Riverside

Album: Philharmonics (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • The riverside is by the river Spree in Berlin, where Agnes Obel wrote the Philharmonics album. She came up with a melodic section that sounded like water, and formed this song around it.
  • In her Songfacts interview, Obel explained: "I wanted to write a song about how people can be transformed, and sometimes how when you meet other people who have been through this strange transformation, you can tell. It was a time in my life when I was changing a lot myself, and I wanted to describe that, using water as a border between one world and another."
  • Alex Bruel Flagstad, Obel's husband, shot the video for this song, which proved extremely popular on YouTube, racking up well over 20 million views. The black-and-white clip was shot on 8mm film at the river where Obel wrote the song.
  • That's not a stunt double getting pushed in the river in the video: she took the plunge several times for the sake of art. The guy pushing her in was a friend. Obel emerging from the river represents a transformation.

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