Discussion in 'Charts, rates etc' started by Animalia, Mar 7, 2016.
Bollocks, it's so much better than 'Big Time Sensuality'!
'I've Seen Ot All' is beautiful but the thing is I had no idea Thom Yorke was on it. I wasn't rating the album version which I don't think I even listened to before scoring. My love of this song comes entirely from the film which is more or less a masterpiece although I haven't cruelly reweatched it since the first time I saw in in 2000. I do clearly remember this song being the moment I totally fell in lie with it though.
I do understand that outside the context of the film none of it makes much sense but within it the whole thing is totally heartbreaking.
'Have you seen China, have you seen the wall?
All walls are great if the roof doesn't fall'
As if I've spent another hour on this elimination when I should've been working.
#28 – Oceania (8.45)
Highest: 10 x15 (@Andy French, @Can't Speak French, @P'NutButter, @Cool Beans, @ManilaChinchila, @NecessaryVoodoo, @Kuhleezi, @Psycho, @vikeyeol, @Weslicious, @enjoy, @strangekin, @Karvel, @Petty Mayonnaise, @Push)
Lowest: 3 x1 (@etienne)
With a new record number of 10s, Oceania sees Medúlla suffer another blow, leaving only the two singles and a fan-favourite left standing.
Oceania is one big exercise is doing the absolute most. When Björk was commissioned to write a song for the 2004 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony in Athens, she was specifically asked for an “Ebony and Ivory, We Are The World type song”, focussed on uniting people across the world through a shared love of music and sport. Björk considers these songs “smashing tunes”, but as we are all very well aware, 2004 Björk was not all about smashing tunes. No. She decided to take a slightly different approach to the task. But…
"I tried to write the lyrics and I couldn’t. I just came up with rubbish like ‘Pull up your socks and run through the ribbon,’ ‘All the nations hold hands,’ and stupid stuff like that. Pathetic!”
Enter Sjón. When asked to help her write a “suitably epic” song for the ceremony, our poetic friend apparently forgot the entire point of the internet and took it upon himself to enrol on a Greek Mythology course at Reykjavík University before hitting the studio. As a result, Oceania was the very last song recorded for Medúlla, with Björk admitting to still playing around with it until the day of the deadline. A triumphant, charismatic swell of siren-esque choirs and bubbling beats, Oceania is an uninhibited celebration of nature and humanity. Björk plays the role of the ancient oceans themselves, having watched the evolution and development of the human race for eons. "The song is written from the point of view of the ocean that surrounds all the land and watches over the humans to see how they are doing after millions of years of evolution. It sees no borders, different races or religion which has always been at the core of the games."
Released as a promotional single with a video directed by Lynn Fox and a with a B-side remix featuring Kelis, Oceania was premiered live during the Olympic Opening Ceremony. Björk famously appeared draped in a gigantic swathe of fabric, which slowly unravelled (kii) throughout the song until it covered all of the athletes standing in the centre of the stadium. At the end of the song, a map of the world was then projected on the fabric, to a polite smattering of applause. Honestly, it’s a lovely idea, but it’s always bothered me. Surely it just meant that the athletes – arguably the most important people there – couldn’t actually see anything? They missed the fireworks, the crowd cheering, everything. All they saw was white fabric. Oh well. While the Olympics performance wasn’t particularly well-received (“if it weren’t for the fireworks, I’m legitimately unsure if people would have cheered”), the song itself was praised by critics and fans alike.
In terms of production, it’s a bit of a mess, but in the best way possible. Overflowing with choirs mimicking mermaids in high-pitched yelps, beat-boxer Schlomo’s best impressions of rising tidal waves and a multitude of other seemingly random noises, Oceania lifts you up and drops you right into the deepest, darkest depths of the sea. And at the glorious centre of it all, acting as Mother Nature herself, your tour guide on this journey – Björk. This has to be one of her greatest vocal performances to date, right? That dreamy opening line before the production kicks in; the playful tone of “every pearl is a lynx, is a girl”; those massive, climactic aaaaaAAAAAAAAAAHs; and the closing refrain of “I am why your sweat is salty”, as strange as it is, is still bloody gorgeous. In fact, as a testament to its beauty, Oceania was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2005 Grammys. Obviously, it lost. This time to Norah Jones’ “Sunrise”, which is also quite nice but still, c’mon guys.
“The lyrics save this from being another easy skip,” Ray admits, “And whatever it is the choir is doing, it sounds like minimalist work, Steve Reich type of thing, and I really like that.” Björk herself aside, the choir work is easily the highlight of the song! Björk’s taking AllGagaLike to church. “This sounds almost gospel somehow... we need to get the church choirs singing this right away because it's stunning! (as is the Kelis remix)”. There was a lot of love for the Kelis remix, unsurprisingly. I wonder how the song would have fared if you rebels hadn’t insists on rating that version. Up Down Suite admits “giving this an 8 because of the superb Kelis remix. The choir-like backing reminds me of It’s Oh So Quiet somehow. ‘Your sweat is salty’ tho…”, and Can’t Speak French gets rebellious too. “I’m giving this a 10 purely on the merits of the collaboration with Kelis and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. Queens of my heart. This also has the benefit of not being a dirge, which always helps. My 10 is probably exaggerated by the past x many tracks of blaaaah.”
Push, meanwhile, loves both versions equally. “I love this, whether it's the album version or the Kelis edit, although I have one complaint: too often does Björk resort to screaming in the chorus, and it turns a bit annoying. But otherwise this is perfectly structured, instant, a moving piece of art.” It really feels like a living, breathing entity, huh? One Stop Candy Shop isn’t bothered about the remix either: “Glorious Olympic song and it doesn't even need Kelis.” Txetxu reminisces on simpler times. “Gorgeous still to this day. I also remember the Olympics performance being massive and thinking this would be a massive hit. What a little fool I was, haha.” Björk makes music for hearts, not charts, etc. “Yes! More beatboxing!” constantino cheers, “Queen knows my guilty pleasures and use ‘em! The soulful harmonies under the beatboxing work an absolute treat as well, so hypnotic.” I felt like P’NutButter hadn’t been given the last words in a while, and their commentary for Oceania basically sums it all up nicely, so go for it P’Nut! “Absolute perfection.” Fair enough. Why didn’t I give this a 10?
Seriously one of the best songs ever recorded and it's so frigging clever...
One breath away from mother Oceania
Your nimble feet make prints in my sands
You have done good for yourselves
Since you left my wet embrace
And crawled ashore
Every boy, is a snake is a lily
Every pearl is a lynx, is a girl
Sweet like harmony made into flesh
You dance by my side
You show me continents
I see islands
You count the centuries
I blink my eyes
Hawks and sparrows race in my waters
Stingrays are floating
Across the sky
Little ones, my sons and my daughters
Your sweat is salty
I am why
- Seriously stunning work, so deep but also obvious. *claps*
It'll be a wee while before the next one, partly 'cause I have a shitload of work to do today, but mostly because it's an absolute disaster, should have been Top 10 and I want to hug the person who gave it their 11 until the end of time.
Please not 'Unravel'.
I couldn't decide if liking this would come across as reassuring or apologetic, but I did it anyway. Only time will tell.
I just broke out in a cold sweat.
Not really bothered by any of the last eliminations. That Kelis collab THO
I would kill to have that Kelis mix, but I can't seem to find it.
It's on UK iTunes, under the Oceania "Single" that just uses the Who Is It artwork. No such luck on your end?
Nah the single isn't even on iTunes for some reason.
Boo. I hope you were petty enough to have taken points off for that. I know I would've.
I think I did actually. At least a half point.
I had no idea the Olympics performance wasn't well-received. I remember watching it with friends and we were all completely dazzled: "Is she covering up the athletes with her giant dress?! Amazing!"
That performance will always have a special place in my heart because it was my first encounter with Björk. I fell definitively in love with her shortly afterwards after reading her explanation for the Medúlla title in an interview to Repubblica.
My favourite thing about the Oceania version featuring Kelis is that it came about thanks to a skipping Peaches CD.
^ I don't use this word/expression often but, Queens!
Meh Oceania deserved to be in the top 5 but not that surprised considering the previous eliminations
I've got those exact sunglasses.
My desert island Björk playlist:
Separate names with a comma.