Sex and Song: Björk, “Cocoon”
You don’t need to be a musician to appreciate the connection between sex and music. Still, we thought it would be fun to hear what they have to say about it. In our “Sex and Song” series, curated by drummer and producer Katy Otto, musicians share a song about sex, love, or both, and what it means to them.
“Cocoon” by Björk is one of the most perfect songs I’ve ever heard. It seems almost otherworldly in its mood and atmosphere, but as the title implies there’s something in it that always makes me feel warm and safe. I was obsessed with Vespertine when it was first released, but I don’t think I actually heard most of the lyrics on the album until well after I started listening—I was too focused on the entrancing music and vibrant production.
The sounds of “Cocoon” are seductive—the fluttering percussion works as a subtle sedative while the gentle and vulnerable timbre of Björk’s voice seem to peel back the layers of the world, inviting you to be vulnerable as well. I was so mesmerized by the sounds of the song that it took me probably a year to hear everything it was actually saying. I don’t know of another song that so compellingly describes the vulnerability and intimacy of lovemaking. There are thousands of songs that talk about fucking and remind us how much fun that can be, but “Cocoon” talks of sex the way Romeo and Juliet talks of love. It makes you desire and hope for the best of it.
“Cocoon”—especially the repeated lyric “who would’ve known”—leaves the ego out and focuses on the hazy high we feel as lovers. There’s a sense that the singer has reached the heights of love and sex all at once, a moment of complete bliss and perfection where two people are entirely lost in each other. Some of us have felt this with a lover—pure ecstasy, trust, love, desire, and the reciprocation of all these things. I’d guess that for most of us the combination of all these things at once, in harmony, is rare. “Who would’ve known?” is a reminder that moments like these can take us by surprise.
To be touched or even looked at in a way you weren’t aware that you desired, to exhaust each other and fall asleep entangled, these are the things we hope for in the same way we hoped to find a Romeo or Juliet when we were young. “Cocoon” is a memory of every time I’ve felt complete with someone, falling asleep fulfilled, feeling that death could scoop me up and whisk me away and I would just smile because I had shared this moment with the creature beside me.
Brendan Ekstrom is the guitar player for the band Circa Survive. He enjoys sandwiches and always knows where his towel is.