Björk shared in an Instagram post that, along with the single “Ancestress,” “Sorrowful Soil” is one of two songs on Fossora about her late mother. While “Ancestress” was her own take on “funeral music,” “Sorrowful Soil” focuses more on the period of time leading up to a loved’s ones imminent passing.
“when my grandfather passed away there was a pamphlet at the hospital advising relatives how to talk to loved ones before they pass away,” the Icelandic musician went on. “i loved how it went really generic and universal and said that all of them will give families to-do-lists (dry-cleaning and such) but also ask if they did well. the last part of the lyric is following this advice.”
The “Sorrowful Soil” video is shot in a way that feels like you’re looking at Björk through a tunnel, or with your eyelids half-closed. Despite the lush choral arrangements backing her voice on the recording, the clip sees her alone at the recently erupted Icelandic volcano Fagradalsfjall on the Reykjanes peninsula, surrounded by a vast canyon filled with lava. It’s beautiful, but a bit daunting — not too far off from the song’s subject matter. Watch the video for “Sorrowful Soil” below.