Björk occupies a strange space in my musical psyche. I’ve always known that she is an amazing vocalist, but a lot of her actual recordings just didn’t do it for me. I loved her earlier jazz stuff and some of Post, but my friends really hated that I didn’t go completely crazy for her. My friends were also filmmakers generally, so her work with Michel Gondry only deepened the rift.
Oddly enough, it was Vespertine that really did me in. There was a beautiful girl named Mary who showed it to me one quiet night, and that finally convinced me that I was a Björk fan.
Mary has since ended her life. It was a blow to myself and everyone that knew her, and now when I hear Björk I can’t help but think of her, especially Vespertine. To this day I maintain that Björk is hit or miss (check out the horrible self-produced stuff she’s done with Matthew Barney for proof), but as I mature musically I find her sheer potential for emotionality worth its metaphysical weight in gold. Just listen to this chills-inducing performance with Antony Hegarty from start to finish and you’ll know what I mean.
I love your eyes, my dear
Their splendid sparkling fire
When suddenly you raise them so
To cast a swift embracing glance
Like lightning flashing in the sky
But there’s a charm that is greater still
When my love’s eyes are lowered
When all is fired by passion’s kiss
And through the downcast lashes
I see the dull flame of desire