1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die: The Sugarcubes – “Birthday”


Year: 1987

Album: Life’s Too Good

The international debut single from Iceland’s The Sugarcubes, in addition to being a great song, is importantĀ because it introduced to the world a young female singer named Bjork, and we’ve never been the same since.

Even at the young age of 22, she was a strong singer who had an incredible range from innocent softness to intense howl, which is demonstrated a minute into the song. But if you’re put off by Bjork’s strangeness, this song is much more accessible than her later solo work. Who knows, you might like this song so much that you’ll be excited about the new Bjork album.

Don’t bother trying to sing along with the song though (“I can’t understand what ‘Birthday’ is about. I always write the melodies, then the words come later. I’m not a poet…I just translate feeling into words.” she toldĀ Exposure).

Playlist: 20 Songs For November 2014

This month’s playlist includes a 22-year-old Bjork, my favorite St. Vincent song, a seven-minute David Bowie jazz song (!), and more. Happy holidays!