Björk's second solo album, Post, was cause for celebration. To set up the debut of the album, the new track Army of Me was leaked to the soundtrack of the Lori Petty movie Tank Girl. The song is as destructive as its title suggests: "And if you complain once more, you'll meet an army of me."
Likewise, the video sees Björk on the rampage in a massive tanker truck. She is on a mission to set her loved one free from an art museum that holds him captive as a (dead? asleep?) display. But first, her tank breaks down (there's a cowboy inside the engine) and she needs to refuel it. Her teeth hurt, so she goes to the dentist (a gorilla), who finds a unique treasure inside her mouth. Björk continues...
". . And when Michel gets his strokes of genius and, in the video for 'Army of Me', wants a dentist that's a gorilla to find a diamond in my mouth, some people call it nonsense. But it's probably the most realistic way of expressing what situation I'm in - all these people trying to take things away from me, and the gorilla finding a diamond that I don't know I have and then stealing it. 'Army of Me' is so much about me actually learning that I have to defend myself. I have to stand up and fight the fucking gorilla. Once I've got the diamond and I run away with it, it becomes massive 'cos it's mine. But if the gorilla had kept it, it would have gone really tiny. That's surrealism for me."
Like any action/adventure flick, "Army of Me" called for some sizable special effects. The tank itself is quite large. New to Gondry's video canon is the use of mirrors to multiply: multiple Björks are created at the dentist's and in the museum.
Gondry is a treat with visual details in defining his realities, and he provides in "Army of Me." The museum sequence furnishes an example: Before Björk bombs it, there are many artworks on the walls, each piece reflecting the apparent banality of the museum. One area shows a person observing a work which is a painting of a person in an art museum observing a work. After the explosion, everything is torn apart, bathed in smoke. Björk comes and retrieves her loved one, crying small diamonds onto his shoulder.
Gondry: "With Bjork, we exchange lots of fax and ideas. We have longs discussions. Many of my ideas come from my dreams. I like the way they digest information. There are a lot of crazy and useless ideas, but it makes me laugh. In the "Army of Me" video, Björk opened the hood of her truck. We can see a huge mouth and a cowboy getting out of it. It was my way to say that the engine was stinking, he had cowboy breath (laugh)...I drunk too much the day before I wrote the story and this idea made me really laugh." (Les Inrockuptibles n°185)
A few scenes of "Army of Me" were edited for some broadcast networks. Bombs and explosions aren't permissible in some countries, and thus three versions of the video were edited. One version features Björk minus bomb running out of the museum, with the message 'to be continued' on the screen. The second version shows Björk merely planting the bomb. The third, full version shows the complete sequence.
See it here.