Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie)

Dear Bjork,
I’m sorry. We have to break up.

This may come as a shock to you. After all, we’ve been together for more than fifteen years. I distinctly remember the day we met, in January of 1988, when you sang ’Birthday’ to me from my mom’s car radio. It was the week after Christmas, and we were on our way to the mall for the sales, and it wasn’t my birthday. Whatever, it’s cool. I probably spent most of my money on an acrylic cardigan from the Squire Shop, but I saved eight dollars to buy your band’s new cassette (I got the green one ; I wished I was richer so I could buy all four flavors). I learned all the words, even the ones that made very little sense indeed. Because that’s what you do when you’re in love : You take the weird with the good, Einar inclusive.

It was all wine and roses for a few years ; the following Sugarcubes records were solid, if not as spectacular as the first. I was nervous when you struck out on your own in 1994, but it really turned out alright ; your first solo effort was effortless, and your second was as bold as it is pink. Homogenic was gorgeous, but it was then that I started to wonder if our love was meant to be. It was your first record of songs that sounded like what people figure a Bjork song should sound like. Does that make sense ? You’ve gotten so hard to communicate with. It didn’t used to be like this.

And then, Vespertine. A little whisper of a record, a light. Unassuming and floaty as feathers, right down to the artwork. It was clear in 2001 that you still loved me, you told me so.

So what’s up with Medulla ? I thought we had an understanding, that it was all working. That you’d continue to write songs, really good ones, and present them in a way that’s inventive enough to love, not inventive enough to hate. I mean, really. What *are* you doing ? It’s cool to follow your muse. I believe in that concept completely. She has been kind to you for many moons. But whatever she’s been telling you behind my back for these last three years — they’re all lies. You’ve been duped by a muse who is in a Bobby McFerrin phase. This is wrong.

It’s sad, I know. You must be wondering why this is so abrupt, why my generally fair and tolerant demeanor is gone, why I’ve assumed the voice of a Pitchfork reviewer. And you’re right, I don’t like this sort of vitriol. But I think it’s important for you to understand that it’s not me. It’s you. I don’t hate you, I never could. But clearly you need your space, and I’m happy to give it to you if this is the soundtrack.

I’ll call you sometime. It may be awhile, as it is when these things happen. Maybe on your birthday. Until then, take care of yourself and wear your seatbelt.

Chris., 31 august 2004