Sometimes, I try to sing this at home, and Husband just doesn’t understand…of course, part of that might be because I don’t quite understand the melody well enough to recreate it.
There is nothing about this woman that should be mainstream acceptable. She grew up in Iceland and became global known, but how? I’ve dug up all her old albums, inspired by her new song “Crystalline,” which is freaking great.
It’s not her success I admire, or even her talent and creativity. I find her impressive because she really seems to be doing whatever her weird, elf-inner-self is telling her. She is doing whatever she wants. She’s not a commercial artist. Like there’s no Benny manager a la J. Lo on wearing a low-cut number to the Grammys. She works on music all the time because it seems like because she has a gazillion ideas for songs. She also mentors other musicians, but it’s not like Usher nurturing baby Bieber. She takes an interest in goat herder THROAT SINGERS she finds in the mountains and brings them on tour. No one is going to make a dime off of those choices.
Her voice alone is unique. It’s very expressive, but she has a wood-creature accent and will coo or scream through some notes, making up for such a wild sound that you don’t think there’s any training or technical thought going on. It sounds so instinctive, home-grown, self-taught, but she actually studies regularly with an opera teacher. WHAT?
Sheâ€™s different-weird from say Lady Gaga, who I think very deliberately cultivates an outrageous image and fan base. Gaga is also creative and smart, but she extremely aware of what she says, what language is going to get her the most press. I like her too, but her music absolutely sounds like a product geared toward a demographic rather than a product of an artist. Bjork, however, wears that swan dress on the red carpet. (She and Cindy Sherman were like the only clients of these series of dresses that had foam sculpture in the fabric, which made the wearer look like they had giant tumors growing on their body.) I still remember this Bjork interview with a glib TV reporter When asked if she loved acting, with Dancer in the Dark (which made me a wreck), she said very simply, with absolutely no guile, that she hated acting and hoped she never had to do it again. The reporter had no idea how to handle it. How much do I love that?
Our house kind of reminds of those interior shots of rotting trailer homes in the Appalachians (no offense to them). You know, where the ceiling is caving in and the old Confederate flag is peeling off the plastic wall. Of course, much of our decor is due to Baby, and very often, we tell him “I love what you’ve done with the place,” just to keep his self-esteem healthy, but it’s not like Husband and I were every particularly neat. It’s not like we’d be potential candidates for Hoarders: The Real Story or anything, but….we’re getting there. I keep the panic at bay due to Husband’s advice: stay calm, Baby is fed and healthy, everyone is alright.
There is a gossip story circulating of how Mila Kunis came to Justin Timberlake’s (tool) defense at a press junket in Russia — in Russian. Whatever she says is extremely impressive, cracking up the entire room, while JT looks lost and foolish — which is about how I look whenever someone speaks Korean to me.
Funny, just a few weeks ago, an acquaintance was haranguing me on getting off my butt to learn Korean with a lot of urgency. She insisted that I was lucky to have a heritage and some early exposure to the language, so I really should take advantage of it. I just listened, having long ago grappled with my status as a non-Korean-speaking Korean. I was apparently fluent till age four, but learning a language is hard and a lot of work, and whatever shortcuts I’d be offered from my past wouldn’t be as helpful as say, someone who has an aptitude for languages and motivation. I just shrugged and said, Dude, the truth is, if I really wanted to learn it, I would’ve learned by now. And it’s not like I’m against it, it’s just that there are so many other things I want to do first, like dishes, like laundry.
But then seeing the footage I linked above is so cool, it was the first time I wished I was fluent in Korean. And then in my head, I’m thinking about the Rosetta Stone at home Husband invested in years ago, online programs, etc. — until I realized the only time I’d want to speak Korean is to showboat. Like if I were a movie star who came to the defense of a bonehead colleague at Korean press conference, that would be cool — but do I really want to put in the everyday, tedious effort and drudgery and drilling that is required to become fluent in another language? Um no. My momentary envy is a kin to, I don’t know, someone who sees George Clooney on the red carpet and wants to be his girlfriend. Like okay, maybe being by his side in public events might be fun, but what if he’s really insecure about his hair and you, as his girlfriend, had to constantly reassure him about his hair? I’m being random, but you know what I mean, don’t you? You cannot just want the outcome or a small moment, without putting in the work, and if you don’t dig the work, then you’re not going to get there. Learning a language? Really hard.