We can now watch Björk’s “Black Lake” video to our heart’s content
If there’s one thing you can count on from Björk, it’s heart-stoppingly beautiful music alongside perfectly matched visuals. As much as she’s very clearly a practiced, deliberate musician, she extends that same care and finesse to her public presentation (must we remind you of the swan dress?) as well as her music videos, many of which push the boundaries of the medium. Her latest vid, for the aching, expansive “Black Lake,” dropped on YouTube on Tuesday, and it’s a worthy addition to her filmography.
The “Black Lake” video has actually been around for a while: It debuted at the Museum of Modern Art’s Björk retrospective, but was limited to that space until now. One look at the video, and you can see why she would’ve wanted an art space debut for “Black Lake” — the video is a careful, painful recreation of one of the harshest songs off of her last album, Vulnicura, which dealt with the singer’s breakup from her partner of 13 years. The song is so charged and personal that, as Björk revealed in an interview with Pitchfork, she is “really embarrassed about that song [and] can still hardly listen to it.”
Against lines like “Did I love you too much” and “Family was always our sacred mutual mission / Which you abandoned,” Björk beats the sky and shakes, tearing at the air and her surroundings, which morphs as the song does, around her. Of course all of this happens while wearing some trademark offbeat fashions.
The symbolism — in her organic armor, the bioluminescent ooze of the Earth, the swirling petals that help her ascend — is strong: This is a song about a grieving mother reclaiming the narrative of her post-relationship self. But though “Black Lake” is, at its core, a breakup anthem, as Björk interprets it, it’s an opus to nature, the unnatural, and bearing and beating seemingly bottomless blues.