Where Is The Line
There’s a point in the long-term relationship when you are left with one argument. Every disagreement, after enough discussion, devolves into that basic argument. Aaliyah’s song “We Need A Resolution” hit me when I first saw this. “Am I supposed to change?/Are you supposed to change?”: eventually, in a relationship, change becomes arbitrary. Both partners have committed so many crimes and history has become so muddled that rationality is an impossibility.
In this climate, power is what drives change, and the generous always loses. “I want to be flexible/I want to go out of my way for you,” Bjork sings, but “You … cash/Into accounts/Everwhere.” This song closely follows “The Pleasure Is All Mine” and it refutes and moderates that song’s magnanimity. Because it is shocking, turning the other cheek can be a successful option against strangers. For loved ones, it simply encourages them to strike again, out of fear, out of love, out of disgust at their own selfishness and the weak generosity of the one they love. Bjork chastises herself: “Enough is enough.” You shouldn’t pay out more than you can afford.
The vocals, like most of Medulla, are Gregorian chants excised of their Christianity, with Rahzel spitting out aggressive beats. The album is an attempt to secularize meaning, to show that Christianity’s beauty can be stripped out of its dogmatic essentialisms. In “Where Is The Line,” the indirect target is Christianity’s tendency to crush its strongest believers, its most conscientious, with self-punishment. The song is a buoyant liberation for the too-forgiving. It is a declaration of justified war against the selfish lover, and is appropriately dressed as a flight of valkyries underscored by machine-gun beats. If he can’t find the line, the song says, maybe you should push the line back yourself.
Entry filed under: Medulla.