There is nothing about this woman that should be mainstream acceptable. She grew up in Iceland and became global known, but how? I’ve dug up all her old albums, inspired by her new song “Crystalline,” which is freaking great.

It’s not her success I admire, or even her talent and creativity. I find her impressive because she really seems to be doing whatever her weird, elf-inner-self is telling her. She is doing whatever she wants. She’s not a commercial artist. Like there’s no Benny manager a la J. Lo on wearing a low-cut number to the Grammys. She works on music all the time because it seems like because she has a gazillion ideas for songs. She also mentors other musicians, but it’s not like Usher nurturing baby Bieber. She takes an interest in goat herder THROAT SINGERS she finds in the mountains and brings them on tour. No one is going to make a dime off of those choices.

Her voice alone is unique. It’s very expressive, but she has a wood-creature accent and will coo or scream through some notes, making up for such a wild sound that you don’t think there’s any training or technical thought going on. It sounds so instinctive, home-grown, self-taught, but she actually studies regularly with an opera teacher. WHAT?

She’s different-weird from say Lady Gaga, who I think very deliberately cultivates an outrageous image and fan base. Gaga is also creative and smart, but she extremely aware of what she says, what language is going to get her the most press. I like her too, but her music absolutely sounds like a product geared toward a demographic rather than a product of an artist. Bjork, however, wears that swan dress on the red carpet. (She and Cindy Sherman were like the only clients of these series of dresses that had foam sculpture in the fabric, which made the wearer look like they had giant tumors growing on their body.) I still remember this Bjork interview with a glib TV reporter When asked if she loved acting, with Dancer in the Dark (which made me a wreck), she said very simply, with absolutely no guile, that she hated acting and hoped she never had to do it again. The reporter had no idea how to handle it. How much do I love that?

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