SEASON 1 BONUS EPISODE
If you listened to the trailer of this series, then you know that I created Björk Unravelled to persuade my friend Carter to give Björk's music a chance. And — it worked!
In this episode, Carter and I will reflect on this season and hear how his mindset shifted along the way. How exactly did he go from being confused to enthusiastic?
And if you started out in his shoes, I want you to think about that too. How did each episode of this series make you more of a Björk fan?
BU Bonus Episode_final
[00:00:00] Savannah Wright: [00:00:00] You're listening to be Björk Unravelled, a series that demystifies Björk's music one piece at a time. I'm your host, Savannah Wright.
[00:00:13] Carter Noh: [00:00:13] She's a prodigy. She's amazing. The things that she is capable of and the boundaries that she pushes. Like she's cool.
[00:00:23] Savannah Wright: [00:00:23] If you remember the trailer of the show. You'll recognize that voice as my friend Carter's, and that [00:00:30] quote right there is a far cry from where he started at the beginning of this podcast.
[00:00:36] Carter Noh: [00:00:36] Two hours into this, I was like completely lost. And I just kind of like had this moment of like, what on earth am I listening to?
[00:00:44] Savannah Wright: [00:00:44] That change — from 'what am I listening to' to 'she's amazing'? Music to my ears. It's why I made this podcast: to create a gateway into Björk's music for both skeptics and newbies. So they can [00:01:00] appreciate her music as much as I do.
[00:01:03] In this episode, Carter and I will reflect on the season and hear how his mindset shifted along the way. How exactly did he go from being confused to enthusiastic? And if you started out in his shoes, I want you to think about that too. How did each episode of this series make you more of a Björk fan?
[00:01:24] Oh, and quick disclaimer. For this episode, the software I usually use for remote [00:01:30] recordings didn't do a great job this time. So the audio quality isn't the same. Go easy on me, friends.
[00:01:38] Okay. Let's start with episode one, where I cast aside the Icelandic stereotypes and focused on the real Björk.
[00:01:47] Carter Noh: [00:01:47] I actually didn't have any preconceived notions about Björk as an artist. Like, I didn't have any of the. I hadn't seen the swan dress. I hadn't heard the SNL skits. Right. Like, I didn't have any of that the first [00:02:00] time I listened to. So my impression of Björk before this was pretty blank slate, and then everything I've learned, I learned from hearing you talk about it. And then I like read on Wikipedia a little bit as well to supplement that.
[00:02:14] I think that just kind of getting an understanding of how eclectic her upbringing was musically. I mean, like she was, you know, enrolled in a music conservatory at age four and then like she was in jazz groups. She was in punk groups. Like [00:02:30] hearing where all those influences come from, I think helped contextualize. When you're actually hearing them, it doesn't feel like it's coming out of nowhere. So I think that having that background definitely helped.
[00:02:42] Savannah Wright: [00:02:42] Yeah. I mean, that's true. Like, I think I learned a lot about her as well um, making this podcast. Like, I didn't know that much about her background and how involved she was in all these different groups.
[00:02:53] Um, so let's go now into more about her music. So in episode two, I talk about Björk's genre bending, like [00:03:00] using whatever genre she wants to suit the message of the song. Um, what were some of the takeaways you got from that episode?
[00:03:07] Carter Noh: [00:03:07] So, so I mean, everything that I talk about, it's going to be juxtaposed with my first musical impression of her. Right. My first impression of her music partially was that I did it all in one sitting or like one or two sittings. And I think that that didn't help. That I don't remember if I was actually on shuffle, but basically her entire thing was on shuffle. And because you're jumping around so much, I didn't get any cohesive sense of [00:03:30] what she was trying to do, what she was trying to communicate at all.
[00:03:33] And so the first two albums are intentionally like that, right. Uh, Debut and Post were intentionally a bunch of different genres, but that kind of like set the basis so that it got all of that stuff out of the way so that then she could do other stuff. And I feel like that helped also set the expectation of there's not one genre she's trying to do. And so that made me more open-minded to, you know, the rest of her music. I wasn't looking for it to be one thing anymore. And I think [00:04:00] that helped. Does that makes sense?
[00:04:02] Savannah Wright: [00:04:02] Yeah, totally. I mean, I think what you said about like, just jumping all over her catalog as a first impression is, was probably not the way to go because, you know, when I was making the series, I realized that a lot of like, I feel like each album has its own distinct flavor. Like even though Debut and Post are both kind of doing similar things, they feel like distinctly different at the same time.
[00:04:25] And so I feel like you almost have to consume them album by album. Whereas I think like [00:04:30] with other artists you can kind of jump around their catalog and it's not like a huge change.
[00:04:35] Carter Noh: [00:04:35] So in terms of episode two, I think that you did a great job explaining the intention behind you know, doing all these different genres thrown together. And I think for me, at least, that helped contextualize the rest of her work in helping me to not have a set expectation.
[00:04:52] And I think that is kind of my whole thing that I've learned about Björk is that I came in with too many expectations. [00:05:00] I was expecting it to be more homogenous. And so having it basically on shuffle threw me, way off. And the recommendation came from Sigur Ros. 'Oh, you like Sigur Ros try Björk.' Right. And so Sigur Ros still has a pretty distinct rock sound. And I think that that was partially what I was expecting and it was not that.
[00:05:22] And then even as I was listening, I, you know, I listened to a couple songs and be like, okay, I think I've categorized what Björk is and what I can expect for the next few songs. [00:05:30] And then the next few songs come in and it is just not that. And so in the one, one to two sittings that I listened to Björk for three hours, I just never was able to settle into anything. And that bothered me. And I was like, this is weird. I don't know.
[00:05:44] Savannah Wright: [00:05:44] Yeah, no, that's very interesting. I think that's the hardest part about recommending Björk is people ask me, 'Oh, well, who is she like?' And I'm like, 'no one.' Like she's her own thing.
[00:05:57] And that's very rare because I've [00:06:00] noticed like, because I've been listening to her music so much more on Spotify, I've been getting these really bizarre, like recommendations for other artists. And I'm like, is this because I only listen to Björk now? Like, cause she's like so unique. If you try to kind of connect her to other artists, it's like, okay, I can kind of see it, but it really just depends on the album, you know?
[00:06:18] Carter Noh: [00:06:18] Yeah. And even, even song to song there. There are some songs that like, even on like, Vespertine, you know, you talked about all these like kind of whispery [00:06:30] tracks going on and all the little microbeats, and that was definitely there, but there were some that were also like pretty solidly pop. Very recognizable, like the chord progressions were pretty basic. She wasn't doing anything really out there. It was much more accessible.
[00:06:46] So even within an album where she's doing one thing, she would have some tracks that were more avant garde and then some tracks that were more immediately accessible.
[00:06:53] Savannah Wright: [00:06:53] Yeah. Yeah, that's true. Let's go into episode three, because I think, as I said in that [00:07:00] one, it's really hard for some people to get used to her voice. I remember when I first listened to be Björk, when my sisters would play her music in the car, I was like, 'this is so weird'. Like, it felt like opera because it was full of so much emotion.
[00:07:12] She also has this accent, so she says words differently and she breaks them up in weird ways. Was that something that you ran into when you first listened to her? Like how did you react to her voice?
[00:07:22] Carter Noh: [00:07:22] I definitely, definitely. Yes. I will say too, that the way you structured the episodes was really good. Cause I came out of episode two, like, [00:07:30] wow. Okay. I feel like, you know, this genre thing that like, she's going all over, but it's intentional and that's good. I can get down with that, but I actually still don't know if I like her voice. Okay. So we'll see.
[00:07:38] And episode three is like her voice and I'm like, Oh! So, so, so yes, I definitely fell into the trap of like, her voice is weird and I've, I've thought a lot about this one because it was hard for me to pinpoint at first, but specifically her, her tone and her, the way she emphasizes words are weird.
[00:07:56] But to me also, I think her, her melodies [00:08:00] are very unfamiliar at first. I mean, if you're thinking of very vanilla pop, right. We're in the key of C major and our chord progression is C major, A minor F major, G major, right? Like dah, dah, dah, and the, the melody is going to be quarter notes and eighth notes, going up and down in the C major scale. Right? Like. Maybe with a modulation in there.
[00:08:20] And hers, the rhythms were weird. So she would make some phrases really long and drawn out, even though there's like this very energetic drum beat going on.
[00:08:38] (clip from "Alarm Call"q)
[00:08:38] [00:08:30] And then rhythmically, she was like placing things in weird spots, and tonally the notes she was singing were not as easily definable into a specific scale. So it was just very disorienting listening to it. However, the more I listened to it and the more I kind of knew what to expect, the more I realized that that's a bit of an overreaction.
[00:08:59] Actually the [00:09:00] melodies are pretty recognizable here. Look, there's this, this big swell here where she's. I mean this is, this sounds perfectly fine. There's nothing weird about this. And so I think that part of my not liking her vocals at first was like a gut reaction. There's some. She does some weird stuff that takes a little bit to get used to, but I think I had a bit of a gut reaction to that that made me say her vocals are weird and I don't like them. Right?
[00:09:21] And then the more I got used to those small things, the more I was able to appreciate them and realize, Oh, actually this is not that weird. This is [00:09:30] actually really cool. The couple of things that are a little harder to get used to are a feature, not a flaw. I actually like them now. I appreciate them. And no, she's not this totally. Her voice is not this totally inaccessible thing.
[00:09:42] Savannah Wright: [00:09:42] Interesting. So you, you kind of started connecting with her voice more because you just got used to it or what was kind of like the turning point. Was it just like paying more attention or?
[00:09:52] Carter Noh: [00:09:52] Yeah, the, the, the turning point for me was kind of just accepting her voice, I guess, as, no, it's not the same [00:10:00] as other pop singers and that's okay. And it's intentional. She, she sings that way cause she wants to sing that way.
[00:10:07] You, you talked about how other people connect emotionally and how there's more emotion like upfront in her voice than other people. And I definitely agree with that, but it's also, it's not simple emotions. It's not anger and sadness and happy. Right. It's like, boredom. Boredom is a [00:10:30] weird emotion. And she has, she expressed that in her music and through her voice.
[00:10:46] (clip from "5 Years")
[00:10:46] And like they're, they're complex emotions. They're not simple emotions. So it's, it's weird to have them upfront because they're not things that we confront that directly that often I think.
[00:10:57] Savannah Wright: [00:10:57] Yeah, no, that's a, that's a good point. And I [00:11:00] think that's something that my sister Marissa kind of helped me notice more about her voice and just how, like. When I hear an artist cover a Björk song, even if I like that artist. Like when Thom Yorke sings "Unravel," I love Thom Yorke's voice, but it's just like too different for me.
[00:11:20] Like, I just feel like you can't cover Björk songs because no one has her voice. No one has like the way that she sings lines and like the specific emotions and quirks that she puts [00:11:30] into them. It is off putting. Like, sometimes you're just like, I don't even know what she's singing cause she's breaking it up so weirdly, but it's kind of fun to be challenged, you know?
[00:11:38] Carter Noh: [00:11:38] I think. And I, I think too, for me, when I. When I say I had to just like accept it and be cool with it, that was like, for me, at least that was an active decision. Cause then I thought about it too, I'm like Sigur Ros literally sings jibberish. And I, most of my listening is soundtracks. So when I listen to the voice, I primarily am listening to it as an instrument. Not necessarily like the. The [00:12:00] words are not the first thing I'm trying to pick out.
[00:12:02] So why is it that I have an issue with her voice? Just because she's saying syllables weird. When I listen to music and other languages that I don't understand. And why is this an issue for me? Just cause it's different? So I had to like confront that with myself a little bit.
[00:12:16] Savannah Wright: [00:12:16] That's cool. I mean, I think she's a little bit confrontational and I think that's something Marisa mentioned is like, ask yourself, why is this weird for me? And kind of lean into that discomfort and be like, actually, this is like new and exciting, you know?
[00:12:27] Carter Noh: [00:12:27] Yeah. This, this episode definitely made me [00:12:30] think, and I came out of out the other end of it, really appreciating her voice. Um, also slight side note here. You said, you said you did not connect with much with Medulla, but kind of what came out of this was like, I came to really appreciate her voice and Medulla is all acapella. It's also other singers, but it's a lot of her doing acapella stuff.
[00:13:06] ("show me forgiveness" clip)
[00:13:06] [00:13:00] I mean I'm into acapella stuff otherwise, like choir, you know. I sing in choirs and stuff. So like, I didn't listen to a ton of it. I didn't listen to the whole album, but what I listened to on Medulla I was digging it.
[00:13:16] Savannah Wright: [00:13:16] Oh, nice. I love it. I need to give it another listen through. I've actually, um, I talked to another listener and they were like, Oh, Medulla is my favorite. And I'm like, really? It's like so hard for me. Like some of the way [00:13:30] that she sings, it, it kind of gives me anxiety. Like when she breathes in and out really quickly, like I just like,
[00:13:34] Carter Noh: [00:13:34] Oh yeah, well, that's, that's the throat singing. You might have to like prep yourself for that with Inuit throat singing. Cause Inuit throat singing is freaking weird. But I, but I am a weirdo that listens to Inuit throat singing on occasion. Not casually, but when I'm like, want to explore. And so I knew what to expect when I heard that. I was like, Oh, that's what that is. And it was cool.
[00:13:56] Savannah Wright: [00:13:56] Yeah. Okay. I think I need to like prepare myself.
[00:13:58] I also just didn't really want to [00:14:00] cover it for this, this season, because I felt like it's a little too much of a reach, but I'm very pleased that you got into Medulla. Um, that's awesome. Um, okay, so now we're kind of going into your, uh, storytelling. So we've kind of talked a lot about like the musicianship, like, okay, this is the composition, this is how she delivers it.
[00:14:23] But then like the actual lyrics of her songs, which maybe you won't understand when you first listen, but you get used to it and you pick it up better. [00:14:30] Uh, what stood out to you from this episode? Like, did it change anything for you? Like the way that you thought about her music or?
[00:14:37] Carter Noh: [00:14:37] Lyrically, I did not like look up lyrics to each piece for some of the songs, but I can just hear from, from what she was saying, that like, she knows this character and she cares about this character. Correct me if I'm wrong, but she wrote the lyrics, right?
[00:14:54] So it's not, I mean, usually for even a musical, the musician doesn't write the lyrics, right? [00:15:00] The, the director or somebody, they coordinate the lyrics of the musical to match with the plot or whatever and stuff. And then the singer just sings it. But she wrote the lyrics for this. From, if you're looking at it from a soundtrack perspective, that's pretty impressive.
[00:15:12] Savannah Wright: [00:15:12] Yeah, this was not her first acting gig. Like she did something when she was, I think 19. And it was just for like a small, like Icelandic filmmaker, but I guess she was a little bit too much of a method actor when it came to this role with Selma, because she almost like internalized Selma's trauma [00:15:30] and it took like a really big emotional toll on her.
[00:15:33] Like she was so good at that character and like creating that story and, and writing all those lyrics. Like, I, I know that, um, originally Lars Von trier, the director and screenwriter, he wrote some lyrics and she read them and she was like, no, let me do this. She wanted full control because she felt like this is what I know. I know the music. Yeah, you can do the film stuff, but like, let me do this because, uh, his, his lyrics were kind of like dry and too [00:16:00] on the nose. And she, you know, has experience telling stories through music and she would be able to know like which lines to use cause she was going to know like how the music would compliment them. And so I just thought it showed like she really knows how to access stories.
[00:16:14] Carter Noh: [00:16:14] Yeah. I, I definitely, I wouldn't say this is like. If you, if you categorize this with musicals, it's not the best musical ever, right? It's not the best musical soundtrack ever. If you categorize this with acting performances, it's not the best acting performance ever. Right. So it's not like [00:16:30] it in itself is this amazing standout thing. But the fact that she can do musicals and perform them this well and connect this well and tell a story this well, as well as doing everything else that she already does. That's impressive.
[00:16:43] That I think that's, that's the cool part about this is it's. It's just like. I guess another thing in her, in her repertoire that is like, that sets her apart.
[00:16:52] Savannah Wright: [00:16:52] Yeah. Totally. Something for everyone, you know?
[00:17:02] (MUSIC TRANSITION)
[00:17:02] [00:17:00] Okay. So we talked a little bit about Vespertine, but yeah, the next, the next episode really dives into that and her work as a producer. She had played a production role in all of her albums, but this was the one where she really took the reins, I would say. What stood out to you about this episode? Or what do you feel like you took away from it?
[00:17:20] Carter Noh: [00:17:20] This was one that kind of made me harken back to that first experience that I had because these little microbeats that she's putting together here, and it's not like [00:17:30] one microbeat stands out in each track, it's like, there's like 30, right, that come into this to make it what it is. And when you're not expecting that, it's weird. Right.
[00:17:41] And so this is another one where I had to, where, where it was a juxtaposition from my first experience. And I had to like confront that a little bit, but I think it's really cool. I didn't have time to get drawn super far into Vespertine, but I want to, and I'm going to, because she has a sound that she's trying to create. And she's the [00:18:00] one intentionally putting all of those little things together to create this cohesive sound. I think that that's really cool.
[00:18:06] Savannah Wright: [00:18:06] Yeah. And one of my favorite questions that I asked the listeners on Instagram was what is your favorite like microbeat in Vespertine. And there were some that I hadn't even really noticed before.
[00:18:17] There's like these ducks in one of them,
[00:18:23] (clip from "Undo") .
[00:18:23] And then of course, you know, the shuffling cars that one's really cool, but, um, it's fun to learn about that, to learn about the care that [00:18:30] went into it. And I love that she describes it as an embroidery piece because there are so many details that go into it and each detail, it takes a lot of work. And as a whole, you appreciate it, but you also want to like take a step closer and look like, Whoa, look at all that artistry right there.
[00:18:45] And the fact that she was one of like a handful of female producers at the time. Like she really paved the way for. Because now there are so many female producers. I mean, not enough, not nearly enough, but like there's so many more than before.
[00:19:00] [00:18:59] Carter Noh: [00:18:59] Absolutely. And one of the things too that I thought about when listening to this is like, If I were, if I were directing this, like how would I make these decisions?
[00:19:08] The fact that she's doing this all on herself, there's entire studios that specialize in these little sounds right. In, in putting these kinds of things together. And usually if you're an artist, you're probably just going to hire someone that knows what they're doing to help you do that. But the fact that she went out and was like, I want the sound of crunching snow right here. And I want the sound of playing cards being shuffled together right here in this [00:19:30] way.
[00:19:30] Like she's the one that made all those little decisions. It's not like she kind of had a general idea and she let someone take over. I just, that's a lot of little decisions to make. A little art, little artistic decisions. I feel like it would be easy to get lost in your own work a little bit, but she didn't do that. She did it all on her own and that's cool.
[00:19:47] Savannah Wright: [00:19:47] Yeah. And I think there's just so much to that record. Like when I learned that she only wanted to use instruments that could be translated well through like, uh, a low bit rate, basically like downloaded over the internet when they're compressed. I was like, Oh [00:20:00] my gosh, she just thinks about everything.
[00:20:02] I mean, I'm sure like every song someone writes there's an idea behind it, there's a story. But there's like a story of why she wrote the song, but then there's a whole separate story of how she made the song, how she got the sounds, how she used each instrument, why she used each instrument. You're not going to get that just from listening to it.
[00:20:18] And I think she's one of those artists that, you know, when you go to a museum, they have a little placard that explains the work. I feel like she's one of those artists that like people benefit from having that.
[00:20:28] Not. I don't think she would want to be thought [00:20:30] of that way. Like, Oh, you, you have to do research to enjoy my work because she wants to be a pop artist, and she is, but I do think it's helpful because I don't think we're all on her level sometimes.
[00:20:40] Carter Noh: [00:20:40] Yeah, exactly.
[00:20:46] (MUSIC TRANSITION)
[00:20:46] Savannah Wright: [00:20:46] Let's move on then to the collaboration episode, where I talk about the work she did with Timberland and Arca and serpentwithfeet. Uh, what were some of your takeaways from, from that one?
[00:20:57] Carter Noh: [00:20:57] I think probably the, the thing that stood out to me the most here [00:21:00] was her confidence in herself as an artist. I really liked the whole one plus one equals three idea of like, if you're confident in your work first, then you can bring other people in and give them creative freedom and not lose sight of your own vision.
[00:21:13] And I think that that speaks to, again, what we've been talking about, like the level of detail she adheres to in her own work, the level of artistic vision that she's at, allows her to not be condescending when she works with other people. You know, to give them freedoms and to transform that. [00:21:30] I really liked that.
[00:21:32] Savannah Wright: [00:21:32] Yeah, she's so nurturing. Like the fact that she has nurtured so many younger artists and really elevated them.
[00:21:38] Carter Noh: [00:21:38] Yeah, I feel like a lot of proteges, whether they be like a, you know, a scientist that is this absolute genius that's wrapped up in their work or something or. When you think of those kinds of people, nurturing and loving and caring is not like emotions or qualities you necessarily think of.
[00:21:55] And I definitely, with all of these other episodes have been just blowing me away of what [00:22:00] Björk is capable of. But I kind of started to put her on a pedestal a little bit of like, she doesn't have these normal human attributes. I, which is obviously something that she doesn't want and you don't want, and I was falling a little bit guilty of that, mostly just because I was so blown away by what she's doing though. Right.
[00:22:17] And so it was very humanizing to hear about how she collaborates and how she, you know, brings, nurtures these other artists and mentors them and is so open with her work like that.
[00:22:28] Savannah Wright: [00:22:28] Yeah, I do speak [00:22:30] very like glowingly about her music and I, but I will admit sometimes when I don't connect with it.
[00:22:34] And I think every Björk fan has, you know, there, there are certain songs or albums where they're just like, yeah, she fell short here. But, but yeah, I think learning about her and the way that she works as an artist is definitely, um, applaudable.
[00:22:48] So let's talk about the last episode then, the one that came out just a few days ago, I know you're into science. Did that kind of like give you an even greater impression or admiration, or how did you react?
[00:23:00] [00:23:00] Carter Noh: [00:23:00] Um, in the episode you mentioned this doesn't sound like studio album music. It sounds like app music. And that kind of actually like flipped a switch for me in a good way of, along with metal I also listen to a lot of video game soundtracks. That's kind of like my wheelhouse through college and stuff was video game soundtracks.
[00:23:17] And so when you said that, I was like, Oh, this is video game music. Oh, I can do video game music. And I went and listened to the rest of the album and where you were like, 'yeah, I didn't really, I didn't quite connect.' I was like, Oh yeah. Oh, this is good. And it like, it kind [00:23:30] of let me flip the switch a little more.
[00:23:31] Cause cause the rest of that album is very avant garde. Right? Biophilia was the album that I was listening to the first time when I had the like, 'what the heck am I listening to' moment. It was Biophilia.
[00:23:42] So coming back to it though, but not from the perspective of 'this is, I have to think of this as pop music.' and then it's like, but this is so weird and not pop music and not accessible. But then I was like, don't think of it as that. Think of it as contemporary classical music and think of it as video game music. And then I was like, Oh actually, this is [00:24:00] cool.
[00:24:00] I think that that's like the whole thing about Björk's music is I think if you approach it from the right way, then you appreciate what she's doing with it.
[00:24:08] Savannah Wright: [00:24:08] Yeah, that's true. I mean, I think expectation setting is like what I'm hearing from you. Like, you really have to kind of know a little bit more about what you're getting yourself into because I agree. I think with Biophilia, I. When I first heard it, when it first came out, I was just like expecting it to be the typical kind of Björk album where, not that there's a typical one, but you know, either a story or some sort of like emotional resonance [00:24:30] there. Whereas I was not getting that from Biophilia.
[00:24:32] But the way that she was using the music to describe a science phenomenon was very cool. Like, it was very interesting once I kind of tempered my expectations that way. So I'm going to have to go back to it now and think of it like video game music, because yeah, I kind of made that like offhand comment. I didn't think of it that much. That's a good insight that you had.
[00:24:53] Carter Noh: [00:24:53] It helped me. It helped. That that offhand comment helped me a lot because it helped me just. Even if you don't think just don't think of it as [00:25:00] Björk, think of it as contemporary classical music. Cause that's honestly what it's most similar to.
[00:25:05] One thing I will say on that is like each song felt like a different character because she was kind of describing these different phenomenons. Each song had a very different character to it. They all drew from this kind of more classical background.
[00:25:17] But when I say video game music, that's kind of what I mean is like, I'm thinking actually almost more of a story setting where it's like, I can imagine this being the theme music for some encounter between a bad guy and a [00:25:30] good guy on the top of a dark, stormy mountain, right? Like that was. When I was thinking of "Hollow," I was thinking of the similarities to a video game that I've played that actually sounds pretty similar with the organ and everything.
[00:25:47] (clip from "Hollow")
[00:25:47] But framing it like a video game helped me appreciate the differences between each piece.
[00:25:53] Savannah Wright: [00:25:53] Yeah. Well, I mean, when you, when you open the app, each song is its own little, uh, galaxy in a universe basically. Like, or [00:26:00] a star system. That might be a better way of approaching it. It's like its own star system. And so, I mean, I think that's why they're all very like discreet. So that tracks.
[00:26:08] Uh, but what about, uh Vulnicura? Was there anything that stood out to you after, after hearing more about that and like how she had all these VR videos?
[00:26:17] Carter Noh: [00:26:17] Yeah. Vulnicura is really cool. It's definitely darker. Um, it's definitely discussing hard subject matters. But then again, I think if you come in with that mindset, it's really neat.
[00:26:29] The more I [00:26:30] kind of just steep myself in it, the more I'm going to appreciate it, the more I'm going to soak out of it.
[00:26:34] Savannah Wright: [00:26:34] Yeah, I think that you do have to take some time with each album. And I think, I mean, it's great that you are down to do that. I think a lot of people don't have the patience. Um, I mean, the way that music is written nowadays it's just like hook, hook, hook. There's basically like barely even a chorus anymore. Like you have to keep people's attention and, and Björk is the opposite of that.
[00:26:55] So I guess that kind of brings us into this question of [00:27:00] is Björk's music pop music? Because pop music has changed a lot from the nineties when she was saying that she was making pop music. But I don't know. What is your feeling about that? Cause I know you have feelings.
[00:27:11] Carter Noh: [00:27:11] I have feelings about this. Um, no, no, she's not, but yes she is. But sometimes.
[00:27:18] How do we define pop music? Right? You could take the literal definition of 'pop is supposed to mean popular.' Are the masses listening to Björk? No. So, so in that regard, not really, she's had [00:27:30] some songs that have, you know, that have gotten up there. And when you listen to her albums, you can pick out the songs that are a little more accessible.
[00:27:37] She definitely has pop songs and especially like. Like I mentioned earlier with, with, uh, Debut and Post she's playing with genres that are very recognizable genres. Right. She's doing different things, but they're all recognizable genres that she's playing with there.
[00:27:51] But after that, I mean, with everything that follows, is it pop music? No. Is [00:28:00] that okay? Yeah. Yeah. That's okay.
[00:28:04] Savannah Wright: [00:28:04] Yeah. Well, I think with pop music, the way she would describe it in those quotes that I shared and a few other ones is like, it can be accessible to anyone. Like she doesn't want her music to just be seen as highbrow, which I think is kind of how it seems still right now.
[00:28:21] Um, she wants anyone to be able to listen to it and connect to it. I think the issue is that. [00:28:30] I can't think of a better way to describe it than Plato's ideal and the real, and like, she has this ideal version of pop music that she's aspiring to, but we like can't access that right now. Like we're too, we're too far on this other plane of what we actually listened to as pop music.
[00:28:47] Carter Noh: [00:28:47] Yeah. I think that's a good way of describing it. I think you mentioned little plaques at, at an art museum at an art gallery, right. When you walk into like, especially like a modern art museum, that the stereotype of modern art is that it's just [00:29:00] weird mish-mash that doesn't mean anything. Right. But that's why those plaques are there is so that you can understand the artist's intent going into it and what it's trying to convey.
[00:29:10] And so it takes a little bit of work on the listener's part. If you're like me and you're just like, 'Oh, my friend recommended this and it must be good.' And you put her entire discography on shuffle and go in with no work put in, then it's just going to be jibberish.
[00:29:24] And that's like walking into a modern art museum and just looking around the whole room and being like, there's weird [00:29:30] paint splatters, and there's weird bent twisted metal. And why is there a banana taped to the wall? And you're not going to get anything out of that. But if you take, okay, take the time, go read the little plaque for a second. Think for half a second and go, 'Oh, okay. That's actually really cool.' That you're going to enjoy it. You're going to appreciate it.
[00:29:46] Savannah Wright: [00:29:46] Yeah, and I think it's okay if you don't appreciate some of it.
[00:29:49] Like, I think, you know, I don't connect with every modern art piece and I've been honest, like I don't connect with every Björk song, but I think I connect with enough of her work and I just really appreciate the [00:30:00] thought and attention to detail that she has that I just want more people to to give her that.
[00:30:06] Because I think again, if you only hear a couple of songs by her and they're kind of weird and then you just dismiss her as like, Oh yeah, she's that weird woman who wore a swan dress, then you're missing out on this like whole world that she's created. And so I just want to invite more people into that.
[00:30:20] So I'm going to assume that after this series, are you going to listen to Björk on your own now?
[00:30:25] Carter Noh: [00:30:25] I am. I won't say that Björk is like, wow, favorite artists now, right? [00:30:30] Yeah. Um, I would say that I've gotten a lot out of it and I want to keep listening to continue getting a lot out of it, but yeah, she'll, she'll be added to the catalog of things that I listen to semi-frequently for sure.
[00:30:48] Savannah Wright: [00:30:48] Okay, so Carter and I talked a lot about doing your homework before diving into Björk's music, and through this podcast I hope I've made that part a little easier for you. [00:31:00] I know this episode feels like a finale, but it's not. We've barely scratched the surface of Björk's discography. And like I told Carter, I focused on her most accessible tracks as a way in, so now that Carter's on board and hopefully you are too, we can take some deeper dives.
[00:31:20] That's up next. Stay tuned for season two.
[00:31:24] You've been listening [00:31:30] to Björk Unravelled, a series that demystifies Björk's music one piece at a time. Björk Unravelled is produced independently by me, Savannah Wright. If you liked this series, please share your favorite episode with a friend and submit a review on whatever podcast app you're using. You can connect with me on Instagram @bjorkunravelled.
[00:31:52] I actually just posted a survey on my story highlights, and if you could sacrifice just three minutes to take it, it will help me plan the next [00:32:00] season. Thanks for listening.