Endless Loop: All Is Full of Love

bjorkHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“All Is Full of Love” by Björk

I try not to be one of those cranky old Gen-Xer farts that laments the hows, whys, and what-fors of the devolution of MTV from a medium for music videos to whatever it is the station airs now. It’s been a really long time (the 90’s) since I even gave the channel a moment’s thought, my pre-teen and adolescent years derived of hour upon hour of what essentially were commercials for the music industry that now serve me as more of a nostalgia bomb than anything else. So, their programming changed as the years moved on, and I didn’t like any of it or watch any of it, but none of that matters since I’m not their demographic anyway. We’re not even on the same planet.

But man, we had some fun while it lasted.

I realize that artists still make videos. Any brief perusal of Youtube or dozens of other websites or streaming services are testament to that, but the ones from my era, as anyone who’s ever been a teenager ever probably believes, seemed so much more important. Growing up in a smaller city, they were my viewfinder to a much larger world, one of outsiders, lost souls, and weirdos. They gave me punks and art kids and gangstas, a temporary audio and visual reprieve from the hum drum of a Texas oil town. And it was about so much more than the music too. The visuals on display were sometimes even better, offering an array of talent who would eventually make the jump to longer story form telling, albeit with their own unique flashes of style. I became fixated on names like Fincher, Jonze, Gondry, Glazer, and Romanek. They elevated the art form and made some absolutely killer music videos.

One of these burgeoning artists was Chris Cunningham, the creator of some completely bonkers (and disturbing) videos for Aphex Twin. But he also paired up with one of my all time favorites, the extraordinary and enigmatic Björk.

Originally recorded for 1997’s Homogenic, though a remixed version would actually be used on the record, “All Is Full of Love” is a beautiful and majestic ballad that feels like an ode to the dichotomy of love. At once, it’s an open heart, seeing and feeling love in everything, but also a song clung to a more cynical point of view, eyeing love and its ever elusiveness or denial. Cunningham’s visuals for the track consisted of two computer generated life forms, one with Björk’s facial features, slowly caressing in a sterile and robotic environment. I’ve always been very moved by the video, its simple conceit betraying the emotional load it carries. And I’ve always been moved by the song too, its ability to make me feel both warm and loved, and cold and alone all at the same time hitting me like some kind of poet’s paradox. All is full of love, and it hurts.

Nobody does it like Björk. Nobody.

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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