December 1, 2005

XO's Essential Songs: Hyperballad



In my own private pantheon of great songs, there is one that remains unique because, years later, it still makes me want to burst into tears (or release some other strong emotion). It also makes me want to dance. Hard. The song is Bjork's Hyperballad.

You can read the lyrics in many ways - it could be a wise, comforting song about getting through life or it could be about someone who is coming completely unhinged (and trying to hide it). Depends on your own mood. It's an interesting song to play before work or before you meet someone you view as an "opposer."

There are so many versions of this song floating around, from Bjork's second album Post. There is the incredible (and definitive)
album version with the truly ecstatic Pet Shop Boys-like digital bit toward the end, a more disco-fied house mix, several moody remixes from the long-dead, but much lamented, Bjork Remix Web. There is also a beautiful live version off her live box set.

Here is a
wonderfully detailed page about the song from Bjork's library-esque website. And the lyrics to the song... I just think it's a really moving story.

we live on a mountain
right at the top
there's a beautiful view
from the top of the mountain
every morning I walk towards the edge
and throw little things off
like: car parts, bottles and cutlery
or whatever I find lying around

it's become a habit
a way to start the day

i go through all this - before you wake up
so I can feel happier - to be safe up here with you

it's early morning
no one is awake
i'm back at my cliff
still throwing things off
i listen to the sounds they make
on their way down
i follow with my eyes 'til they crash

imagine what my body would sound like
slamming against those rocks
when it lands

will my eyes
be closed or open?

i go through all this - before you wake up
so I can feel happier - to be safe up here with you


safe up here with you
safe up here with you...

The full video, directed by Michel Gondry:
Quicktime Small
Quicktime Medium

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