NEW YORK – There are usually two possible approaches to a greatest hits disc: Trust an artist to pick his or her best work or slap together the biggest-selling songs.
Leave it to Bjork to find a third way.
The quirky Icelandic singer asked her fans to vote, via the Internet, on which songs they wanted to see on the CD. The songs appear in the order they were chosen, opening with the biggest vote-getter ("All Is Full of Love") and ending with No. 15 ("It's in Our Hands").
"I was very pleased, when I saw the fans' voting, how similar it was to mine," Bjork said.
"I think somebody at my job can't ask for much more than that, that your fans see your work in a similar light as you do yourself. That's lucky, right?"
Much to Bjork's glee, the list didn't include her biggest-selling song: the big-band whirlwind "It's Oh So Quiet."
"I didn't write it," she said. "To put it on my disc and say it was some of my best work of 10 years, and it was somebody else's, feels like cheating to me."
On a six-CD box set released simultaneously this month with the single best-of disc, Bjork devotes one CD to her personal greatest-hit choices.
Working on the retrospective projects was a chore for Bjork, who likened the project to spring cleaning.
"I've got so much more respect now for librarians," she said.
One aspect of the job was instructive, however: She said time had justified many of her musical decisions, even when critics or people around her thought she was nuts.
"It's a magic riddle that happens when you are as selfish as you can be and you hit something," she said. "The things that I have done that have been the most selfish have ended up being the most universal."
Likely the biggest celebrity from her home country, Bjork grew up in a musical community that reveled in being Icelandic instead of trying to conform to ideas from the outside.
"In music school they have a tendency to want you to be disciplined and practice, and let go of your idiosyncrasies to play like everyone else plays," she said.
"That's a great thing for certain people. But if you want to write music, it's the worst thing that can happen to you, because you've been suffocated."