Bjork: Impact on Popular Culture

Essay by sardiddle April 2006

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Icelandic singer Bjork has had a significant impact on popular culture. It is not only Bjork's music that has had this impact, but her entire being as well. Her solo musical career was launched in 1976 (77island, 2005) and since then she has shown her versatility through her exploration of many different musical styles. The song Pagan Poetry is one of her many songs that have impacted society.

Pagan Poetry was released on Bjork's 2001 album, Vespertine. Chock-full of symbolism, it is hard to construe exactly what the underlying meaning of the song is. It seems to be about her obsessive, painful love. The title, Pagan Poetry, is symbolic of her feeling that her love has cast a spell on her. The instrumentals give the song a very dark, eerie feeling. The bass is pounding, like an angry knock on the door, throughout the entire song. You can here the passion in her voice, which overpowers the instrumentals.

At the end of the song, the bass disappears and she begins to creepily chant, "I love him" over and over. Though it is hard to understand the meaning of this song, she gives the listener insight into herself.

In the controversial music video for Pagan Poetry, the images pulsate with the music. The video shows blurred sex scenes as well as graphic piercings, including Bjork sewing pearls into her skin. At the end of the video, bare breasted Bjork is seen going through a wide range of emotions, from mania to depression. This clip of the video resembles what it might be like to peer into the cold, empty room in a psychiatric hospital. Bjork personifies the text book version of a woman suffering from severe bi-polar symptoms. She is shown petting her face, jerking her head...