The 15 Best Björk Music Videos

One of pop music’s most forward-minded performers, Björk has always been at the forefront of the video medium.


Though Björk had enjoyed minor cult fame as the lead singer of the prog-punk band the Sugarcubes, it only took one solo album to solidify the Icelandic artist as a viable pop iconoclast. The plainly titled Debut and its accompanying music videos showcased the endlessly fascinating sides to Björk’s offbeat persona, from sweater-clad explorer (“Human Behaviour”) to trailer-hitch improvisational performance artist (“Big Time Sensuality”). Subsequent eras found the singer delving deeper into surrealism (“Army of Me”), technology (“Hyperballad”), and, occasionally, raw performance (“Pagan Poetry” and “Black Lake”). One of pop music’s most forward-thinking performers, Björk has always been at the forefront of the video medium, a true multimedia pioneer whose influence can be seen in the work of Arca, FKA twigs, and countless others who have followed her wake.

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15. “Army of Me”

Directed by French filmmaker Michel Gondry, the video for “Army of Me,” the first single from 1995’s Post, is a surreal vision that complements the track’s call for self-sufficiency with a dreamlike, often nonsensical, narrative. On a mission to rescue a man from an art installation at a local museum, Björk drives a giant tank—a nod toward the film Tank Girl, in which the song is featured—through a cartoonish urban landscape, encountering a thieving gorilla-dentist who snatches a diamond from the singer’s mouth along the way. Sal Cinquemani


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14. “Human Behaviour”

Björk’s very first music video as a solo artist was also the start of a fruitful professional relationship with frequent collaborator Michel Gondry. “Human Behaviour,” in which the singer is chased by a stuffed bear in a twisted nod to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, literally set the stage for both of the respective auteurs’ careers. Cinquemani

13. “Crystalline”

The eighth (and, to date, most recent) collaboration between Björk and Michel Gondry, 2011’s “Crystalline” boasts a charmingly and deceptively simple concept—Björk portrays a lunar goddess-cum-club-kid overseeing a meteor shower on the surface of the moon like a musical conductor—that nods to both A Trip to the Moon and early stop-motion animation. Cinquemani


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12. “The Gate”

In the same sense that Stéphane Sednaoui’s interpretation of “Big Time Sensuality” stripped away everything extemporaneous to find more than enough in that essential Björkish energy, director Andrew Thomas Huang sees the spectrum of life itself within his muse and assigns it the only appropriate visual analogue. Dressed in a corrugated prism, Björk gets her groove back in a spasmic frenzy of pure, OLED fireworks. In “All Neon Like,” she promised to weave a “marvelous web of glow-in-the-dark threads,” and with “The Gate,” she’s delivered. Eric Henderson

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11. “Mutual Core”

Eric Henderson calls this video “little tectonic plate of horrors.” The lyrics to “Mutual Core” sometimes feel like Björk is reading from a science textbook (“As fast as your fingernail grows/The Atlantic Ridge drifts”), but the video, a sort of sequel to the Gondry-directed 1997 clip for “Jóga,” brings the song to explosive life, with Björk, naturally, in the role of neglected Mother Nature. Cinquemani


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10. “Triumph of a Heart”

Letting off steam has never felt so touchingly conveyed as it does in this quirky and unexpectedly poetic rumination on the nature of affection and dependency. Ed Gonzalez

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9. “Black Lake”

Commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art for their Björk retrospective, Andrew Thomas Huang’s video for 2015’s “Black Lake” is a composite of two separate films that were projected on opposite sides of a room as part of a sound installation. Though the singer’s videos have become increasingly reliant on digital animation and special effects, the majority of the 10-minute “Black Lake” is stripped down to focus on Björk’s naked performance. Cinquemani


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8. “Hyperballad”

Director Michel Gondry created the video for “Hyperballad” using a composite of multiple exposures of two- and three-dimensional projections, a TV monitor, an LED strip board, and shots of Björk singing live. The singer is rendered as an 8-bit video game avatar that runs across a metropolis and jumps from a cliff, a literalization of the electronic ballad’s narrative that’s at once obvious and mind-bogglingly avant-garde. Cinquemani

7. “Declare Independence”

Michel Gondry’s videos come in two subtly distinct flavors: strictly arithmetical but nevertheless breathtaking in their mind-boggling execution, and arithmetical but inextricably bound to the human condition via narrative or allegory. “Declare Independence” falls into the latter category, Björk’s kaleidoscopic rage coloring the threads of a giant bass guitar via a megaphone while soldiers with the flags of Greenland and the Faroe Islands emblazoned on their shoulders declare their independence via rainbow-colored graffiti. Cinquemani



6. “Pagan Poetry”

Long before Lady Gaga donned Alexander McQueen and hired Nick Knight to direct her “Born This Way” music video, Björk was stirring up controversy with “Pagan Poetry,” which was banned by MTV in 2001. About a woman preparing herself for marriage, the clip features explicit scenes reportedly shot by the singer herself and a topless Björk literally sewing herself into her gown. Cinquemani


5. “Isobel”

With the surreal, visually striking “Isobel,” Björk and director Michel Gondry serve up Jean Epstein-ian kabuki horror. Its churning, waterlogged images speak to the awakening of the eponymous character’s interiority. Gonzalez


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4. “All Is Full of Love”

Chris Cunningham’s clip for 1999’s “All Is Full of Love” was the perfect pre-millennial precursor to our current gadget-assisted culture of self-love. When it was released, I thought it looked cool and stressed the importance of loving yourself. Now I think it’s a terrifying and sealed-off nightmare wherein you find out that you’re the only person who will ever love you. Henderson


3. “It’s Oh So Quiet”

This figuratively and literally weightless lark pays homage to the spring-loaded energy of the best film musicals. Director Spike Jonze admits to being influenced by Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, the 1964 Cannes Palm d’Or winner starring Catherine Deneuve. Interestingly, the film also inspired Lars von Trier’s own Palm d’Or winner, Dancer in the Dark, featuring both Deneuve and Björk. Cinquemani


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2. “Bachelorette”

Destiny plucks Björk from the obscurity of her forest home and her success story is exploited and re-exploited to where reality is no longer discernible from its aesthetic representation. With each staged adaptation of Björk’s bestselling book, My Story, we move further and further away from the truth of the forest nymph’s origins, so that it becomes someone else’s story. These reproductions turn on themselves, falling into an existential vortex that ushers in Björk’s return to nature. Björk cries, “I’m a fountain of blood in the shape of a girl!” Destiny rewrites itself and words disintegrate, as does the flesh. Gonzalez

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1. “Big Time Sensuality”

If Björk’s often high-concept videos sometimes seem hit or miss, it’s partly because her songs conjure a rich and intense imagery all their own. So it’s no surprise that, like “It’s Oh So Quiet,” the Icelandic singer’s best video is as simple as they come. The celebratory “Big Time Sensuality,” from 1993’s Debut, finds Björk cavorting playfully on the back of an 18-wheeler driving through Manhattan. Her famous childlike disposition is on unbridled display here as she makes New York her own personal playground. Cinquemani

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