Violently Happy (1993)
A ton of Bjork
Björk first came to prominence as one of the lead vocalists of the avant-pop Icelandic sextet the Sugarcubes, but when she launched a solo career after the group's 1992 demise, she quickly eclipsed her old band's popularity. Instead of following in the Sugarcubes' arty guitar rock pretensions, Björk immersed herself in dance and club culture, working with many of the biggest names in the genre, including Nellee Hooper, Underworld, and Tricky. Debut, her first solo effort (except for an Icelandic-only smash released when she was just 11 years old), not only established her new artistic direction, but it became an international hit, making her one of the '90s most unlikely stars.
Following the breakup of the group, Björk moved to London, where she began pursuing a dance-oriented solo career. The previous year, she had sung on 808 State's "Ooops," which sparked her interest in club and house music. Björk struck up a working relationship with Nellee Hooper, a producer who had formerly worked with Soul II Soul and Massive Attack. The first result of their partnership was "Human Behaviour," which was released in June of 1993. "Human Behaviour" became a Top 40 hit in the U.K., setting the stage for the surprising number three debut of the full-length album, Debut. Throughout 1993, Björk had hit U.K. singles — including "Venus as a Boy," "Big Time Sensuality," and the non-LP "Play Dead," a collaboration with David Arnold taken from the film Young Americans — as well as modern rock radio hits in the U.S., and in both countries she earned rave reviews. At the end of the year, NME magazine named Debut the album of the year, while she won International Female Solo Artist and Newcomer at the BRIT Awards; Debut went gold in the U.S. and platinum in the U.K.