From Iceland — Track By Track: Milkywhale's Debut LP

Track By Track: Milkywhale’s Debut LP

Published May 2, 2017

Track By Track: Milkywhale’s Debut LP
Photo by
Art Bicnick

Milkywhale are a pop duo who’ve taken Iceland by storm since first appearing on our radar in 2015. Now they’re preparing to release their debut album into the oceans. Singer Melkorka Sigríður Magnúsdóttir talks us through it.

Originally Milkywhale was my alter ego—a lonely whale that struggles to survive, and does so through music and singing. Later we found out that scientists have actually discovered the loneliest whale in the world. She sings at different frequencies than other whales, so nobody can hear her. This first song is dedicated to this female whale. We imagine her being white.

Birds of Paradise
This song is an ode to David Attenborough’s birds of paradise documentary (check out the video on YouTube!). It’s a mating dance, and we wanted the lyrics to be simple but sincere at the same time. Everybody is out there looking for the right person, doing whatever it takes, even though it means making a little fool of yourself.

Know that feeling when you meet someone, time stands still and you never want that moment to end? It’s time to explore your depths while the world rests.

Animal Kingdom
“I wanna be mainstream, not a gulfstream” are lyrics that somehow zoom this album together for me. It’s the sincere voice of Milkywhale—her manifesto.

That’s what we made out of the Arctic darkness and the freezing cold; one of Milkywhale’s favourite live dancing songs! It is also one of our most recent ones.

Well… on the one hand there is the materiality of a whale and on the other hand there is immateriality. There is emotion and there is logic. This is the dialectical struggle of Milkywhale.

Rhubarb Girl
The lyrics are actually inspired by my mother’s first novel, ‘The Rhubarb Girl’. It’s about the meeting of a body and nature in a rhubarb forest. The text is really poetic. This is probably our most upbeat song.

Many of the songs on this record are based on the feeling of loneliness and being different, and in this love song it’s the coming together of two senses—seeing and touching.

“Goodbye” was originally supposed to be a power ballad but when we started working on it took a different turn and in the end, a massive instrumental part hits you. The results are a song where you can release your frustration, show off your dance skills or just go crazy while doing your dishwashing.

Before me and Árni started working on Milkywhale we worked together on a play in the Reykjavik City Theatre. The play took place in a church and we got inspired by church choirs. For this song we knew we wanted it to be solemn, and we had the desire to incorporate a choir into it. The chorus feels almost like a mantra: “Longing for a meaningful world, where you mean something to me, longing for a meaningful world, where you mean something to me…”


Milkywhale’s album will be on Spotify on May 5th, with a vinyl release in the pipeline. They play live at Boston on May 6th. Follow Milkywhale on Facebook here, and read more track-by-track articles here.

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