"Big Time Sensuality" is a song by Icelandic recording artist Björk, released as the fourth single from her 1993 album Debut (1993). Written by Björk and staple collaborator Nellee Hooper and produced by Hooper, "Big Time Sensuality" is a house-influenced song that helped boost Björk's popularity worldwide, particularly the U.S., where she charted for the first time.
"Big Time Sensuality" lyrics deals with her relation with her friends and Hooper. The song features house grooves and electronic bass-sounds. The single release was actually the "Fluke Minimix", which is a mix by Fluke, and the song was performed in this version in various occasions, including the inaugural MTV Europe Music Awards. Critics praised the song and the remix calling them "saucy" and commenting on their House and Pop flavors.
A different edit of the Fluke remix was featured in the music video for the song, directed by Stéphane Sednaoui, in which Björk dances and sings on a truck throughout New York City. The video was praised by critics and fans and received heavy rotation on MTV channels.
The video edit of the Fluke remix was also featured in Björk's Greatest Hits.
After leaving The Sugarcubes, Björk traveled to London where she began having contacts with electronic music, and that inspired her to change her musical style from the pop-rock sounds of the Sugarcubes to a more alternative and electronic style of music. "Big Time Sensuality" was one of the last song to be written for Debut, and was originally planned to be the first single from the album, but it got delayed by the release of "Human Behaviour". It was then intended to be the third single, but it got delayed again by the success of "Play Dead", and was finally released as the fourth single in November 1993.
The song was co-written by Björk and Nellee Hooper and produced by Hooper, which helped her in writing and producing her first two albums. The singer's meeting with Hooper inspired her in writing the song: "I think it's quite rare, when you're obsessed with your job, as I am, when you met someone who's your other part jobwise and enables you to do what you completely want". The lyrics deals with enjoying life to its fullest and, in spite of its name, it was inspired by Björk's friends. The lyrics deal also with braveness: "I’ve got a lot of courage, but I’ve also got a lot of fear. You should allow yourself to be scared. It’s one of the prime emotions. You might almost enjoy it, funny as it sounds, and find that you can get over it and deal with it. If you ignore these things, you miss so much. But when you want to enjoy something, especially when it’s something you’ve just been introduced to, you’ve got to have a lot of courage to do it. I don’t think I’m more courageous than most people. I’m an even mixture of all those prime emotions".
After the release of Debut, Björk's songs received numerous remixes from different producers. "Big Time Sensuality" received three different remixes from the Fluke. One of them, called the "Fluke Minimix", was chosen by Björk to receive a single treatment instead of the original, and the remix was performed on different occasions and a music video was made of it. An extended version of the "Fluke Minimix" was used as the "single version" of the song, and is also the version used in the video. However, this version was not available until the release of Björk's Greatest Hits, as the version featured on the single was shorter.
The single also contained "Glóra" ("Gloria") and "Síðasta Ég" ("The Last Me") as B-sides, two songs that were recorded by The Elgar Sisters, a group formed in the early eighties by guitarist Guðlaugur Kristinn Óttarsson and Björk. "Glóra" is an instrumental track which features a flute-solo played by Björk, that wrote and produced the track. "Síðasta Ég" was written by Björk, Óttarsson and Þór Eldon Jónsson, a member of the Sugarcubes, and was produced by Björk and Óttarsson, with guitar played by Óttarsson.
-Björk interviewed by David Hemingway:
"It's not erotic or sensual even if it may sound like that. As you know, you create pretty deep, full-on love relationships with friends. A lot of it is also about myself. I can be a coward a lot of the time and there comes a moment when I write a song when I get quite brave. It's a lot about me dealing with myself rather than attacking other people. Would I like to know the future? No. There's a side to me that likes to plan a little bit ahead and there's a side that just needs to be free. I've got problems with booking airline tickets - I always change them. Sometimes I wonder if it's just for me to feel free. To kind of not be nailed in is really important to me".
The first two verses of the track are underscored by upbeat keyboards that lead into electronica and techno-influenced grooves that Sandy Masuo of Option defined as "brooding". Björk belts out the first lines accompanied by a base of percussion, while the chorus features stronger electronic beats. After the first two verses, Björk sings some sounds like moans or shouts. Ben Thompson defined the yells sequence as "sinuous pop-funk squawk". After the interlude "I don't know my future after this weekend/And I don't want to!" funk-like sounds lead the song to an end.
The "Fluke Minimix" is composed on a series of synthesizers and by slower vocals. The remix features electronic bass and heavily uses reverb. The track ends with the lines "It takes courage to enjoy it/The hardcore/And the gentle/Of Big Time Sensuality" whispered by Björk.
"Big Time Sensuality" was deemed as a highlight of Debut and was praised by critics. Sean McCarthy of the Daily Vault defined the track as "insanely addictive" while Vox journalist Lucy O'Brien called it "saucy". Simon Reynolds of the New York Times stated that "the sultry “Big Time Sensuality” has her vaulting from chesty growls to hyperventilating harmonies so piercing she sounds as if she’s inhaled helium".
Reviewing Debut, Heather Phares of Allmusic, noted that "Björk's playful energy ignites the dance-pop-like "Big Time Sensuality" and turns the genre on its head with "There's More to Life Than This." Recorded live at the Milk Bar Toilets, it captures the dancefloor's sweaty, claustrophobic groove, but her impish voice gives it an almost alien feel". The website cites the track as a All Media Guide-pick, and in a track review, Stacia Proefrock defined the track as an "aggressive, screechy dance number" that "While not scraping the top of the charts[...] was part of an album unusual enough to stand out among its fellow pop releases as a quirky and complex experiment that worked most of the time".
"Big Time Sensuality" was nominated in the Best Song category at the 1994 MTV Europe Music Awards, losing to 7 Seconds by Youssou N'Dour and Neneh Cherry.