The Sugarcubes

About Birthday

"Birthday" is a song written and recorded by Icelandic band the Sugarcubes. It was released as a single in 1987, and included in their 1988 debut album Life's Too Good. It was their first international single and the first single released from the album. The Icelandic version, "Ammæli", was released on the Iceland-only single "Einn Moli' Á Mann (One Cube Per Head)" the previous year and was included as the B-side on the international single. After "Birthday" became the single of the week in Melody Maker magazine and NME in August 1987, and was selected as number one in John Peel's Festive Fifty list, the band attained worldwide recognition and success. In the United Kingdom, the song was the group's first chart entry at number 65 and also reached number two on the country's indie charts. In the US it was ranked at number 15 on The Village Voice's "Pazz & Jop" critics' annual year-end poll to find the best music of 1988. The Sugarcubes performed the song, along with "Motorcrash" on Saturday Night Live during the 15 October 1988 episode, which was hosted by Matthew Broderick. 


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She lives in this house over there, has her world outside it.
Grapples with the earth with her fingers and her mouth, she's five years old.
Thread worms on a string, keeps spiders in her pocket, collects fly-wings in
A jar scrubs horse flies and pinches them on a line. she's got one friend
He lives next door, they listen to the weather, he knows how many freckles
she's got,
She scratches his beard.  she's painting huge books, glues them together,
They saw a big raven; it glided down the sky, she touched it.
Today's a birthday, they're smoking cigars, he got a chain of flowers,
Sows a bird in her knickers, they're smoking cigars, lie in the bathtub, chain of flowers.

 Struggling with Birthday? Become a better singer in 30 days with these videos!

The Sugarcubes

The Sugarcubes (Sykurmolarnir in Icelandic) were an Icelandic alternative rock band formed in 1986 and disbanded in 1992. They received critical and popular acclaim internationally. more »

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Written by: Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Einar Benediktsson, Fridrik Erlingsson, Bragi Olafsson, Sigtryggur Baldursson, Thor Eldon Jonsson

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

10 facts about this song

Band Formation
"Birthday" is performed by the Sugarcubes, an Icelandic alternative rock band formed in the year 1986. The band's former lead vocalist Björk went on to achieve global fame as a solo artist.
Initial Struggle
The original song is sung in Icelandic, and it initially struggled to catch on, gaining little airplay in the band's home country. The English version was released a year later, in 1987, which eventually garnered the attention of the international market.
Breakthrough Hit
"Birthday" can be credited as the Sugarcubes' breakthrough hit, receiving widespread international acclaim. It was this song that first drew critical attention to the band, especially in the UK.
Chart Performance
The song reached No. 2 on the UK Indie Chart. It also made it to No. 65 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Praise from Critics
British music magazine NME named "Birthday" as the single of the year in 1988. It also appeared on "The Pitchfork 500," Pitchfork's list of the greatest songs from 1977-2006.
Child's Perspective
The song is sung from the perspective of a child. Björk's powerful and distinctive voice along with the eerie ambiance of the music contributes to the song's haunting quality.
Unique Sound
The Sugarcubes were known for their eclectic sound, combining punk, pop, and experimental elements. "Birthday," like many of their songs, featured unconventional song structures and quirky lyrics.
Music Video
The music video for "Birthday" was shot in black and white, creating a visually intriguing and somewhat mysterious atmosphere.
Despite being released over three decades ago, "Birthday" is still enjoyed by many and considered a hit, attesting to its timeless appeal.
Band’s Dissolution
Despite their success, the Sugarcubes disbanded in 1992. However, "Birthday" and other songs by the band continue to endure in the world of alternative rock.

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