"Isobel" as written by Bjork Gudmundsdottir, Sirgurjon Birgir Sigurdsson, Marius De Vries and Paul Andrew Hooper....
In a forest pitch dark
Glowed the tiniest spark
It burst into flame
Like me
Like me

My name Isobel
Married to myself
My love Isobel
Living by herself

In a heart full of dust
Lives a creature called lust
It surprises and scares
Like me
Like me

My name Isobel
Married to myself
My love Isobel
Living by herself

When she does it she means to
Moth delivers her message
Unexplained on your collar
Crawling in silence
A simple excuse

Nana na na na, Nana na na na
Nana na na na, Nana na na na

In a tower of steel
Nature forges a deal
To raise wonderful hell
Like me
Like me

My name Isobel
Married to myself
My love Isobel
Living by herself

When she does it she means to
Moth delivers her message
Unexplained on your collar
Crawling in silence
A simple excuse

Nana na na na, Nana na na na
Nana na na na, Nana na na na
Nana na na na, Nana na na na
Nana na na na, Nana na na na


Lyrics submitted by dank

"Isobel" as written by Bjork Gudmundsdottir Nellee Hooper

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Isobel song meanings
Add your thoughts

23 Comments

sort form View by:
  • +3
    General CommentThe story of Isobel. A girl who lives alone in the woods. When she gets near human civilization, she doesn't like it. So she sends a moth to cover the mouths of humans so they can't speak.
    Rikoon April 28, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General CommentThis is a quote Bjork said about it in a book I have: "Isobel is a woman who was born in a forest from a spark, not a mother or a father. When she grows up she finds that the pebbles on the forest floor are actually baby skyscrapers. So when she is a fully grown woman she finds herself living in the city. Most people in the city are run by their heads and she is completely instinct driven, which doesn't match very well. So she dances on tables naked and kisses the wrong people and falls in love with them and makes a lot of emotional crashes. isobel means well but ends up doing a lot of harm so decides to go back to the forest." Just thought I'd share that. And HatreInTechincolor is right about it being the second in a three part story. You guys were all righ tin a way. I had no idea what it was about until I read the book I got.
    Amara_Tenouon June 26, 2004   Link
  • +2
    General CommentI think it's pretty basic and straightforward, at least compared to many of her songs. It seems like a conflict betweeen nature and civilization, obviously favoring nature. Isobel represents the purity and solitude of nature, uncorrupted by dark things like lust and despair. The tower of steel seems figurative as well–a symbol of isolation from which nature will fight back against the evils of society.

    Also, the moth stanza was taken from a true (or at least allegedly true) occurrence that happened to Bjork. A moth landed on the collar of her shirt and did not leave for the entire day, even when she took the shirt off. This seems like another manifestation of the purity of nature.

    I also think that this has one of the most utterly beautiful instrumentations out of all her work.
    Karma policemanon March 26, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAccording to Bjork's site, this song is Part 2 in a 'song trilogy'. First is Human Behaviour, then Isobel, then Bachelorette. Same character, showing her development. I thought this was a neat piece of info to pass on.
    HatredInTechnicoloron April 10, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti pretty much agree with alot of comments people have made here. i think this song is a truley beautiful song, and listening to it does give me inspiration to seek off on my own. i think this song can be interpreted ina few different ways. i like to think it does provoke a feeling of independance and motivation.
    han401on June 08, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentAnother thing I noticed:

    The line "like me, like me" is the same notes used in a fox hunt reveille.
    Sing the line in cut-time (twice the speed) and you'll notice it's the same thing.
    This is most likely intentional. It lends the sense of urgency that comes in the opening of the fox hunt...all the men on horses letting loose the hounds to hunt that desirable, foxy, crafty creature.

    It could also be tied to the more occult leaning of what I mentioned relating the "devoted to God" meaning of Isobel. In numerology the alphabet letters are assigned a number, A=1, B=2, etc. until it hits 9 and then goes back to 1(one), I=9, J=1, K=2, etc. The letters F, O, X each are equal to 6 (F=6, O=6, X=6). ASO there again we have a Luciferian connection. Lucifer's reasoning is almost exactly equitable with Nature's tendencies: both act according to God's prescriptions solely and completely...in a sense they worship and are devoted only to God. It was God's orders that the angels serve not just God but Man as well. Lucifer defied God by wanting only to serve God and not Man. So here we have that connection with the self-absorbed, self-serving, mechanical-nature of the Self evident in the lyrics... Nature is in its steel-wrought "Ivory Tower" unempathetic to the needs of the world servicing only the philosophy implied by its own Nature... to anyone that would listen to It(Nature) a world-view and personal-view of pure individualism and self-service based on the development of a human's life-arc.
    So there is what one can experience within their own capacity, aka God(Forest/Nature).... and then there is the environment of existence which is defined by the congregation of Man(Society/City).
    So yes, "like me, like me" is the "girl" that is "speaking" these lyrics. This "girl" is the "fox" that the World is hunting for to either lustfully devour or masculinely control.


    Surprisingly, a very "christian" song. I've tried out all the other elements in other systems but this is the only one that hits all of the points made.

    [ pssst... bjork is a secret christian, pass it on...]

    One element I didn't address is the "na na naaa na na" part. You've all heard something saying this "phrase" when someone is childishly mocking someone else. "Nana na na-naanaa". That's also intentional here... it comes after the stanza that ends with the line "a simple excuse", which to me is telling of a childish impudence and disobedience, much like Lucifer in the last paragraphs. This is evident in the line beginning that stanza, "When she does it she means to". So "she" knows that she is doing something "wrong" by simply acting out the base, mechanical, unforgiving "lust"-driven philosophy of Nature. "Moth delivers her message/ Unexplained on your collar"...it begins referencing the phrase "like a moth to the flame" which stands for the moth's Natural tendency...drawn as if by Design/Nature. The "collar" mention is referencing those guilt-ridden lipstick stains on a married man's collar... the "message delivered" is that of the "moth", the Nature/Instinct-driven Insect, Lucifer. "Crawling in silence/ A simple excuse" is a little unclear to me... the first part could be a reference to the "spark from a forest pitch dark"... a situation relationship diminished to its basest quality by the excuse that drove them to destroy it... "a simple excuse"... which happens to be "I just naturally wanted to, it's at the very core of everyone's being to be driven by lust". "Lust" here stands for any natural/instinctual drive or attraction and need not be relegated simply to a christian view of sin. Many things attract, not merely just sexually, but here it is explained in sexual terms as its vehicle. And applied to Bjork's own statement it would seem this "understanding" was extracted from the world by experiences tending toward the sexual.

    envelopeon December 08, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentA nature girl goes into a freshly-grown city, but doesn't function with all the logical people there. Her moths help her to restore intuition in the city. Also, the song is an analogy for Björk's leaving natural Iceland for the big cities for recording, touring, etc.
    ferrariguy90on August 11, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthat paints a pretty picture for me, riko. i thought the meaning was similar.
    this song is painfully beautiful, and if i ever have a child and it is a girl, i'll name my child isobel - it just seems right. i wish that were my name...
    chaos04on June 21, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI saw this song as being kind of about someone being very introverted...almost like a hermit...i dont know. Its sucha beautiful song why pick it appart ?
    GrinningMartyron September 29, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti recommend the "Portishead Remix" version of this song for a change.
    elfrijolon September 23, 2004   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain