The Taranna Was Hot Series: Part 10/25
I like Björk. And when I saw this one in the 3-for-$10 bin at BMV, it was a sure shot to my collection so fast I’m pretty sure the planet shifted slightly in my rush.
And that was me not even knowing anything about it. Who was the Trió Gudmundar Ingólfssonar? What the heck is a Gling-Gló?
Google translate tells me that Gling means ‘conference’ in Icelandic. And Glo… means ‘glo.’ So, um… maybe it’s a slang. Now, Wiki says: Gling-Gló is an Icelandic onomatopoeia whose English equivalent is “Ding Dong,” or the sound that a bell makes. So I’ll leave to decide for yourself.
No matter. Here’s the deal with this fantastic record: take what you know about how Björk sings, her inimitable voice and attack and everything it entails, and then apply it to a piano jazz bar band. Yes, this record seems like it has come to you straight from the lobby of the Reykjavík Holiday Inn on a Saturday night.
To save me all the work, Wiki says this:
Gling-Gló contains Icelandic themes, and most of the songs are sung in Icelandic. There are also five versions of English language songs by other artists: “Ruby Baby,” by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, and the jazz standard “I Can’t Help Loving That Man”, by Oscar Hammerstein II and Jerome Kern; and in Icelandic “Það sést ekki sætari mey”, which means in English “There Is No Sweeter Girl”, and is misattributed in the album notes and on the CD as having been written by “Rogers/Hammerstein”, but is in reality a completely reworded cover of “You Can’t Get a Man with a Gun” by Irving Berlin from the famous musical Annie Get Your Gun. There is also the Icelandic version of Sway, Í dansi með þér. Additionally, “Bílavísur” is a reworked rendition of “The Blacksmith Blues,” first performed by Ella Mae Morse. “Ég veit ei hvað skal segja” is also a reworked rendition of “Ricochet Romance”, performed by the likes of June Carter Cash and Teresa Brewer. The title “Pabbi minn” is an Icelandic version of “O Mein Papa”.
Weird? Not really. Like everything else Björk does, it just works, whatever it may be. And I really enjoyed this album a ton. Never mind that I didn’t understand some of the lyrics (a good portion of it is in Icelandic, with a few English tracks), it doesn’t matter at all. This is super-groovy, jazzy fun, Björk-style.
Two thumbs way up.
From the classic Debut album, Venus As A Boy is a funky little ditty with strings, and all those inimitable Bjork touches we know so well.
This EP has some extra tracks from the period, which makes me happy. First up is the Edited LP Version of the title track, and then it’s Stigu Mig, which is a short little noodle of a tune. Stong vocals over guitar washes. Sounds like an idea for a bigger song thrown onto tape. Cool.
Next it’s a 12:04 Underworld Remix 110bpm of Human Behaviour. Now this was an expedition! Tribal-like drums bring us into a build as elements are added. Lots of blips and bleeps, some added vocal stabs from some guy… It’s OK. I can hear this playing in the background in a trendy restaurant in Montreal on a summer Friday night, when all the beautiful people are out and dressed to the nines, paying too much for food and drinks.
There’s More To Life Than This (Non Toilet Mix) is next. The album track is a fun party track (she even goes out to the car for a bit haha). I always found the party people talking background noise distracting. This track fixes that up by removing it completely. It’s true that there’s more to life than a driving disco track like this, but it’s simple fun all the same.
Venus As A Boy (Anglo American Extension) slows things way down, turns it into a Portishead-like beauty. Damn, I think I like this version better than the album version! And finally, it’s I Remember You, a harp-driven throwback to the likes of Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. Proof that Bjork’s vocals are one of a kind, and they suit that type of track beautifully!
The last two tracks were the best, but I appreciated hearing everything here. Neat!