Essay On Bjork's Lyrical Epic

1437 words - 6 pages

Description: An analytical look at Bjork's song trilogy including the songs: Human Behavior, Isobel and Bachelorette. The prompt was to write a critical evaluation on a piece of art or music.One of the most prolific writers, performers and artists of our time, Bjork has devoted much of her life to the creation of experimental and contemporary music that has defied all classification. Studying musical theory, flute, piano, and voice, young Bjork debuted her first Icelandic album at the age of only eleven. Trying out numerous bands in her teenage years, Bjork eventually made the leap in 1993 to release yet another solo album, Debut, signifying a new stage in her life. In the past ten years Bjork has produced a number of albums each artful and thoughtfully mastered. Amongst her many albums, Bjork has produced three that contain the story of Human Behaviour, which "explores an animal's viewpoint of homosapiens" (Kraus). Written and produced during 1993, Bjork's first chapter of her lyrical epic, Human Behaviour, became apart of her first solo album Debut. Two years following Bjork wrote the song Isobel which debuted in her third solo album Post. Completed only two years later, Bjork wrote Bachelorette making her lyrical epic a song trilogy ("Bjork Biography").The theme within in all three songs is the value of the unpredictability in human behavior. Throughout each song, there is true value in living life instead of just going through the motions, and although there will be ups and downs, it is important to take it for what it is. There are many emotions that make up someone's life, and in these three songs there are specific ones that make up Isobel's life such as confusion, fear, love, passion, and independence. These are basic emotions that every human at one point will have, and it's showing the value in living and reacting to them as they come up. We see Isobel in the beginning of Human Behaviour is confused with civilization, but when she starts to become a part of society she starts to get caught up in the give and take of a relationship. Throughout this song trilogy it is apparent that there is a value of change in a person's experiences, and interactions (Hemingway).Like it says in the first song, Human Behavior, there is no map of life, "and there is no map! and a compass wouldn't help at all!" People live through life and make their own paths, and you can't pinpoint exactly what will happen throughout that time. But even though everyone is making their own paths, and there are many things that a person can get caught up in, and people are seemingly lost, it's "ever so satisfying." This illustrates the value of being able to live life and enjoy it, rather than going through the same motions everyday and forgetting the basic joys in life and growing up. Each human is guilty of unpredictability, it's our nature. "There's definitely no logic." Humans are complex; we pollute nature which is our home, and we become cancer of the earth. We consume and consume and are so addicted to it because it's "so irresistible." We become unhappy without self-gratification. We make wars, and we kill each other. Humans are unpredictable; we humiliate and hurt each other. There's no real logic to human behavior.This song is used as a prelude to start off the story of Isobel, and the ups and downs of her life (Hemingway).The second song introduces the character of the story, Isobel. Isobel is an independent person "My name is Isobel, married to myself," meaning she doesn't depend on anyone. It starts off with her living alone in the woods and as she grows up "in her tower of steel, nature forges a deal, to raise wonderful hell," she realizes that the forest she grew up in was full of tiny skyscrapers, so as she grew, they did as well. Isobel finds herself in a city full of human civilization. Feeling all the emotional crashes of people, she becomes frightened with the city and decides to run away. At first when listening to the song, it is apparent that Isobel is an introvert and doesn't like the roller coaster of human civilization and the fact that most of the people in the city are run by their heads and not their hearts. "In a heart full of dust, lives a creature called lust, it surprises and scares." She finds that in human civilization everyone's heart is full of dust, because everyone is living through repeated motions. Everyone is thinking only with their heads, and there is lust, showing again that humans are unpredictable and lust for many things and can't be happy without self-gratification. Because of this Isobel purposefully sends a moth to cover the mouths of humans so they can't speak. "When she does it she means to, moth delivers her message, unexplained on your collar, crawling in silence, a simple excuse." Although Isobel doesn't understand human civilization, she also gets caught up in the emotional roller coaster of it, as we see in the sequel of the story Bachelorette (Hemingway).In the last song of the trilogy, Isobel decides to return to the city she once feared. Judging by the sounds and technical elements of the song in the beginning, many listeners feel that she returned by train. Preparing to confront the one person that she has fallen in love with, it becomes a disarming confrontation. In this song we see most of her development through a relationship as she gets caught up in life: as she states, "The game we're playing is life, love is a two way dream." Mesmerized by the beauty and charm of a girl, he feels she is, "a fountain of blood, in the shape of a girl." He is "the bird on the brim, hypnotized by the whirl." She tells him, "drink me, make me feel real, wet your beak in the stream." Because she hasn't grown up with human civilization everything is new to her, and she wants him to make her feel "real." Even in their connection we see the push and pull of a relationship. Although Isobel loves him, there is conflict. "Leave me now, return tonight, the tide will show you the way, if you forget my name, you will go astray, like a killer whale trapped in a bay." If the man forgets her--or leaves her--he'll be lost, and she knows this, but at the same time she yearns for his affection. It's an obvious give and take relationship, "I'm a tree that grows hearts, one for each that you take, you're the intruders hand, I'm the branch that you break." No matter how much she gives, he will take, and she will always keep giving and giving, even if it only hurts her in the end. Both are winning some and losing some but are together for loves sake. She personifies herself as a loving passive object while he's an articulate person going through the motions of love at will, yet she's afraid that he will slowly start to forget her, even with all the love she has learned to offer him (Hemingway).In the end the trilogy leaves the listener with an unsettled feeling, which is also felt in the last lyrics, "I'm the branch that you break." I think the trilogy as a whole communicates the confusion, unpredictability, instability, and the unknown of life, which is why I feel Bjork ends her lyrical epic so ambiguous. Although written as a young girl, I believe Bjork's story is one that describes human nature, and the chaotic world we live in well (Hemingway).Works Cited:"Bjork Biography." Sing 365. 12 Sept. 2006 .Hemingway, David. "Isobel." Bjork. 12 Sept. 2006 .Kraus, Alex. "Independent Publishes Story of "Human Behaviour"." Zombie Guide News. 30 Aug. 2006. 12 Sept. 2006 .


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