The last time we heard from Björk, she was reeling from the dissolution of her 13-year-long relationship with visual artist Matthew Barney. 2015’s Vulnicura documented the breakup and subsequent healing process with unflinchingly personal lyrics and artwork that depicted Björk with a deep wound in her chest.
In a recent Dazed magazine cover story, the Icelandic icon called her follow-up record her “Tinder album,” going on to clarify that it will deal with searching for and being in love. “Spending time with a person you enjoy on every level is obviously utopia,” she said, “I mean, it’s real. It’s when the dream becomes real.” With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that Bjork titled the forthcoming album, Utopia.
“The Gate,” the lead single from Utopia, reflects this theme of new, deep love, turning the phrase “I care for you” into a mantra. “‘The Gate’ is essentially a love song, but I say ‘love’ in a more transcendent way,” Björk writes in a pre-order listing on her site, which explains the song’s meditative vibe.
She opens the song by continuing Vulnicura’s storyline, revealing that her chest wound has “transformed into a gate,” which is depicted by a bright beam of light in the song’s artwork. Now able to give and receive love via this portal, Björk taps into the idea that deep romantic trauma can not only be healed, but also give way to “proud self-sufficiency” and more honest, fulfilling relationships.
“The Gate,” as with the rest of Utopia, was recorded in collaboration with Arca, the electronic producer who was also on-board for Vulnicura (as well as parts of Kanye West’s Yeezus, FKA Twigs’ LP1, and Kelela’s Hallucinogen EP). Despite being little more than half her age, he seems to have great chemistry with Björk, who called him the Jaco Pastorius to her Joni Mitchell and “the strongest musical relationship I’ve had” in the Dazed profile.
According to Björk, Utopia will be out sometime in November. You can preorder it from her website. “The Gate” is also being released as a “very limited” 12” single next week, and you can preorder that as well.