Sacrifice

Album: Biophilia (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • Inspired by thinking about nature's design of the female of the species, Björk's lyrics for this song urge the listener to recognize the extent to which biology seems to compel females to sacrifice themselves: "When she found your love / Her nature bowed her head / She surrendered."
  • Bjork told Q magazine about the way she was inspired by the workings of nature when writing the songs for Biophilia: "For me, nature isn't only pretty or romantic. It is dramatic, creative, destructive, it has a lot of energy, and I tried to capture that in the songs."
  • Bjork's vocals ruminate above a repeating baseline, arranged for the Sharpsichord, a huge pin-barrel harp developed by Henry Dagg between 2006 and 2010. The self-described sound sculptor told Spinner that Bjork reached out to him after British electronic musician Mathew Herbert showed her a YouTube clip. "During its development I had been arranging songs and recording them with various singers, then posting the video performances on YouTube. Last year, Nick Kenny, a local artist was discussing some proposed work with Matthew Herbert, and he pointed him to one of these clips. Matthew had been working with Bjork, and he sent her a link, and pretty soon I had an email from her asking about the possibility of working together on a song with the sharpsichord."
  • Bjork stuck with Biophilia as the album title, despite initially misunderstanding its meaning. She explained to Stereogum: "It was pretty early on. I was reading a book by Oliver Sachs called Musicophilia and it really inspired me. That must have been two and a half years ago. Because I'm not really good in English, I said, 'oh wow, [Biophilia] could be a title for the project,' but 'Bio' thinking 'Nature.' Later somebody told me it means 'love of life.' I was more thinking 'nature-like' or 'morphing into nature.' My bad sense of English thought it was feeling up nature or something - Biofeelingup. When I read about it online some people were speculating about the name - I think they went to a dictionary and saw that it means "love of life" and – and I was like "Oops. OK, I can go with that."

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