Songs to the Siren

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Ammæli (Birthday)

Sugarcubes (Sykurmolarnir)

August 1987 (single, in English). April 1988 (LP, in English)🇮🇸

As the début single from Icelandic band Sugarcubes (originally Sykurmolarnir in their native language), this was the first chance most of us got to hear the inestimable talent of Björk Guðmundsdóttir.

Obviously it was released in English too, but the original Icelandic version just sounds perfect to me.

When I first heard this track, I was massively excited about this new talent, and Björk remains one of the most interesting artists performing today.

Something in the back of my mind is telling me that the Icelandic version is the first one I heard, on a TV show - if this is not a false memory, then it would probably have been SnubTV.

The English version was a fairly straight translation of the original (I don’t speak Icelandic but can use Google Translate).

But whatever the language, in 1987 this was a sound unlike anything else I’d heard. In vocalist Björk, The Sugarcubes introduced us to a unique voice and musical creativity that would go on to surprise and impress time and time again to this day.

The début album Life’s Too Good is only 33 minutes long, even with the obligatory 80s “hidden” CD track. But there are some spectacularly original and tuneful pieces on it. In addition to singles Cold Sweat and Deus, check out Blue Eyed Pop - never released as a single but it really should have been. That track nicely illustrates another factor that made The Sugarcubes great - the vocal interaction between Björk and fellow vocalist Einar Örn.