217. Bjork – ‘Play Dead’ (1993)

“Darling, stop confusing me
With your wishful thinking”

Taken from the album The Young Americans: Original Soundtrack

UK #12, AUS #65

People often say that they wish Bjork could do a James Bond theme, but I think that’s sort of a weird thing to say because she has, it just wasn’t used for a Bond film. From the soundtrack of The Young Americans and made with composer David Arnold, ‘Play Dead’ is one of Bjork’s most intense and cinematic moments, a clear influence on the massive-sounding music she would make on Post and Homogenic.

‘Play Dead’ also has a wonderful hook line with a sentiment that never would have fit into a Bond film – “I play dead, it stops the hurting”. Your emo lines don’t get much depressing than that, choosing a state of complete numbness over feeling anything at all. In the hands of anyone else it would be mawkish, uncomfortable, but as usual with Bjork she takes something and makes it feel more important, more serious than it really is.

The swirling, epic production jumps and swoops behind Bjork as she tries her very best to stick to the lyrics. Sometimes, however, she can’t help it and explodes into one of her wordless yelps, which are often more emotional than when she sings real words. Released as a single from the soundtrack and tacked onto the end of Debut in some markets, ‘Play Dead’ is one of Bjork’s highest charting singles and a grand statement of an artist who wanted you to know she wasn’t just comfortable behind beats.

One Response to “217. Bjork – ‘Play Dead’ (1993)”

  1. Carl Fisk Says:

    From the second I heard this song earlier this year I thought it would be the perfect James Bond theme. Weird to know somebody also thinks the same. Made my day actually….

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