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Greatest Hits
Human Behaviour
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"Human Behaviour" is Icelandic singer and songwriter Björk's first solo single, taken from the album Debut (1993). The song was released in June 1993. The song was produced by Björk's longtime collaborator Nellee Hooper. Human Behaviour is an alternative song with lyrics reflecting upon human nature and emotion from a non-human animal's point of view. The song and music video were inspired by British broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough.

Critics praised "Human Behaviour" and deemed it as a highlight of the album. The song was an underground smash, which peaked at number two on the dance charts and reached #36 in the UK Singles Chart.

The music video was directed by Michel Gondry and is the first time the two collaborated. The video, as the song, is a story about the relation between humans and animals, from the animal point of view.

"Human Behaviour" was written by Nellee Hooper & Björk, and was produced by Hooper. The song was first written in 1988 when Björk was still the leading singer of the Sugarcubes, but she decided not to release it with the band.

The song was inspired by David Attenborough documentaries and by the relation between humans and animals. Björk explained to Rolling Stone, talking about the inspiration for the song: "'Human Behaviour' is an animal's point of view on humans. And the animals are definitely supposed to win in the end." On a recent Q&A with fans on The Guardian website, Björk revealed more information about the writing of the song: "I wrote it I was referring to my childhood and probably talking about how I felt more comfortable on my own walking outside singing and stuff than hanging out with humans..."

This is the first song on the "Isobel song cycle", a transcendental cycle in Björk's discography which goes from "Human Behaviour" to "Wanderlust" (2007).

The B-side contained in the cassette edition of the single is the reggae-influenced "Atlantic", which was produced and written by Björk. Its lyrics talks about Björk's family: "My son has eight grandmothers and eight grandfathers and it's about the love and the complications of that".

"Human Behaviour" bears influences from electronica and alternative dance. The melody-line of "Human Behaviour" was originally called "Murder for Two" and written by Björk for the Sugarcubes' final album "Stick Around for Joy". But The band didn't know what music to play to the melody-line, so Björk used it for her debut album.

The percussion intro is a mix between African and Asian rhythms and contains a sample from "Go down dying" by Brazilian artist Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The song opens with sounds of drums and snapping, during the second verse a bass is heard. Björk sings the bridge accompanied by strings. The song continues with a keyboard solo and finishes as Björk sings "There's definitely, definitely, definitely no logic/Human..."

In the album version, as the song fades out, the second track "Crying" begins.

The song was well received by music critics. For Allmusic's Heather Pares, the song's "dramatic percussion provides a perfect showcase for her wide-ranging voice". The New York Times described the lyrics of "Human Behaviour" as a "parallel between the beastliness of humanity and the bestiality of nature.

"After The Sugarcubes, I guess I had a mixture of liberation and fear. It had been obvious for a while in the band that I had different tastes than the rest. That's fair enough - there's no such thing as correct taste. I wrote the melody for Human Behaviour as a kid. A lot of the melodies on Debut I wrote as a teenager and put aside because I was in punk bands and they weren't punk. The lyric is almost like a child's point of view and the video that I did with Michel Gondry was based on childhood memories."
—Björk talking to David Hemingway about the song.

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Alternative Rock




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Michel Gondry

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