Review: Björk Opens Up on New Single “The Gate”

If possible, the singer seems even more vulnerable than ever on “The Gate.”

Review: Björk Opens Up on New Single The Gate

“The Gate,” the first single from Björk’s follow-up to 2015’s Vulnicura, was scheduled to premiere next week, but according to a post on the Icelandic artist’s Facebook page today, she was “too excited to wait” and took to Twitter to announce a “midnight treat.” (The bump might have been a preemptive move, as the track leaked online just a few hours later.)

The six-and-a-half-minute track opens like a hymn, with psalm-style vocals and minimal accompaniment followed by a series of digitized vocables reminiscent of singing whales. “My healed chest wound/Transformed into a gate,” Björk sings. What constitutes a hook—a repeated refrain of “I care for you, care for you”—is complemented by softly puttering synths, which become increasingly layered as the track progresses, punctuated by discrete moments of silence. “The Gate” reprises the stark emotionality of Vulnicura, but, if possible, the singer seems even more vulnerable: “Didn’t used to be so needy/Just more broken than normal,” she laments.

The music video for “The Gate” was directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, who collaborated with Björk on the video for Vulnicura’s “Black Lake.” Watch below:


YouTube video

Björk’s new album is due later this year.

Sal Cinquemani

Sal Cinquemani is the co-founder and co-editor of Slant Magazine. His writing has appeared in Rolling Stone, Billboard, The Village Voice, and others. He is also an award-winning screenwriter/director and festival programmer.

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