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Don’t Forget the Songs-365: Mach Dos: Day 311
Wed, Nov 21, 2012

“Pneumonia”
Björk

2007

“♫ Get over
the sorrow,
girl/ the world is
always going to
be made of
this […] I adore
how you simply
surrender to
high
♫”

Our favorite Icelandic Chanteuse Bjork is recovering from laser throat surgery. Bjork has classical voice making waves on her self created, post modern Jackson Pollack like sound canvas. Today, while sending her best get well wishes, we’re shining our spotlight on “Pneumonia,” Björk’s glorious treasure of a song from 2007’s Volta. I now it’s kind of a strange song to have on Thanksgiving but all you have to do is press play and you will discover why “Pneumonia” is a 2007’s modern retelling of 1993’s Anchor Song.” The difference between “Pneumonia” and “Anchor Song” is that Bjork has mastered the intricate balance between silence and sound. Listen to the way Bjork delicately balances that as “Pneumonia” develops through darkness like beats of life, the chorus grows louder, clearer and more beautiful climaxing until; Bjork is rediscovered within her lyrical light.

Since her Debut smash album, Björk had mostly relied on male producers like Nelle Hopper, Graham Massey, Mark Bell and Timberland to help mold her lyrical fragments into song-scape that carry her message from birth to creation. Fourteen years later, Björk has helmed most of the production of Volta working, recording vocals and mixing songs alone on her laptop. Very cinematic lyrically within nature and sound, “Pneumonia” is reflection of the fact that Björk has gone self-sufficient mode of production.

Speaking of her found creative independence, Bjork talked about the element of Guillermo Del Toro’s film that inspired “Pneumonia” when she said, “It’s liberating to see someone represent their own idea of spirituality. I thought it was going to be goblins and that kind of stuff, like David Bowie’s Labyrinth! But that wasn’t the most important part; it was about a girl’s faith in her emotions.” That’s the key element in “Pneumonia” that differs from “Anchor Song” from 1993, are the emotions that Bjork ties in with her intimate vocal that grows like an exhale breath of hope and wonder.

Did you know that “Pneumonia” was written when under a fever while watching Guillermo Del Toro’s film? Bjork explained, “Yeah, I think so. I had just seen ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ and I had two weeks of pneumonia. It was really frustrating because I was trying to finish my album. I just had to sing one song and I had several choices of what would be the last song on the album. I try not to take antibiotics, but then I gave up after two weeks and took them and immediately got better. So, I went and saw the movie, came back home, and for the first time I wasn’t feeling quite as ill. I was feeling a little bit out of the thick of it. The song sort of came out of one take and ended up being that last song on the album. The album needed to go to that sort of emotional, soulful place.”

“Pneumonia” is a liberating anthem of overcoming pain and fear with the wonder of imagination. Björk felt the inspiration from Guillermo Del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth? Could we be hearing a Björk and Del Toro collaboration on a theater screen near you? Until then celebrate your post holiday feast by unwinding your heavy tryptophan eyes with some headphones and let Björk’s delicate voice has an 21st Century “Anchor Song” to drift you away into a soulful space Björk calls “Pneumonia.”

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