||24|
|Rockdelux||Spain||Albums of the Year||1995||6|
|The 300 (+200) Best Albums from 1984-2014||2014||112|
|Pop||Sweden||Albums of the Year||1995||8|
|The 100 Greatest Albums of Our Lifetime 1993-2006||2006||53|
|Gary Mulholland||261 Greatest Albums Since Punk and Disco||*|
|NME||Albums of the Year||1995||35|
|Nominations For the Best Albums of the 1990s||2012||*|
|No Ripcord||Top Albums 1990-1999||2013||35|
|Select||Albums of the Year||1995||31|
|Barnes & Noble||United States||The Best Music of the 20th Century||1999||*|
|Consequence of Sound||Top 100 Albums Ever||2010||79|
|Elvis Costello||500 Albums You Need||2000||*|
|Entertainment Weekly||The 100 All-Time Greatest Albums||2013||78|
|Fast 'n' Bulbous||The 1000 Best Albums of All Time||2015||568|
|Tom Moon||1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die||2008||*|
|Music Underwater||Top 100 Albums 1990-2003||2004||72|
|Nude as the News||The 100 Most Compelling Albums of the 90s||1999||15|
|Los Angeles Times||Albums of the Year||1995||7|
|Paste||The 90 Best Albums of the 1990s||2012||64|
|Pause & Play||The 90s Top 100 Essential Albums||1999||11|
|Pitchfork||Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1990s||1999||35|
|Popblerd/bLISTerd||Top 100 Albums of the 1990s||2012||78|
|Rolling Stone||Albums of the Year||1995||8|
|The Essential Recordings of the 90s||1999||*|
|50 Essential Female Albums||2002||43|
|The 100 Greatest Albums of the 90s||2010||81|
|Women Who Rock: 50 Greatest Albums||2012||38|
|The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time||2012||376|
|SheWired||The 100 Greatest Lesbian Albums of All Time||2011||63|
|Slant||The 100 Best Albums of the 1990s||2011||2|
|Spin||Albums of the Year||1995||13|
|Top 90 Albums of the 90s||1999||7|
|Top 100 Albums of the Last 20 Years||2005||26|
|The 125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years||2010||75|
|The 300 Best Albums of the Past 30 Years||2015||69|
|Treble||Top 100 Albums of the 90s (10 per Year)||2008||3|
|Vibe||100 Essential Albums of the 20th Century||1999||*|
|(*) designates lists that are unordered.|
|1.||"Army of Me"||
|3.||"The Modern Things"||
|4.||"It's Oh So Quiet"||
|6.||"You've Been Flirting Again"||Björk||Björk||2:29|
|3.||"I Miss You"||
|Japanese bonus track|
|12.||"I Go Humble"||
|Limited tour edition bonus disc released in Australia, Taiwan and Thailand|
|2.||"Venus as a Boy" (Harpsichord version)||Björk||
|3.||"Hyperballad" (Brodsky Quartet version)||Björk||
'Army Of Me' ... the first release to be taken from her second solo album proper, 'Post'