Wednesday, August 31, 2011

90's Hit Parade #34

Bjork - Headphones

I remember reading in SPIN or something at the time that Bjork wrote "Headphones" as for "her boyfriend, Tricky." According to wikipedia, it was actually written to Graham Massey (of 808 State, collaborator on much of Post), "as a thank you for his mix-tapes." But it was indeed produced by Tricky (who also remixed it for the subsequent remix album), so maybe it was written with Tricky, and I misread it. Bjork herself (again, according to wiki) calls it "a love letter to sound. The sound of sound."

So it's a song about falling asleep listening to music on your headphones, and it seems to be designed specifically to be listened to on headphones while falling asleep. The lyrics are the most abstract on the album, and they become less coherent as they go on, observing her own reactions to the music: "These abstract wordless movements/They start off cells that haven't been touched before...I don't recognize myself/This is very interesting." All the while, these round little percussive sounds bounce around behind her. If you've ever fallen asleep with headphones on, gradually losing consciousness of the music as it ceases to be something separate from yourself, you can relate.

Bonus Beat:

Bjork - Human Behavior

A classic 120 Minutes video. This is one of those rare videos that not only goes perfectly with the song, but actually elevates the song. I wish I could explain why, something about the surreal visuals and the way they seem to respond to the rhythm of the song. I looks like something that might be on the TV in a room you enter in your dream. It's a great song, but I swear it's not quite as good when I hear it absent the video.


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