After the heartbreak that formed her last album ‘Vulnicura’, Björk has already described her upcoming, as-yet-untitled new record as her “Tinder album”. Perhaps that would lead you to believe that she’d be taking a more quick-fire approach to love and lust, but instead the first glimpse into her new record – aptly titled ‘The Gate’ – doesn’t seem to concern itself with a superficial approach to romance.
Indeed, Björk herself claimed recently that ‘The Gate’ was a love song, but “in a more transcendent way”. It’s unsurprising then that it feels more like a spiritual rather than physical approach to the topic, taking its time to build from an opening coda whose deep melancholy is almost reminiscent of ‘Vulnicura’ to weaving fluttering synths, almost woodwind-like tones and hissing percussive elements.
It’s often delicate and minimalist, but towards the middle of its six minutes it swells with deep pulses, glacial, warped electronica, and Björk’s own chopped vocals as she repeatedly cries “I can care for you”. As she sings about not wanting to be so needy and having “proud self-sufficiency”, it’s possible to think that, with its call for compassion in tow, ‘The Gate’ has formed something of a healing process for her own soul; the very first line even talks about “my healed chestwound”. With its deft traversal between moody and transcendent melodies though, Björk manages to move past loss and further into even more bold new territory.