“We Won't Save You” (the 2007-07-13 Friday Fetch-it)

When I started the Fetch-it, some fifteen months ago (or seven, if you only count months in which I've actually recommended anything), I decided not to recommend any music by Björk, mainly because I couldn't bring myself to pick one of her songs above all others. It should be very clear at this point that I am less than three Björk.

In 2005, Björk compiled an album of Army of Me remixes and covers in aid of UNICEF. (Pay attention to that link—it has free downloads.) Alongside a country and western version; a couple of hard-rock reimaginings; a bossa nova version; a one-minute a cappella; and a Super Mario-flavoured accelerando, Beats Beyond (of whom I've never heard either) contributed “Army of Me [Bersarinplatz Mix]”.

So this isn't a song by Björk. It's a remix of a song by Björk, which uses bits of her voice, and things, but it definitely doesn't count as a Björk song simply because—as we'll see—it's nothing like the original.

...Although it does begin with the same crescendo as the original song—exactly: you may even be fooled into believing that this is Army of Me, though only for about three seconds. Where the original's beat kicks in with an explosion at the end of the crescendo, here the explosion fades away and is replaced by an electronic throb.

This throb is joined by a dirty, buzzy bassline—like a twitching, edgier version of the original's bassline—and a few choice Björk vocals. And then “The Riff” takes over, and any lingering suggestion that you're hearing Army of Me evaporates. This riff is a drum-'n'-bass dance bassline, only at a more moderate tempo and swung, using triple time. And with a thudding beat. Like Train by Goldfrapp crossed with Shoot The Runner by Kasabian.

The bassline, throb and vocals gradually reappear and are soon joined by a high, rippling electronic countermelody to The Riff. By now, two minutes in, the song's driving along nicely—toes are tapping.

But then with a drone-like, suspended animation Björk vocal (“once more”) along for the ride, in the space of about five seconds, the song swerves to avoid a crossing pedestrian and skids off the side of the road—crashing straight into a black hole, in which all the constituent parts of the song tie themselves up in a knot and collapse in on themselves, like an old-fashioned TV being switched off. More literally, it sounds like a more-warped, grungier version of the end of Phones' Disco Edit of Banquet by Bloc Party. Or a five-second armageddon.

Instantly, the driving beat of The Riff resumes. After passing through a quick loop-the-loop and crashing into another supernova, the song breaks down to just the throb and the rippling countermelody.

But soon The Riff reappears once more, alongside a new counter-countermelody. —On top of the first, rippling countermelody. And the melody of The Riff. And Björk's vocals. Four layers of melody now accompany the driving rhythm, so we're quite happy to dwell here for a minute or so, until the song concludes with a repeat of the opening explosion, again fading, this time to nothing.

Apart from Björk's voice, which sings a very simple line, every melody here is completely original and the rhythm is nothing like Army of Me. It's like calling an ostrich a remix of a velociraptor.

It technically is, but in reality it's a completely different animal. If you download one song this week, make it Bersarinplatz. ...or anything by Björk.

(I <3 Björk)

(How do you follow that? Probably with either Train or Shoot The Runner. Or possibly Den her sang handler om at få det bedste ud af det by Under byen (who're really rather good, you know).)