Sunday, September 20, 2009

bless this band

coldplay and something corporate will always be favorites. but there is no band like sigur rós. they're from iceland, so i can't understand what they're saying. but even if i spoke icelandic (it's really a language), i still wouldn't be able to understand them all the time, because sometimes they speak vonlenska, or hopelandic - basically a nonsense language. lead singer jón Þór "jónsi" birgisson made this language up specifically for his music. most of their songs are long, six to eight minutes usually, and a lot of times they're just instrumental. their albums range from way out there - ( ) is fascinating in that it's different than anything i've heard (and yes, ( ) is the name of the album) to more traditional (i use that word loosely with this band), like the one i just downloaded, Ágætis byrjun (translated: "a good beginning"), which has some of the most melodic sigur rós songs i've heard.

one of the best things i love about sigur rós is that they're completely open to interpretation. every song on the album ( ) was untitled, though they did include nicknames for each song. the pages in the album cover were blank, so people could write in their own lyrics (as most of the songs are instrumental). even the name of the album is available for each listener to decide for themselves.

but probably the best thing is that sigur rós is just so different. there is no comparison i can point out to this band, no one out there i've found who comes close (though if you have ideas, please let me know!). i am not one to go for "out-there" music, but there is something about the way they string notes together with random instrumental combinations and jónsi's haunting falsetto. it's the most evocative, emotional, powerful music i've ever heard. i don't know what they're saying, and more importantly, i don't need to. it doesn't matter. the sounds are enough.

* under the did-you-know category of the day, "bless" is actually good-bye in icelandic. i love that the word for farewell is also a lovely word in english. and also that's probably the only word i'll ever be able to pronounce in icelandic. vonlenska, anyone?

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