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"Isobel" is a song by Icelandic singer Björk. It was released as the second single from her 1995 album Post. The lyrics describe a primitive girl who seems to be a personification of Mother Nature, and who tries to warn the technological world of its potential dangers. The music is underscored by lush strings, electronic beats, and a cinematic, orchestral introduction that eventually fades into a jungle influenced beat. The song was rumored to have been inspired by the piece "The Wonderful Widow of 18 Springs" by John Cage.

Björk has stated that a track on Homogenic, "Bachelorette", is a continuation of "Isobel". In an interview with Paper in September 1997, Björk explains, "So Isobel decides to return to the city and to take a train, like in the 30's, in South America somewhere. She decides to confront love with love and confronts the cowards that don't have the guts to fall in love with love. So you see - it's like Isobel has returned."

The lyrics to both "Isobel" and "Bachelorette" were penned by long-time collaborator, Icelandic poet Sjón. The repeating phrase "moth delivers her message/unexplained on your collar" in the chorus is a reference to when Björk found a moth on her favourite shirt. She wore the shirt all day, and even removed it to go swimming, but the moth remained.

Björk had also declared that this song is dedicated to "Elis Regina", one of the most famous and talented Brazilian singer, dead in 1982. The name Isobel is maybe the mix between her first name "Elis" and "B" and" "O" in Björk's name.

The surreal music video was shot in black and white, near Dolgellau, by director Michel Gondry. It features a number of dream-like images. Björk plays a piano that is full of pipes that fill it with water. Children play in the water, and wear masks. Björk is later shown lying beside a river wearing a dress with lights in it. She pulls some light bulbs off her dress and plants them in the ground. The light bulbs grow and act as incubators or cocoons for toy airplanes inside them. When the airplanes grow big enough, they break out of the bulbs and fly away. At the same time, numerous skyscrapers grow out of the ground and eventually are covered in cockroaches. Björk is also shown walking through the countryside, up a mountain, and beside a river.

Speaking on Eurotrash she explained the song this way: "It's the story of Isobel. She was born in a forest, by a spark, and as she grew she realised that the pebbles on the forest floor were skyscrapers, and by the time she was a grown up woman and the skyscrapers had taken over the forest she found herself in a city and she didn't like all the people there so much because they were a bit too clever for her. She decided to send to the world all these moths that she trained to go and fly all over the world, to go inside windows of people's houses, the ones that are too clever, and they sit on their shoulders and remind them to stop being clever and start to function by their instincts. And they do that by singing 'Na, na na, na na na, na na..' to them. And they say 'Oh, sorry, I was being all clever there', and they start functioning on instinct." She told the programme that she worked well with Gondry: "I guess I've got a soft spot for scientists. When I was in school I used to fall for the boys with the thick glasses who sat at the back of the class and had insect collections round their house, and I guess, in a certain way, Michel fits on to that."

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HASH1: 86A2A129EF4DF8A9 HASH2: 1376F838AEDEF4FC (MP3)


Alternative Rock




Music Video
Youtube (1,266,991 views)
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Michel Gondry

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