"Generous Palmstroke" as written by Bjork Gudmundsdottir and Zeena Parkins....
I am strong in his hands
I am beyond me
On my own I'm human
And I do faults

I do confess
I feel you trickling
Down my shoulders
From above

Mmm mmm mmm mmm

I turn myself in
I give myself up
You own me : I'm yours

Mmm mmm mmm mmm

You have to trust it
I'm eternally yours
All that I gave them
I gave to you

Mmm mmm mmm mmm

So needy of comfort
But too raw to be embraced
Undo this privacy
And put me in my place

Mmm mmm mmm mmm

Generous palm stroke
The hugest of hugs
Undo this privacy

Embrace me
Embrace me
Embrace me

Mmm mmm mmm mmm

I am strong in his hands
I am above
Way beyond me
I, con

She's strong in his hands
She is beyond her
On her own she is human
And she does faults

Lyrics submitted by m a r y e

"Generous Palmstroke" as written by Zeena Parkins Bjork Gudmundsdottir

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

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Generous Palmstroke song meanings
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  • +1
    General Commentwhen she's in third person at the end, she sounds sarcastic. in the vespertine dvd she recites it like 'look at her, she's so weak'. i think she's first opening up, and then being like 'wait a second i'm being stupid loving this guy so much.'
    tortoiseon February 04, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentHow did this not make it onto the album!? It's flipping amazing! :-D
    Undo this privacy/and put me in my place
    buddha boyon January 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIsn't this first verse in Japanese? Doesn anyone know what it means?
    freakishfaeon July 16, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentUm. I asked a friend who speaks Japanese, but I don't remember what he said (this was months ago). I think he said it was all mispelled.
    I might be wrong, but this song totally sounds like a prayer to me. Still awesome, nonetheless. I also can't believe it didn't make the album (although the Japanese version of Vespertine includes it).
    stentorianon March 21, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA shy and tacit woman who has grand feelings about this guy. My thanks to Tortoise who cleared the ending up. Its habitual for some others to act mockingly towards someone who is so infatuated. I liked how she did that. Pretty authentic to me. Also, Stentorian, like your name.
    Orange Morendoon April 02, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKeen insight Orange. Note to self to watch for your comments.

    There is an angle of evanescence and 'hiding in the air' in these lyrics also. Will he ever return to put her in her place?

    A very truthful song, underrated and most appreciated by all parties.
    PeaceOfGodon June 15, 2007   Link
  • 0
    My InterpretationI just noticed this, and some people may take issue with it; in fact I kind of take issue with it, because I think I know a bit about her world view. But can anyone catch even the slightest hint of an underlying Christian theme.
    LightbulbSunon February 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentshe was aloof,cold and closed person,but he coaxes out the vunerable/submissve part of her.
    kaatrienon February 03, 2011   Link
  • -1
    General Commentangel pop #1: Vespertine
    First in a series of notes on lyric details and aspects from the mainstream pop canon.

    It was written as domestic music, “music for the home”. Its original name was ‘Domestika’, the title track of which was relegated to a B-side, and is the only real point where the writer breaks the spell she is under, delivering instead words that are a hymn to the banal: “Oh boy, where have I put my keys? I’ve looked in my pocket. Behind the newspaper. And underneath the remote control. And I cannot find where I put it again.”

    Bjork didn’t call her album Domestika, because she felt it would be too obvious, that theme already far too implicit in its small, finest china sounds. ‘Vespertine’ amplifies what she felt was another important aspect of the album. The dictionary definition has it as “pertaining to, or occurring in the evening: vespertine stillness.” or in the context of botany, “opening or expanding in the evening, as certain flowers.” or with zoology, “appearing or flying in the early evening; crepuscular.”

    What she’s really talking about is sex. The home is the garden of sex, after all. It is where we grow new humans, and blur the boundaries between our shells and others. All definitions of ‘vespertine’ bleed into Bjork’s thinking about sex; about us as dehiscent evening flowers, of crepuscular, curious creatures hunting and smelling each other.

    Her language links every thought to a physical act. It’s almost sex magic.

    When she is writing about negotiating another human being, this translates most literally to sex, but even when discussing the more abstract, interpersonal stuff: feelings, thoughts, the rendering of these thoughts in physical expressions becomes almost sexualised.

    Through her work her body is consistently presented as an interface that can manipulate internal monologues and anxieties with her mouth or fingers, even her womb.

    “Who would have known? A train of pearls cabin by cabin. Is shot precisely from a mouth. From a mouth of a girl like me. To a boy.” It’s most obvious visual counterpart is the scene from Matthew Barney’s Drawing Restraint 9, where, in a flooding tearoom aboard a Japanese whaling vessel, Bjork and Barney lovingly slice at each other with flensing knives in a delicate abstraction of sex.

    Perhaps it was Barney’s response track. Vespertine is, of course, insatiable with love and other hunger for him.

    “Through the warmthest cord of care. Your love was sent to me. I’m not sure what to do with it. Or where to put it.” Bjork becomes hyper-literate with longing. “He’s. The beautifullest. Fragilest. Still strong. Dark and divine. And the littleness of his movements. Hides himself.”

    “Who would have known: miraculous breath. To inhale a beard loaded with courage.”

    In lyrics omitted from the album she writes of “Having an ocean of desire. Having a hairy desire around the hips. Having eyes that can see in the dark. And too much space between the legs.”

    Her lover is a thing which hides, can make itself invisible, which nestles into her bosom like an animal. She hibernates, finds sanctuary in the immensity of his his hair and smell, and traces his topography in nature: “A mountain shade. Suggests your shape. I tumble down to my knees. Fill the mouth with snow. The way. It. Melts. I wish. To melts with you.”

    Cocoon is a relatively straight and unpretentious sexual anecdote: Bjork and Barney making love in sleepy rapture, she eventually waking to find him still inside of her. She doesn’t destroy the moment with floweriness, but instead remarks upon it with classic Bjork-in-speech exclamation point directness: “Gorgeousness!”

    The detail of the words make the piece magical. There are no cringes. It is hard to write about sex. The only piece of music I can think of which has ever attempted to articulate the same scenario as something profound is Ari Up’s abysmal farewell note, Lazy Slam.

    Cocoon is juxtaposed though which It’s Not Up To You. There are no lovers here. Just the author. Casting spells to alleviate the sickness.

    “If you wake up and the day feels a-broken. Just lean into the crack. And it will tremble ever so nicely. Notice. How it sparkles. Down there.”

    When she writes about boredom and frustration it is almost as though she is making love to it.

    In the narrative of Vespertine this despondency chases Bjork through the rooms of her too-empty house, stuff spilling out of her and coiling around her in ribbons: “Pedaling through the dark currents in me. I find an accurate copy. A blueprint. Of the pleasure in me. Swirling. Black lilies. Totally ripe.”

    He doesn’t return until halfway through the album, awakening her from dreams where she loses her voice, which can only be restored by swallowing little glowing lights her mother and son bake for her.

    Maybe more than about domesticity, and the home as a theatre to the minutiae of love (other flavours of domestic love, such as maternal admiration appear in album b-sides like Mother Heroic), Vespertine is about love and sex and the desperate, unravelling energies that surge within your most sacred of spaces when those chemicals are encountered.

    Bjork writes about the sublimation of love. Uniquely for pop music, there is no anger in this. She isn’t accusing about the distance either in geography or ideals between her and her lover. Rather than lapsing into neurosis, her feelings become as necessary and strength-lending as food, and she chews herself fat on them. Even in Generous Palmstroke, when her song-voice breaks down, struggling with the syntax and admitting “I am strong in his hands. I am above. Way beyond me. I… con… She’s strong in his hands. She is beyond her. On her own she is human. And she does faults.”

    The narrative, unsure of which person these most private admissions should be delivered in, carefully encircles the non-word in the lyric by doing so: confess.

    Harmony Korine wrote one song. Other trivia concerning the lyrics of Vespertine are available from Wikipedia.

    xeroxboyon September 03, 2012   Link

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