Björk and You and Me: A Love Story

“All is Full of Love”
Björk
1999

You’ll be given love / You’ll be taken care of
You’ll be given love / You have to trust it
Maybe not from the sources / You have poured yours
Maybe not from the directions / You are staring at

Her music gives me a lot of comfort. On good days, it’s beautiful; on bad days, it’s a beacon. Her voice really does stuff to me. Never restrained, never altered, never quite where you expect it to be. The way she approaches this song always chokes me up. Throat tight, melody soft and low, till she starts to believe that “all is full of love” and then her whole chest cavity opens up to that shocking roar. Amazing. More people need to get Björk in their lives. It really helps the journey.

This video is on permanent display at the MoMA, and I’m glad, because it’s true art. So visually stunning and emotive. Directed by robot lover Chris Cunningham and helmed by a sensitive android who finds love in herself (literally). It really supports the idea behind the song, that we all just “ain’t receiving” and our “phone is off the hook,” despite the fact that the human connections we seek lay waiting at every turn. “Love isn’t just about two persons. It’s everywhere around you,” said Björk when asked about writing the single. She is a big believer in the bursting potential of people and the unconventional ways in which we can nourish ourselves and each other. “The first unhappy song I wrote…was very hard for me. Usually I write all the time, but that was like nothing happened for months. Then the song came out. I was ashamed writing a song that was not giving hope.”

I return often to her when I seek authenticity. Sometimes I get tired of the vast distance between me and the artists I love, and Björk kind of makes you feel like there’s no machine warping the art and delivering it to you as a product. She often just performs like she’s in a bedroom or a shower or a canyon where it’s just fun to hear the echo of your screams.

If you liked the above, also definitely watch this overwhelming live performance from a few years ago. She launches the note at 2:30, and the stadium goes all a-shudder with those involuntary chills. If I saw her live, I’d cry. For sure. The feelings are deep and many. And I’m really fucking thankful that there’s someone out there with no fear to express them all.

Advertisements

It Takes Courage to Enjoy It

Big Time Sensuality
MTV Unplugged 1994

This is my favorite Björk song. I don’t know, it just never gets old to me. I always find some new curiosity nestled in her little voice bouncing like lightning in a clear landscape. There is a stark helpless humanity to her performances. I like how she chirps and hums and isn’t afraid to growl. She always sounds like she’s singing in the shower. I love that about her music.

Look at her little yellow shift, showy eyeshadow, bare feet, the way she slouches and stomps around. I never, ever, ever get tired of watching her be. Freedom is sensuality, big time.