Björk has a fondness for manipulating the English language, toying with it to create new words and expressions, phrases we didn’t know we needed but that somehow make perfect sense as soon as we hear them. Often, they are based more on an impressionist need to convey a sensation rather than any concrete meaning. Take ‘Notget’ from 2015’s Vulnicura, for instance, or even go as far back as ‘Big Time Sensuality’ from Björk’s 1993 debut. These are typical Björkisms, turns of phrase born from a desire to express an emotion that no existing words can. Perhaps Björk plays with English so freely because it’s her second language, or perhaps (and more likely), it’s because she understands the fluidity and possibilities of language better than all of us.
‘Blissing Me’, the second track taken from the upcoming Utopia, is another example of Björk’s seemingly innate ability to meld language into something that is at once unusual yet also completely familiar. It only takes one listen of ‘Blissing Me’ to understand the phrase entirely. In fact, it seems strange it’s not an expression that exists already, though surely it’s one that will work its way into fans’ vocabulary pretty fast.
Thus far, Utopia has been called Björk’s dating album (or ‘Tinder album’, thanks to a quote she probably wishes she’d never given). It’s been described by Björk as both a continuation and rejection of previous album Vulnicura, insomuch as it continues where its narrative left off, but takes us in a far more optimistic direction. Whereas Vulnicura was heavy with dread, Utopia promises to be its lighter, brighter sibling.
‘Blissing Me’ is a surprisingly gentle track. Due to the sheer power of Björk’s vocals, she can often sound fierce and confrontational even when she’s trying to be soft and nurturing, but on ‘Blissing Me’, the fiery, volcanic surge has been quelled, her vocals restrained and delicate as she sings over a gentle lull of plucked strings. It’s a surprisingly melodic offering from Arca, the track’s co-producer, who typically favours more avant-garde arrangements, but it’s one that pays off, the tender, pieced-together feel of the track making for a floaty, sublime listen.
Unusually, ‘Blissing Me’ deals less in Björkian metaphors than the title would suggest, instead written in surprisingly straightforward lyrics. Björk’s music often has an otherworldly lilt due to its fanciful turns of phrase and abstract wordplay, but with its talk of mp3s, texting and music nerds, it’s a track that feels strongly connected to the real world where people go on dates and wait by the phone for hours after. But Björk has long been a champion of the connection between technology and people (check out the video for ‘All Is Full Of Love‘ for some erotic evidence), so it’s little surprise that she’s enjoying the simple delights of mp3-swapping and sending mushy text messages.
After several albums that explored nature, science and environmentalism, it’s good to have Björk back to her confessional, intimate best. Better still, while Vulnicura‘s brand of confessionals were distinctly bleak, Utopia‘s look set to be euphoric. ‘Blissing Me’ is a tentative step into forgotten territory. Having been in a relationship for so long, she’s now finding her feet as a singleton, exploring the mysteries and peculiarities of finding love in the modern age. As is always the case, for Björk, new territory spells innovation and creativity, and ‘Blissing Me’ is the mellifluous sound of a woman hungry to embark on a new adventure.