The Björk Rate: Complete. | Page 127 | The Popjustice Forum

The Björk Rate: Complete.

Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Animalia, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. Pagan Poetry is an unequivocal masterpiece. First of all, it has the best opening of any pop song of all time. If those harp strings in the first thirteen seconds don't compel you to drop everything you are doing at the time (if the song unexpectedly graces you with its presence through a shuffled playlist) close your eyes and raise your head towards the sky momentarily believing that there is a god (there isn't) then I don't know what to tell you. When I'm riding my bike and the songs comes on, I pull up to the side of the road and take a few breaths before I continue.

    In fact, even if you're listening the song in the album sequence and the harp strings play right after you've stopped sobbing to the Undo crescendo, about all the things that have fucked you over in your life and you have to get over ("if you're bleeding...undo", etc) the effect is the same. You can NEVER be prepared for those strings.

    Second of all, it's a song with 55 different ideas...and all of them work. Nobody has put a song out like that before and nobody will ever again. If anyone tried, it would sound like a mess.

    And finally, I cannot believe that you don't appreciate the "I love him, I love him..." loop. I have read your posts about the 90s and they're all torture and drama. This song is all torture and drama. It doesn't make sense that you don't like it. Open your heart to it.
    Babylon, beekeeper, Jóga and 11 others like this.
  2. ohnostalgia

    ohnostalgia Staff Member

    I gave all of them a score above 8, but would prefer Joga win.
  3. HUH???

    The 90's were all nightclubs, E's and well more nightclubs and more E's.

    They were fabulous.
  4. How very generous of me.
  5. *oh*
  6. Shall we find out our bronze medallist?

    (Are enough people around?)
    ohnostalgia likes this.
  7. I'm here, playing the should'o'won Unison awaiting the Top 3!

    Fingers and toes for 3. Hyperballad 2. Pagan Poetry and 1. Joga
    Push likes this.
  8. Yeah, spit it out.
  9. If Jóga doesn't win, then I'm asking Eyjafjallajökull to errupt on my behalf.
    LE0Night and Ray like this.
  10. I'm so excited!!!
  11. Third place goes to...


    #3 – Pagan Poetry (9.60)

    Highest: 11 x5 (@A&E, @Andy French, @Can't Speak French, @vikeyeol, @One Stop Candy Shop), 10 x27 (@Push, @Petty Mayonnaise, @LTG, @Remorque, @strangekin, @Mister_G, @dodoriazarbon, @Karvel, @NecessaryVoodoo, @Kuhleezi, @Psycho, @BeingBoring, @Aester, @Adzie, @Zdarlight, @JamesJupiter, @constantino, @Cool Beans, @P'NutButter, @Weslicious, @kermit_the_frog, @clockworknovak, @enjoy, @Txetxu, @Up Down Suite, @AllGagaLike, @Animalia)
    Lowest: 7 x3 (@rawkey, @A$AP Robbie, @Baby Clyde)

    Five 11s and twenty-seven 10s. This will be a disappointing finish for some, but a 9.60 average with no scores below a 7 is damn impressive result for a song that quite easily could have proved divisive in the face of the more strictly “pop” giants. And therein lies the wonder of Pagan Poetry – it very much belongs to the more artsy, avant-garde realm of Björk’s discography, deviating far from her traditional pop routes and challenging you with its off-kilter music box charms, but where other such “difficult” songs faltered and fell early on in the rate, Pagan Poetry stood strong at #3 for pretty much the entire time. Its sheer strength, its emotional power and complexity carried it through, proudly representing Vespertine in the very upper echelons of the leaderboard, and honestly I couldn’t be happier. The song creates it own little world and envelopes you in, twisting and turning around you with it’s intricate weave of sounds and tormented cries. It’s a beautiful dark twisted fantasy, really – a comparison Kanye himself would surely approve of, since he played the song at one of his shows, dedicating it Björk who was in the audience. Queens.

    Amidst the complex network of chimes and deep, muffled beats lies a harrowing love story, wrought with anguish and pain. Contrary to most of Vespertine, which explores the happiness and comfort to be found in love, Pagan Poetry delves into the dark depths of suffering that can come along with it; the dangerous, forbidden side of love. Whether it's the pain of unrequited love, or the internal struggle of a mutually destructive relationship, the song evokes the hidden emotional torture and turmoil of having to let go of love that you know is ultimately doomed. But at the same time, Pagan Poetry is intimately passionate and sexual, finding solace and redemption in the physical aspect of the relationship, those moments in which the pain doesn’t matter. All the dilemmas and anguished thoughts culminate in Björk’s haunting chants of “I love him, I love him” before finally making the decision to “keep me all to myself”, sacrificing the tortured romance for her own sake, setting herself free to find a more peaceful, positive kind of love. I’ve mentioned before that until very recently, I thought the closing lines were screams of “but he makes me want to hurt myself”, rather than “he makes me want to hand myself over”, but really they’re both scarily fitting.

    Pagan Poetry was the second single taken from Vespertine. Released November 5th 2001, it sadly only just managed to scrape the Top 40 at #38 in the UK, but made impressive impacts on Portuguese (#4), Spanish (#6) and Canadian (#12) charts, and even made it onto Pitchfork’s Top 500 tracks of the 2000s at #227. The music box version of the song heard within was created by Jack Perron (who manufactured the music boxes used for Vespertine themselves), and was later included as a separate B-side to Cocoon.

    The music video for Pagan Poetry was directed by Nick Knight – it was his first ever music video, followed by Born This Way and Bound 2 – and almost definitely holds the title of Björk’s most controversial video. As enigmatic and vague as the song itself, the first half of the video is an overly-processed blurry mess of blobs and mysterious shapes that when looked at closely reveal themselves as explicit sexual acts. There’s some light-hearted fellatio in there, some good ol’ fashioned ejaculation – you name it, it’s probably hidden in there somewhere. The most controversial aspect of that being… it might just be actual footage of Björk and Matthew Barney. All Knight had to say on the matter was that he gave Björk a handheld camera to “film her love life” for the video, and that was the end result. So… yeah. But even weirder – that wasn’t why the video was banned by MTV in the US: the latter half of the video sees Björk draped in the iconic Alexander McQueen wedding dress – a dress which leaves very little to the imagination, and we all know how terrified America is of nipples. The intermittent graphic shots of pearls and corsets being sewn directly into someone’s body probably didn’t help matter either, though.

    So taking our prized bronze medal, it’s Pagan Poetry, a harrowing tale of damned love set to Vespertine’s crowning masterpiece of production. It’s more than deserving of the fan-recognition and critical renown it enjoys, and equally of its podium finish here. Let’s have one final cheer for Vespertine, shall we?

    “Incredible. Flawless from start to end.” Txetxu cheers, “There is no fault in any of the notes used for this particular song. Those final adlibs that sound like she's being stabbed in the heart give me the feels.” Ugh, yes. Those painful, gut-wrenching screams are such a highlight in her entire career, a proper goosebumps moment. “This is too raw for me”, Ray admits, “Of course I can't not feel absolutely ripped into pieces when she declares ‘I loff heem, I loff heem’ but it's just… I don't feel there's space for me in this song. It's a complete piece.” I mean I don't really understand why that means it’s an 8/10 but do you! “I can see this winning, and it'd totally deserve it.” Sorry AllGagaLike, you weren’t far off! Meanwhile, Push articulately sums up why we all love this so much: “The driving soundscape of Pagan Poetry makes it Vespertine's apex (and one of the most memorable moments in Björk's discography), to which her otherworldly voice provides an erotic, cinematic urgency. This has to be one of my favourite songs of all time, it's pure, unadulterated magic, with its climax being absolutely devastating.”

    “Fucking incredible,” P’NutButter commends, before just going for it: “HE MAKES ME WANT TO HAAAAND MYSELF OOOOOVHHHHHHERRRR" *dies*” Bye gurl, you’ll be missed. “Just wow,” Zdarlight starts, “the song, video and everything that surrounds it. A career highlight.” Something tells me constantino might agree, too. “Yasss! Give me that twinkling, mystical and nocturnal hymn that I crave so desperately! This song makes me want to buy a lantern, some herbs, beads and a guitar and head to the nearest willow tree!” Yas I love Charmed. Up Down Suite reveals a more emotional connection to the song. “One I can somewhat relate to. Someone I fell for that I couldn’t stop myself from loving, yet I knew doing it was simply just me hurting myself further because it’s clearly not going to happen. And indeed all I ever got was ’a handshake’. Sing my pain, queen.” I hope you’ve found peace with it now, sis! We love ya.

    Let’s hear from out 11ers to finish up! First up, Can’t Speak French! “I’m not sure how to put this into words other than that the first time I heard it I ended up playing it on repeat about thirty times. This is the sound of the angels talking to you.” And to play out Pagan Poetry and lead us in into the Grand Finale, it’s One Stop Candy Shop. “Hyper-ballad was gonna get my 11, but when I revisited Vespertine, Pagan Poetry snatched that high score in a heartbeat. It's the richest, most complete song in Björk's catalogue. It's so dark at first, and then we get to ‘I love him, I love him,..’ and it turns out to be a love song. It's also one of her best vocal deliveries. And it's the best song ever that starts with the word ‘pedalling’.” And that’s saying something, I’m sure.

  12. Ray


    Oh phew, I was so worried this would somehow win.

    The top two is flawless perfection of the highest calibre and I don't care what wins anymore. I think I love "Jóga" marginally more but really I'm happy if it's #2 too.
  13. I was lowkey hoping Pagan Poetry would win, but eh. The beautiful commentary makes up for the loss, as per usual.
    'I love him, I love him...' is so intense.
    LE0Night, A&E and Push like this.
  14. I had to process this information for a while. This definitely deserved to win too. Ugh.
    LE0Night and A&E like this.
  15. ohnostalgia

    ohnostalgia Staff Member

    One step closer to my fave hopefully taking the crown.
    LE0Night likes this.
  16. I always found the "I love him"s too much, too intimate and too...I don´t know...
    but as soon as she goes into Greek-chorus-mode (she loves him) , she completely turns it around with ease. Amazing!
  17. Your avatar is genuinely terrifying.
  18. Poor Pagan Poetry, but well done do it nonetheless.

    I'm Team Hyper-ballad now.
    Aester, Animalia and A&E like this.
  19. 6 months is 1994 does not constitute 'The 90's'.


    'To be honest whilst it was the worst period of my life I was also having the most fun ever'.
  20. Great top two, a 10 and an 11. I guess we're not getting a surprise winner, but both those songs deserve to be there.

    Both Bachelorette and Pagan Poetry took a while to click with me, but when they did, oh boy, what a song.
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