Björk and Rosalía, what a couple of mommies

Two true motomamis like Björk and Rosalía have combined strength and art to give shape to the song Oral, a song written many years ago by the Icelandic artist and which just saw the light of day this afternoon.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
20 November 2023 Monday 21:22
3 Reads
Björk and Rosalía, what a couple of mommies

Two true motomamis like Björk and Rosalía have combined strength and art to give shape to the song Oral, a song written many years ago by the Icelandic artist and which just saw the light of day this afternoon. She discarded it at the time because she considered it too pop for her musical moment at that time.

And as the saying goes, the wait has been worth it. Furthermore, on this occasion, the “a lot” would undoubtedly have to be added. The original piece by the alternative planetary star (born on this day 58 years ago) has found the perfect vehicle in the collaboration with the iconic vocalist and composer from Sant Esteve Sesrovires (31 years old).

A song performed in English individually or as a duo—Rosalía releases something like “I want to kiss him” in Spanish—, with a typically Björkian sound costume, dreamy, based on strings, some wind, vocal background and electronic percussion that highlights the rhythm progressively, all in a sustained crescendo, but not grandiose.

The voices are clean, beautiful and recognizable, in a kind of very well assembled complicit dialogue, yes, with Björk in the leading role.

The 3.42 minutes of the composition are accompanied by an attractive video by Carlota Guerrero, starring the two of them, in an industrial warehouse converted into an improvised martial arts room, where the two do a few gymnastic pirouettes, dressed more or less for the occasion of white, competing on the tatami or singing together in the foreground, each finishing with a samurai sword in hand. Together, positive and both powerful.

A few days after demonstrating with passion and knowledge the breadth of her art by giving life to Se nos roto el amor at the opening of the Latin Grammys, Rosalía now shows herself as the ideal accomplice in a song in which she places herself far from the flamenco touches that most identify her — like the one mentioned last Sunday giving life to the classic praised by Rocío Jurado.

To begin with, the curious vocal combination, since the voice that is heard from Björk is the one she recorded many years ago, at an age like Rosalía is now. This dialogue is one of her great charms, and she is also a you to you with the same age that deals with oral, about wanting to kiss someone. And from a not painful perspective, but rather playful even.

The composition, in fact, could be enjoyed publicly today after being delayed twice – October 27 and November 9 – by decision of One Little Independent Records, Björk's record label.

The composition, which the author of classics such as Human Behavior and Hyperballad had recorded on a demo approximately a quarter century ago and which she has never published, has served to materialize a collaboration that Björk deeply longed for, as she had made explicit on social networks. “This is a 25-year-old song of mine that I wrote and programmed inspired by a dancehall rhythm (the grandmother of reggaeton).”

In a recent interview, he explained about Oral that “I wrote it between [his albums] Homogenic and Vespertine and it came out too poppie. “It just didn’t fit on any of those albums.” “Now,” she continued, “I rescued her, programmed the original beat, and I guess she was going for a kind of dancehall vibe. When I heard the song, I thought, mmmmm, Rosalía, her last album was a kind of experimental reggaeton. I imagine her voice on this song.”

Returning to what she has written more recently on her platform, Björk links to what she said in that interview saying that “Rosalia's experiments with gender and her incredible voice made her an obvious guest for the song. “I feel blessed that she said yes and that she and her team gave up her work and all of her contributions to this battle,” she said when announcing the news. She also stressed the charitable nature of the initiative, since all the profits generated by Oral will go to an Icelandic organization that fights against open-net fish farming in the country. Finally, the atypical and alternative Icelandic musician reflected by saying: “I think that in some way there is an elegant resonance between the fact that our two voices are the same age on the recording.”

Let us remember that Björk has often commented on how much she liked Rosalía's first solo album, El mal qué, from 2018. “She is an incredible singer. I remember that when her first album came out I was amazed by her voice and her perseverance in training her,” she admitted in an interview.

The third creator for the sound effects of Oral is the Irish producer and singer Sega Bodega (of Chilean origin, who for civil purposes is called Salvador Navarrete), with whom Björk had collaborated, for example, at the beginning of the year on the remix of her Ovule theme. He had also shown the excitement and satisfaction that participating in this project has generated in him, as could be read yesterday in his X account: “Oral drops tomorrow. I can't contain my excitement and happiness that they asked me to come and help with this idea. I am eternally grateful @bjork and @rosalia for having participated. Just wowowow. The result was so, so beautiful, and for a good cause.”

Fully corroborable words.