For her first TV appearance in about eight years on Tuesday night, Björk performed two songs on the UK’s Later...with Jools Holland. Wearing a 3D-printed mask that looked like an intricately decorated cake cum vulva, she stood with her all-women flute band in the middle of what looked like an ’80s garden center (heavy Gremlins climax vibes). She sounded terrific.
It’s crazy how well her voice has held up in the 30 years since the release of the Sugarcubes’ Life’s Too Good, especially given how much straight wailing she’s done during that time. Last night, she performed “The Anchor Song,” from 1993's Debut. It’s a track she’s dressed up like a doll throughout the years, outfitting it in whatever sound motif she’s pursuing that era. For Debut live gigs, she did it with brass, then an accordion when she toured Post, all strings when she promoted Homogenic, and all acapella in 1999. This time it’s flutes, and it was just as lovely as always. Twenty five years later and that song still gets to me.
Maybe it was the sound mix on the show, but the flute backing sounded lusher, less harsh live than it did on 2017's Utopia. She did “Courtship” from that album. Also good!
An extended version of this episode will air Saturday and is expected to include another performance, according to NME.