artistic rendition of bjork still-image taken from her hyperballad video

Bjork ~ Hyperballad [1996]

With a ballad being defined as “a popular song, especially of a romantic or sentimental nature” and hyper as “emotionally stimulated or overexcited,” it could be said a hyper-ballad is a stirring romantic tune, or perhaps a musically portrayed agitated state. Does this mean this song’s protagonist has eaten too much sugar (debunked) or, as a female is hysterical, a loaded sexual misdiagnosis that used to (unbelievably) oft require a doctor-applied vibrator in the early 20th century? Neither, instead, it shines as an illustrated innovative solution to a romantic dilemma.

Bjork, pronounced “BEE-YERK” not “BEE-YORK” (admittedly, I have been butchering her name for years), was born Björk Guðmundsdóttir in Reykjavík, Iceland. As a young Icelandic girl, her peers would pelt her with rocks because she was distinct, dressed differently, and had Asian-like eyes. At the age of six, she began studying classical piano and flute. By eleven, her rendition of Tina Charles‘ 1976 hit “I Love to Love” at a school recital was so impressive it was sent to the only Icelandic radio station, leading to her first recording contract. She started her first all-girl punk band Spit and Snot at the tender age of twelve, jazz fusion band Exodus at 15, band Tappi Tíkarrass (“Cork the Bitch’s Ass” in Icelandic) at 17, and Rokka Rokka Drum around the same time, becoming lead singer and an “overnight success” in The Sugarcubes at the ripe old age of 20, and finally going solo in 1992.

bjork attired in black feathers


Interestingly, in researching this feature, one reviewer actually likened “Hyperballad” to an anti-capitalist, anti-consumerist rant. And while Bjork’s said significant other might readily agree, wondering why so many of their possessions were being destroyed à la “Marxist Suicide Point”, they might better consider it a blessing in disguise. The honest dynamic interplay (tussling, scuffling, squabbling) between those in a relationship often creates the friction necessary to light the fires of passion, or even maintain simple basic interest. Bjork’s uniquely creative alternative approach to dialing up their intimate energy is rather ingenious, if slightly pricey by nature, earning her the ye olde Adam Smith romantic capitalist seal of approval.

Shared Bjork, “It was inspired by a situation I saw a lot of my friends get into. I really like reading magazines about science you see, and when people fall in love they make this kind of drug in their bodies, so they become addicted to each other physically. Nature makes things so that the drug lasts for three years, so if they’re together they’re just on a natural high. Then they wake up and it’s a ‘Whoops, what am I doing here?’ kind of thing.

Another completely different angle on the same thing is when you fall in love with a person, you think that might be the last time, that maybe you will never ever fall in love again, so it becomes a very precious thing to you. So you start showing the person you’re in love with your best side only, and you keep all your bad parts in the bag behind your back. So basically, ‘Hyperballad’ is about having this kind of bag going on and three years have passed and you’re not high anymore. You have to make an effort consciously, and nature’s not helping you anymore. So you wake up early in the morning and you sneak outside and you do something horrible and destructive, break whatever you can find, watch a horrible film, read a bit of William Burroughs, something really gross, and come home and be like, ‘Hi honey, how are you?’.”


bjork 90s logo


 Bjork has an extensive Wikipedia entry for those interested in learning more about her

4 thoughts on “Bjork ~ Hyperballad [1996]

  1. What a negative perspective on love she has. I’ve been with my husband 17 years and we’re both still excited over each other. (And I know couples who are together even longer, and it’s the same for them). Love is also not as dishonest as she puts.
    What she describes is not people in love, but in habit.

    1. I’m happy to hear of your loving relationship. I, like Bjork, have had rotten luck in love over the years. I don’t think I learned how to properly choose a mate and didn’t manage to figure it out on my own. This isn’t to say that I haven’t had good opportunities, I think I have, but I also think I made rotten choices. They weren’t bad women, they were just bad pairings. Maybe I’ll do better in the future, lol. Thanks for reaching out, Maryanne. 💀

  2. I never got into Bjork. I checked out her old band the Sugarcubes back in the day and decided it wasn’t my thing. (I do have one of her songs by virtue of having the “Sucker Punch” soundtrack. Not a great movie, but a pretty good soundtrack.) Anyway when I think of Bjork these days I mostly remember her dressed up as a swan, even though she’s certainly done plenty of other things … 😁

    1. I saw Sucker Punch and it wasn’t great, but I kind of liked it. Certainly, the soundtrack was superior, as you say. Bjork is crazy creative for sure. Her music runs the gamut from the rougher techno of “Army of Me” to the sheer beauty of “All is Full of Love”. After her first three solo albums, she kind of went the way of late Radiohead in reaching depths of esoteric art even I can no longer fathom, lol. Thanks for commenting, James! 😁💀

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