Björk’s a singer who gets to you. Perhaps she is polarizing, but I find in her everything that’s lacking with so many other pop singers. With her, I find fascination, whether or not I’m 100% on board with what she’s doing. As far as I’m concerned, she is what’s needed, eager idiosyncrasies and all, like Shannon Funchess or Neko Case or maybe even Mike Patton (who was recruited as a contributor for Medúlla’s guttural ambience). We need these people to remind us of the virtues of boundless creative exploration, even as we gorge ourselves on irresistibly (big timey) sensual slices of exotic rhythms and heartwrenching melodicism. Standing inside a Björk song can be like inhabiting a deep-sea observation module, as unaccountable iridescent lights dash around you. It is a rolling yet peaceful space to inhabit.
One shining example of this is the finale of Ms. Guðmundsdóttir’s 1993 album, Debut. “The Anchor Song” is about communing with one’s objectness, as a slack hunk of leaden flotsam resting blankly on the night-blackened ocean floor. It is about security through rootedness and abandon coexisting in the tumultuous place where the water meets the land. It is a prayer and a lullaby, a succinct homage to immobile grace. With just Björk’s sharp, keening voice and simple harmonized saxophone figures, we make our beds in the same improbable peace and quiet. Despite a breathtaking rendition with church choir “ahs” in place of saxophone, “The Anchor Song” will always definitely be one of the great Björk album closers (with “Headphones” running a close second) that leave you feeling like you’ve gone through something unparalleled.
The following is my tribute to this artist and song and some of what could reside in the invisible depths of its rests. Or just a bit of sacrilegious ballast on a perfectly good song. Your call, as ever.