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Thursday, August 18, 2011

"Birthday"

The Sugarcubes - Birthday (1987)

If there wasn't a picture of Bjork on the opposite page of this songs entry in the book, would I have recognized her voice? A question for philosophers, or perhaps physicists.





It's very difficult to make out the lyrics, which is I think, part of the point. The music is rather melancholy, while the singer's voice is mostly lilting during the verses. The chorus is where you really understand the virtuosity of Bjork's voice. In one breath, she segues from her "standard" voice, down into a growl, back up through standard and ends with a high falsetto like almost trill. The discordant backing horns are really getting to me on subsequent listens. Also, the wind chimes are really loud. But I think all of this sets the tone and is intentional. This song is supposed to put you on a bit of an edge.

As for the video: petite brunette with messy hair and a thing for dark imagery and ravens. Quick cuts to odd locations and a nudist children's party then back to the band having tea in a lake, then close on Bjork looking expectantly at the sky at the end as ants and spiders fall down. The video and English language version of the song came out in 1987/1988. Neil Gaiman's The Sandman made it's debut in January of 1989. ...just a thought.

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