After multiple delays, iconic Icelandic artist Björk has finally released her long-awaited collaboration with Spanish superstar Rosalía. The avant-garde pop track, titled “Oral,” dropped Tuesday, fusing the two singers’ distinct musical styles into one idiosyncratic union.
True to Björk’s boundary-pushing form, the song features experimental beats and ethereal vocals. Meanwhile, Rosalía adds Spanish lyrics and flamenco-inspired embellishments to the mix. The accompanying music video depicts the artists engaging in a conceptual martial arts battle, brandishing swords while executing interpretive dance moves.
But “Oral” is more than just a meeting of musical minds – it also serves a charitable cause. Proceeds from the single will support efforts to halt environmentally harmful open-net salmon farming in Iceland’s fjords. This pressing issue holds special significance for Björk, whose mother was an environmental activist.
Decades-Old Song Brought to Life
In a statement, Björk revealed that she originally wrote and recorded “Oral” 25 years ago, around the era of her albums Homogenic and Vespertine. At the time, she felt the dancehall-inspired track was too pop-oriented for those experimental records.
“I wrote and programmed this song myself, very much influenced by dancehall rhythms – which could be considered the grandmothers of reggaeton,” Björk remarked.
When she recently rediscovered the forgotten tune in her archives, Björk immediately envisioned it as a perfect match for Rosalía.
“Rosalía has been experimenting with the genre, and her incredible voice made her an obvious guest for the song. I feel blessed that she accepted.”
Vocal Performances Span 25 Years
What makes “Oral” even more special is that it features Björk’s original lead vocal take from decades prior. As she noted, “There is an elegant resonance in the fact that both our vocals are the same age in the recording.”
Despite the dramatic passage of time, 57-year-old Björk’s singular voice has retained its instantly recognizable ethereal quality. And 31-year-old Rosalía proves more than capable of keeping astride with her storied collaborator.
The Spanish superstar puts her own spin on the lyrics. She gamely tackles verses in English while spicing things up by interjecting alluring lines in her native Spanish: “Yo quiero besarle” (“I want to kiss him”).
Music Video Depicts Surreal Battle
In keeping with the artists’ shared penchant for visual flair, “Oral” arrives alongside an eye-popping music video directed by Carlota Guerrero.
The clip depicts Björk and Rosalía facing off in an abstract martial arts duel, set against a minimalist white background. Outfitted in matching white uniforms, they unleash dramatic kicks and wield swords as they act out an interpretive dance routine.
The video’s unexpected conceptual premise was brought to life using artificial intelligence. This experimental technology allowed the collaborators to fuse their avant-garde sensibilities and realize a shared vision.
Song Benefits Icelandic Salmon Conservation
Björk has revealed selfless motivations behind the release of “Oral” – to support the preservation of Iceland’s vulnerable wild salmon populations. She aims to raise funds and awareness to combat the harmful impacts of open-net salmon aquaculture farms located in picturesque fjords.
As the artist explained: “The fight against open-net salmon farming is one of the most serious environmental challenges facing the North this century due to ocean acidification.”
She called attention to the appalling conditions the fish endure on these industrial farms, stating that “the immense suffering of the salmon is an extraordinarily cruel way of producing food.”
Björk also highlighted risks posed to native Icelandic salmon stocks. Escapees from aquaculture pens can interbreed with wild populations, diluting unique genetic lines. This constitutes an existential threat – one that has deeply personal resonance for the Icelandic singer.
All proceeds from “Oral” will go towards legal fees for environmental groups protesting an open-net salmon farm proposed in Seyðisfjörður fjord. Björk passionately affirmed, “We can still reverse this.”
Unique Match of Artistic Trailblazers
In many ways, the partnership between Björk and Rosalía feels striking yet inevitable – two fiercely original artists pushing boundaries from different cultural vantage points.
While the legendary Icelander needs no introduction, Rosalía has taken the music world by storm in recent years. Scoring hit after hit, her last album, Motomami, garnered the prestigious Album of the Year Latin Grammy this month.
Björk has directly cited Rosalía as an inspiration for expanding non-English lyrics into mainstream Western pop. Now, their paths converge with “Oral” – an unpredictable but inspired melding of two of contemporary music’s leading lights.
Through the single, this dynamic duo sends a resonant message – that the power of music and creative expression can drive meaningful activism for causes that matter. For Björk and Rosalía, protecting Iceland’s threatened wild salmon is one worth fighting for.