It said: I am a blue whale, I can take you from here
From your deserted island, from your paper and pencils
You are a loser, but you can hide in my mouth
A human is not heavy to carry
Blue whale tail
Anyone that has spent any time near, or in, the northernmost part of the Baltic Sea in Scandinavia knows why Laleh, in her song “Bjuröklubb,” stays close to the beach when conversing with a blue whale. It remains pretty clear throughout the lyrics that she is not actually in
the Baltic Sea entirely, but that she has waded out a little (probably ankle-deep), and the whale is simply close enough to the shore to initiate discussion. This is not because whales are necessarily dangerous, although I’m sure accidents do
happen ~ especially if you are inclined to climb into one’s mouth ~ but Laleh’s decision to stay close to the beach is because the Baltic sea is pretty damn cold just about any time of the year you choose to wade out and have a little tête-à-tête with a blue whale.
In “Bjuröklubb,” the Iranian-Swedish singer/songwriter is offered a way out of her dismal existence by a Swedish blue whale with a plan. The plan is as follows: “I can take you away from your desert island, from your paper and pens. You are a loser, but you can hide in my mouth,” he says. Now, I know that blue wales feed mainly on krill, and I don’t want to point fingers here, but that whale sounds hungry and in the mood for some red meat.
“Bjuröklubb” was released in 2009 and is the third single from her third album Me and Simon
, which made #2 on the Swedish Album Chart. The song itself did not do so well in the charts at the time of its release, but has since become one of her most downloaded songs on the Internet. Although Laleh is one of Sweden’s proudest musical exports, she only arrived in the country when she was 12, after her parents fled from war-torn Iran, and is not a Swedish native, although she is a citizen. As “Bjuröklubb” shows, her knowledge of the Swedish language is flawless, and she regularly sings in Swedish, Persian and English.
The beach where this discussion with Moby Dick occurs is in the Bjuröklubb nature reserve on the coast of the Skellefteå Municipality in Västerbotten County in northern Sweden. One thing that is refreshing is that, although this song involves a blue whale, it does not have any sort of ecological side-message (not to diminish the plight of the blue whale in any way). That might be because Sweden, and indeed the whole of Scandinavia, is one of the most ecologically sound countries in the world. In fact, it ranked in at #4 on the Environmental Performance Index in 2012.
Bondens Island lighthouse
Västerbottens län, Sweden
If blue whales were so inclined to live near northern Sweden, they would be pretty well protected. However, they would do well to avoid Sweden’s closest neighbour, as Norway’s whale killing season starts in April (Norway controversially resumed its whaling practices in 1993 after a five-year pause). If Laleh was to take up the whale’s kind offer, it would be best for them to remain in the northern Baltic and holiday in the Gulf of Finland during the summer until the whaling season ends in August. Then they could make a speedy exit through the Kattegat, safely bypassing Norway, taking care not to wait too long or they could find themselves under a thick layer of ice by Christmas.
Luckily, the blue whale is most certainly a figment of Laleh’s imagination, as there are absolutely no blue whales whatsoever in the Baltic Sea. The Baltic is, in fact, one of the only four seas this species totally avoids, including the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf. Fortunately, the lovely Laleh is quite safe, and fans can look forward to many future albums.
~ Douglas MacCutcheon
(Thanks to Dappled for the Songplaces suggestion.)