Bjork – Cocoon


It wrong-foots me every time: the way she phrases the word ‘sensitivity’ (at 1:55).

Years ago, I used to listen to this song with Shannon – my Shannon – in the dark, late at night, as we were falling asleep. It has obvious qualities that make it entirely appropriate for that kind of scenario. It is, of course, a very erotic song. And manages to be so without causing either the listener or the singer any embarrassment.

But beyond that is the simple fact that Bjork is such a wonderful singer. I used to lie there, marveling at the way she pushes and pulls those words in order to say much more than the words alone possibly could. At ‘sensitivity’ I’d feel a little flutter of awe.

Naturally, the problem with trying to explain that gut feeling is the danger that I might come across as a bit of a twat. Especially because it’s entirely possible that you’re one of those people who claim to be immune to, or bewildered by, Bjork. If that’s the case, and if you want to correct yourself, try approaching her, first and foremost, as simply one of the greatest, and most adventurous, singers in popular music. Of all time. Frank Sinatra? She’s up there with him.

On Cocoon her voice is accompanied and supported by the music of minimalist found-sound supremos Matmos. I’m not sure who did what, but judging by their own output, I’d guess that Bjork had a big input into the music here. It’s not just clever and intriguing – as all Matmos’s stuff is – it’s also melodic and quite beautiful. It’s the perfect match.

PS I don’t like the (official, which they’ve now removed) video. Not because I don’t find Bjork attractive (I do), but because it makes a bit of a mockery of the song by being just a little bit silly.

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About Paul Saxton

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One Response to Bjork – Cocoon

  1. mollybloom says:

    Bjork was, and will always be superb. Songs of innocence and experience. Sometimes the videos detract from the music, which is a bit of a shame.

    I’m wondering if you’ve listened to the Michael Nyman and McAlmont album – this is also really interesting in terms of voice contrast. Just saying this because of what you said about Joanna N’s voice. Bjork and McAlmont might also suffer from that love ’em or hate ’em Marmite brigade.

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