The Björk Rate: Complete. | Page 128 | The Popjustice Forum

The Björk Rate: Complete.

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

  1. Pagan Poetry is making love. There aren't more words I can use to describe it, it's just that sensation you feel when you are making love with someone and you are just connected on every level and it feels like you and the other one could just go on and on for ever.

    Bachelorette, what a tune! I love the heights her voice reaches on the chorus, it's quite a thrilling moment and yes epic is the exact word, it's such a cinematic work of art
  2. This is going brilliantly. I honestly don't mind which song wins but I'm rooting for Hyperballad ever so slightly more.
    LE0Night, Plethorya and Animalia like this.
  3. A&E



    I'm too shaken to write anything coherent about the song right now. I guess I'm rooting for Hyperballad now. Regretting having upped my Jóga score from the Alt Queens rate.
    LE0Night and Animalia like this.
  4. A&E


    Thanks for hosting Ani, I'm so glad Pagan Poetry was the highest rated track.

    Can we lock the thread to avoid any off topic chat.
    @Solenciennes @2014 @ohrohin
  5. LTG


    Cmon Jóga you can do this my lovely Icelandic baby.
    Animalia likes this.
  6. Joga is the clear winner of this
    Petty Mayonnaise likes this.
  7. The time has come.

    43 voters.

    More words than I care to count or even think about.

    And a hell of a lot of love.

    And your runner-up is...


    #2 – Hyperballad (9.92)

    Highest: 11 x5 (@Adzie, @NightmareBoy, @BeingBoring, @Txetxu, @Animalia), 10 x32 (@AllGagaLike, @Ray, @enjoy, @clockworknovak, @One Stop Candy Shop, @vikeyeol, @kermit_the_frog, @Weslicious, @P'NutButter, @Cool Beans, @constantino, @JamesJupiter, @Zdarlight, @Can't Speak French, @Psycho, @Kuhleezi, @Booers, @NecessaryVoodoo, @ephemeralartery, @ManilaChinchila, @rawkey, @Andy French, @Karvel, @dodoriazarbon, @A&E, @Mister_G, @strangekin, @A$AP Robbie, @Remorque, @LTG, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Push)
    Lowest: 7 x1 (@Baby Clyde)

    So close. Hyperballad scores your silver medal, and you all know what that means! But let’s give this song a proper celebration first. I don’t think I ever explicitly said it, but I don’t imagine it was any secret that this was my 11 either. The pain, the torture of watching this flip between #1 and #2 was INTENSE, you guys. Hyperballad was your winner for the majority of the voting period to be honest, with an average above 10 for the longest time, but a string of 11s for Jóga in the dying days clinched it at the last minute. It was a harrowing experience, folks, akin to watching a car crash in slow motion. But on the plus side, a 9.92 average and the highest number of 10s in the rate ain’t nothing to sniff at. I mean c’mon, only 6 people scored it below a 10: one 9.5, three 9s, one 8 and one 7. SIay a bit, my love. I’m proud of ya.

    Having enjoyed its 20th birthday just a few months ago, Hyperballad was released on February 12th 1996 as the fourth single from Post. Despite being such a late single and the album having been out for almost a year at that point, Hyperballad still charted at #8 in the UK, becoming her third and final Top 10 hit. It graced Top 40s across Scandinavia and Australia, too, and even hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart; NME named it the 69th best song of the 1990s, and Pitchfork the 11th on their same chart; it was ranked at #686 on XFM Radio’s Top 1000 Songs Of All Time; it was the top fan choice for inclusion on Greatest Hits; and it was even covered by PJ darling Robyn at the Polaris Music Prize ceremony where Björk was being honoured. Basically, it’s a little bit iconic. And damn right, too.

    Amongst the frenetic dynamism of Post, sandwiched between the aggression of Army of Me and the bizarre charms of The Modern Things, lies Hyperballad – the unassuming little bop, far more traditional in structure and production, but remarkable and astounding in its own right. Produced by our good friend Nellee Hooper with string arrangements by Eumir Deodato, Hyperballad starts off as slow, curious little number with Björk going on about throwing cutlery and bits of cars of a cliff in her usual quirky little way across a sparse soundscape of snares and sickly-sweet bleeps. But then the chorus comes in with its alien-esque wobbly synths and distant strings, adding just that little more depth to the track, slowly building up to… the moment; arguably the single greatest moment in Björk’s entire discography. The very instant that second chorus kicks in and those feverish 90s rave beats drop in out of nowehere, everything changes. And then the strings rise up, serene and almost melancholic over the crazed energy of the production, and then it all stops. And all that’s left to play us out is the gradually waning string section, mournful yet majestic, a beautifully calm conclusion to the cacophony left behind. It’s a true masterpiece.

    Hyperballad has been one of my favourite songs for, well, as long as I can remember, really. Through my brother, I grew up with Björk’s first few albums, and I have fond memories of my sister & I re-enacting the cliff scene by driving minibuses off the mountain in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas while blasting this song. I remember listening to this (and Shania Twain I_CANNOT_USE_REAL_WORDS_PROPERLY_) while playing Doom over the LAN with my brother. It just reminds me of being a kid again, in all the best ways. But it’s only very recently that I’ve understood the lyrical sentiment behind the song: Björk has explained that Hyperballad, at its core, is about the danger of losing yourself to a relationship, of relinquishing your unique sensibilities in order to appease a partner and protect them: “It's got to do with when you fall in love, it is so precious to you, you never know this might be the last time, so your behaviour towards the loved one becomes very sweet and you go somewhere else to be aggressive. Because I believe that all people have got both sides. So you end up having to unload your aggression at a bar or by throwing cutlery off cliffs. So you can come back to your loved one, kiss him sweet on his cheek, and say happily, Hi honey.” Now, I’ve gotta be low-key careful here ‘cause I know my boyfriend reads these (hey gurl), but now as an adult (kii) I can empathise with Björk there; you do have to be careful not to suppress your opinions and feelings just to keep yourself in that safe place. Hyperballad is my 11 because even though it’s always been one of my favourite ever songs, I’m still finding new layers of depth to it after so many years, and I’ve found an even greater appreciation for it now more than ever.

    But I’m also scared of hitting the character limit again, so over to you guys! “Just sheer perfection” AllGagaLike states, entirely correctly, backed up by Up Down Suite who adds “the ending is such a bliss.” P’NutButter lives for the strings, too! “It was such an obvious 10, but I had to award it that. Even the last 10 seconds of violin would be a 10!” Shoulda given it your 11, teebs. “This is gonna win, isn't it?” asks One Stop Candy Shop, tearing at my heartstrings, “It's a song in a league of its own. The moment when those beats kick in in the second chorus, is one of the Best Moments In The History Of Music.” *breaks down* “Who knew a song about chucking rubbish off a mountain top could be so exhilarating!” Booers cries, “I love the way it builds up, and is electro and orchestral at the same time.”

    Ray, meanwhile, focuses on the lyrical highlights rather than the production. “That lyric and the imagery it evokes! ‘I go through all this before you wake up, so I can feel happier to be SAFE again with you’. Mind is blown, geese are bumped, I play this and Army Of Me in repeat 500 times and my cassette wears out and I need to buy the album again and I do because it deserves it.” Yas queen of milking her fans for all they’re worth! Zdarlight admits it was a contender for their 11, naming it “one of her best ever songs”, and Can’t Speak French confesses to it just missing out on their 11 too, saying “it perfectly encapsulates so many feelings”. “I just adore the production,” constantino praises, “it’s so sparky and euphoric. The name of the track is telling, but the house-lite outro is really out of the blue”, and Push cites a love for the song’s production too: “What a song. Hyperballad serves for a brilliant, purely confessional moment, packaged with the excellence of Nellee Hooper's production.”

    As always, those whose 11 has fallen at the final hurdle shall play us out. I love each and every one of you who gave Hyperballad your 11. Mourn with me, sisters. First up, it’s Txetxu. “After thinking it over and over this is definitely the song to catch the oh so desirable 11. The way it starts and goes in crescendo is just devastatingly gorgeous. Her vocals, the background synths, the way the lyrics are portrayed with such imagery (and the lack of background music when the "eyes" part is going on) are a masterclass in how an incredible pop song should be crafted. Even if I do miss this Björk, I know this masterpiece could have only ocurred in such frametime. PD: This is all about the flawless album version - the single mix butchers everything and sets it on fire.” And finally, our dear NightmareBoy. “Giving this song my 11 may seem like a safe choice, but I don't think she can top this emotional crescendo. The imagery of the lyrics, so brutal yet so beautiful, with that incredible melody and build-up, topped by her passionate interpretation, makes this her most powerful masterpiece.”

    You were so close, Hyperballad. So damn close.

  8. Which means...


    #1 – Jóga (10.00)

    Highest: 11 x8 (@Push, @LTG, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Booers, @ephemeralartery, @Cool Beans, @rawkey, @JamesJupiter), 10 x27 (@Remorque, @strangekin, @Mister_G, @dodoriazarbon, @Karvel, @ohnostalgia, @Andy French, @ManilaChinchila, @NecessaryVoodoo, @Kuhleezi, @Psycho, @Can't Speak French, @BeingBoring, @NightmareBoy, @Adzie, @Zdarlight, @constantino, @P'NutButter, @Weslicious, @kermit_the_frog, @vikeyeol, @clockworknovak, @Txetxu, @enjoy, @Ray, @AllGagaLike, @Animalia)
    Lowest: 8 x1 (@Baby Clyde)

    Like A Prayer, Back To Black, Jóga. 43 of us voted here, and collectively we have decided that this is not only Björk’s single greatest song, but also that it’s a perfect 10/10. Aside from Baby Clyde’s 8 and Aester’s 8.5, every single one of us gave this at least a 9; it’s undeniable. It’s up there with the greatest songs in PJ Rate Herstory.

    Somewhere out there, there’s a forty-something year old Icelandic woman named Jóga, on her way to work or out for a walk, blissfully unaware of the fact that her namesake has now won two Popjustice rates within the space of a few months. I won’t lie, I’m slightly disappointed that this won purely because my 11 came second and as others have mentioned, it would have been nice to have two songs representing our lady B in the second winners’ rate, but I forget any such uncertainties the instant the song starts playing. It’s huge. It’s the towering colossus of Björk’s career, simultaneously unique and representative of her entire career as a whole. We’ve talked a lot about Björk’s astounding ability to seamlessly weave together traditional musicality with innovate, present-day trends and complex production, but Jóga really is the epitome of her craft. It’s the perfect marriage of classical strings with the crunchy, aggressive Homogenic beats – it’s everything Björk is an artist in one gloriously triumphant ode to her homeland, and it’s more than deserving of your crown.

    Björk originally wrote the track while on one of her regular walks around Iceland’s desolate, fiercely natural landscapes. Deciding she wanted Homogenic to be a passionately patriotic record embodying both the cultural and aesthetic beauty of the country, she contacted her recording engineer Markus Dravs (who would later produce Florence’s How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful album) to help her with the finishing touches to Jóga. In a moment of cruel irony, she dismissed his result as “too abstract” (kii) and Sjón and Mark Bell were enlisted to help make the song more digestable (kiiiiii). Björk then composed the string sections for the Icelandic String Octet to perform, and thus, Jóga was born. Designed as a tribute to Iceland’s rough, unpredictable climate and geography with its “volcanic beats” and it violins evoking the “old-fashioned atmosphere”, Jóga flows with the kind of dynamism that makes it feel like a living, breathing creature. Those deep, dark synths hidden in its depths are almost like a heartbeat, never wavering in the face of the formidable orchestration or the harsh, chaotic undercurrents.

    Lyrically, Jóga could in some ways be interpreted as the both a follow up to, and the antithesis of, Hyperballad, which feels quite appropriate. It’s about being so madly, deeply in love that you lose control of yourself, devolving into “a state of emergency”, and the gratitude towards the person who put you in such a state. On paper, that sounds like a bad thing, but while that feeling of complete and utter devotion and attraction can be wild and intimidating, it brings with it a sense of freedom and contentedness in yourself. You don’t have to worry about losing yourself and changing for someone when you know they love and understand exactly who you are, regardless. That’s my interpretation of the lyrics, anyway – as per the course with Björk, they’re a tad ambiguous. At the very least, Jóga, at its heart, is a song about pure, unrelenting love and desire, set to a tumultuous soundscape of what has recently been described as “proto-dubstep” – I mean, when will Björk’s influence end?

    Jóga’s video was yet another Michel Gondry video, but to be honest, the less said about it, the better. Especially following up from Army of Me and Bachelorette, Jóga’s video is a bit of a disappointment. Not in the least because Björk herself hardly makes an appearance, which fucked up my Top 10 graphic a tad. THANKS GURL. If it’s any consolation, Popjustice darlings Lights and Loreen have both covered the song, and Missy Elliott saw fit to sample the string introduction in the video remix of her song “Hit Em wit da Hee”.

    Proudly flying the flag Homogenic’s patriotism, Jóga was the chosen as the lead single from the album. It was released on September 15th 1997, but for a variety of reasons involving unfortunate circumstances and poor planning, it failed to chart entirely in both the UK and the US, despite gracing charts all across Europe and Australasia. It’s commercial misfortunate/misjudgement adds a nice touch of poignancy to its second PJ rate crown – never has “Popjustice” been more accurate a term. We did it, folks. Justice has been served.

    Commentary in the next post 'cause y'all had a lot to say and the character limit fucked me up a bit.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
  9. “I'll love it forever,” AllGagaLike claims, “everything about it is perfect, from the sweeping strings to the volcanic middle 8 to the celestial outro. And those vocals...” God I didn’t even get a chance to mention her vocals, but it’s pretty much a given at this point eh? Txetxu admits to it being a close contender for their 11, saying “Those lyrics sum up all the colours of the feeling of love. Those strings, the underwater final adlibs, the sentation of being covered and surrounded by love... I could go on and on.” P’NutButter dolls out the kiis a bit, calling it “A masterpiece” before adding “the last 30 seconds make me shiver and almost go catatonic - so powerful. I have no idea what she is saying.” Hey, what’s new? That’s part of Björk’s charm. “Another contender for my 11,” Zdarlight admits, “It's so gorgeous and beautiful, it almost makes me emotional when I listen to it. Whenever someone wants to check out Björk and asks me for recommendations, Joga is on top of my list.” Almost makes you emotional? Let it all out, Zdarlight!

    “I didn’t think this one would become a favourite, since I was pretty indifferent to it at first listen,” Up Down Suite confesses, “but now I’m in a weird state of awe whenever I play Homogenic, this song in particular.” One Stop Candy Shop quotes a song even greater than Jó—actually no, I can’t even finish that joke. “Beautiful, as Kylie Minogue (Featuring Enrique Iglesias) would say.” Oh dear. The thought was there, at least. I’m not really sure where constantino was going either. “Make me search around on YouTube a bit, queen! It was of course worth it though; the strings really bring this track to life. The instrumentation is so lush and grand; it really feels like a ‘moment’ in her discography.” I mean, I put direct video links in the second post but if all that hard work went to waste THAT’S FINE I GUESS. “So close to being my 11!” Can’t Speak French screams, yet again, “It’s so perfect. The strings! The beats! The everything! Put me in a state of emergency queen, my life can only go downhill after this album.”

    Add Ray to the ever-growing list of almost-11ers! “This is absolutely impossibly fantastically brilliant and I wish I could give ten 11s because "Jóga" deserved one as well. What a lead single. Strangely Michel Gondry absolutely fails on the video front, it looks very "best rendering of 1989". But the MELODIES. The verse. The pre-chorus. The chorus. The strings sampled to fantastic effect by Missy Elliott years later. To quote the great philosopher Dannii Minogue, "how can you be so damn perfect?" It's also a perfect example of how this album is built on ice cold beats and string arrangements. If you look at the booklet (I think this works with the cassette best) the outside is all ice-silver coloured but the inside is… a heart with its deep crimson reds. And the people who don't buy physical records miss a LOT by not owning this.” Stopppppp you’re making me want to spend all my money on Björk casettes! “How do you not just melt listening to this?” strangekin cries, “Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhh. So fucking good. I'm not even sure if I can put into words why this song is so good. I actually doubt anyone can truly.” Well, let’s give our 11-givers a fair shot, shall we?

    Booers considers Jóga to be “kind of like an extension of Hyberballad, only slightly better but I don’t know why or how!” “I couldn’t not give this my 11,” ephemeralartery concludes, “it was going to be for Play Dead but as I was finishing up this rate I realized that Joga was my true love and needed that extra point. I love you, Joga.” And finally, the very last piece of commentary in our puzzle, it’s Push. Go for it sis, you deserve it. You won. “I have been staring at the keyboard for the entire length of Jóga, attempting to find the best way to describe this song, but the best way to go with this one is to be unfiltered. I have a profound love for Jóga that I will possibly never fully understand, lying somewhere between Björk's emotionally-reactive voice, the magnificence of its strings, and the masterfully-endowed, yet frank and effective lyricism. Pointing out that Björk's voice does wonders is a recurrent characteristic of my commentary in this rate, but this recording is its highest exponent (even when she is singing gibberish, she sends shivers to my spine). 'Cutting-edge' is also an adequate adjective for most of Homogenic, and the transition between the orchestra setting and some sort of precocious dubstep is just that. Trying to quote a single verse from Jóga proved unfruitful, since not one of them is less than cut-straight-to-the-heart amazing: these words accurately describe that feeling of supreme happiness, enthusiasm, "emergency". The final part never fails to send shivers down my spine. This is the centrepiece of Homogenic.”​
  10. ohnostalgia

    ohnostalgia Staff Member

    LE0Night and Animalia like this.
  11. ohnostalgia

    ohnostalgia Staff Member

    @Animalia, my rate sister, thank you for teaching me so much about Bjork!!!
  12. LTG


  13. A&E


    Eh. At least we got this out of it:

    LE0Night, Ray and Animalia like this.
  14. I love Jóga's video, if only for the final reveal that Iceland is, literally, in her heart.
    LE0Night, Push, Karvel and 1 other person like this.
  15. Wait at me never making this connection. oops.
    LE0Night and ManilaChinchilla like this.
  16. To @Animalia, for all of your hard work and patience I would've strangled someone 50 entries ago and your absolutely outstanding write-ups and hosting, you deserve an award (and a big hug).


    Also possibly some sort of Björk-historian scholarship.
  17. Thank you @Animalia for a fantastic rate, it was a great one to do as my first. Will definitely have to get involved some more

    I think you've helped establish Bjork as my favourite artist. Since I did the rate listen I keep on coming back to her, and I feel like I can really appreciate her genius a lot more now. It sounds a bit cheesy, but I feel like I've learned so much about her.
    LE0Night and Animalia like this.
  18. Well Joga is as Animalia stated the song that represents Bjork's music in it's entirety.

    There is something heavenly and wonderful about the outro, to me it's kinda like what you would hear when you are about to die and you see all the beautiful memories and feel all those amazing sensations you experience throughout life, it's just that good, well honestly Homogenic per say it's that good

    And I LOVED the commentary! (I lived for @Ray draggings of Biophilia) I discovered so many things (what a flop stan) about a lot of songs
    LE0Night and Animalia like this.
  19. Congrats Joga to a crazy average score of 10, well deserved! And congrats to you Animalia, this rate was a great reminder and celebration of Björk's wonderful art.
    LE0Night and Animalia like this.
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