Song of the Day #2,700: ‘Untitled #2’ – Sigur Ros

sigur_ros_()My only exposure to Sigur Ros thus far has been in Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The song ‘Starálfur’ scored the film’s climactic scene, in which the crew of the Belafonte encounters the mythical jaguar shark.

For a scene that cathartic and sad, yet hopeful, the ethereal warbling of an Icelandic art rock band worked perfectly. Outside of that context, I’m not so sure.

Many of Sigur Ros’s lyrics (including those of today’s SOTD) are in Vonlenska, a made-up language that translates in English to Hopelandic. It isn’t a proper language but a series of sounds without meaning or structure. The idea is that actual words distract from the overall effect of the music.

Similarly, this 2002 album has no title and neither do any of its eight tracks. The band says they didn’t want to assign titles to each track and print them on the album sleeve just because it’s expected.

So either they’re true artists or pretentious dicks. Maybe both.

The music is emotional and stirring but, getting back to the Wes Anderson example, it feels like a film score, half as effective without accompanying visuals. Sure enough, the band’s music has been used in quite a few movies.

I think I’ll stick to enjoying their music that way.

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4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,700: ‘Untitled #2’ – Sigur Ros

  1. Dana says:

    Last night, our family was discussing the notion of a pretentious artist. Various artists were tossed around from Beck to Rufus Wainwright. I argued that some artists, like Beck, for example were not necessarily pretentious, but their fans were, fueled by pretentious critics.

    These folks, however, may be the textbook definition of the pretentious artist. Icelandic art rock band with made up language for lyrics, untitled songs and featured in Wes Andersen films. Check, check, check and check.

    Next!

  2. Clay says:

    I certainly can’t argue with your classification of this band as pretentious, but I do take exception to two of your criteria.

    First, while one can effecticely argue that Wes Anderson’s films are pretentious, the musical artists contained therein are not necessarily pretentious by default. You’d have to assign that label to The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks, Cat Stevens, John Lennon, The Clash and a host of other artists whose music has appeared in his films.

    And second, how can merely being from Iceland make you pretentious? Way to demonize an entire country!

  3. Dana says:

    Wes Andersen’s films don’t get less pretentious because he includes more mainstream artists. Indeed, I think a hallmark of the pretentious listener is being proud of having such diverse tastes that both Enya and One Direction are equally appreciated.

    And while not everyone from Iceland is pretentious, I’m pretty sure every artist coming out of there is. So, employing Donald Trump’s doctrine, we need to not allow any artist from Iceland to be played in this country until we figure out what’s going on.😄

  4. Peg says:

    You are too funny 🙂

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