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The Sugarcubes' "Birthday." Happy song or creepily pedophilic song?

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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 10:24 AM
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The Sugarcubes' "Birthday." Happy song or creepily pedophilic song?
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Magrittes Pipe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 10:28 AM
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1. Every Bjork song is a little creepy.
:shrug:
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 10:29 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Touche!
But that bit about "they lie in the bathtub" makes me a little nervous...
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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. and
"he knows how many freckles she's got
she scratched his beard..."

holy crap.

That song is so artistic it's in a category all of it's own, alot of the vocalizing she does in that song is the pain of the rape, I think, something she's trying to emote without putting it into words because there really are no words for that. I respect that she doesn't make the child a victim either, and instead lets the child tell her own story.
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 01:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Something that's always struck me about it
is the poignant innocence about the whole thing, because first two verses are essentially pure and childlike before the song introduces the male.

Somehow, even after his introduction, you hope that it's all innocent, though it quickly becomes clear that the innocence is an illusion.

I hadn't thought of Bjork's vocals as symbolic of a rape, because she vocalizes like that all the time anyway. But it fits here in that context regardless.

And you're right that the song earns real points for staying in the girl's perspective, thereby avoiding preachy sentimentality.

Is "sows a bird in her knickers" a transliteration of an Icelandic idiom along these lines, or are we to take it as the fairly straightforward image that it seems to be?

The song is beautiful in Icelandic, too.

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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 01:40 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. wow, I never thought about that possibility.
Honestly, I always thought that that the man was really sewing a bird onto a pair of her pants, I didn't notice how it was spelled. The whole song doesn't make much linear sense to me at all. I've heard other songs of hers but she seems to be in such pain in this one that the vocalizations seem a little deeper.
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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
3. one of my favorite songs of all times.
child sexual abuse told from the perspective of the child at that moment, in real time. Just stunning and very, very hard to do authentically without superimposing an adult point of view and value judgements on. Courtney Love is also very, very good at writing like this, maybe even better, hard to compare since Bjork's only done it this transparently this once as far as I know. Correct me if I'm wrong about this re: Bjork's writings.

Some of Courtney Love's songs on "Live through this just give me chills, she can give your psyche whiplash with some of her allusions to fairy tales that are completely unexpected. Your mind goes right back to the age of 5 or 6 agaisnt your will: "I will pull the petals off of you/Rose Red I will make you tell the truth.."
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Orrex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. I haven't heard Courtney Love's stuff
But Birthday is such a beautifully-crafted piece that I didn't even really pay attention to the lyrics until long after I'd first heard them. I can't think of any other similar examples from Bjork's writing.

She's great, though!
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idgiehkt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-17-06 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Here's a little of "Softer, Softest" by Hole
I tell you everything
And I hope that you won't tell on me
And I'd give you anything
And I know that you won't tell on me
Pee-girl gets the belt
It only makes me cry
And all your milk is sour
And I can only cry
And I can only cower
And I can only cry
You have all the power

I've got a blister from
Touching everything I see
The abyss opens up
It steals everything from me
Pee-girl gets the belt
The old milk makes me mind
Your milk is so sick
Your milk has a dye
Your milk is so sick
Your milk has a dick
Burn the witch, the witch is dead
Burn the witch, burn the witch
Just bring me back her head
Pee-girl gets the belt
The old milk makes me mind
Your milk is so mean
Your milk turns to mine
Your milk turns to cream


it sucks to me that because of all the controversy surrounding who Courtney is/was, we essentially lost this kind of writing. She's brilliant, this is such a stark and honest child's 'stream of consciousness' rendering of what is happening to her
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