“Declare Independence,” the third single from Björk’s 2007 album Volta, is one of her most defiant and aggressive singles. Punk attitude and what almost sounds like Nine Inch Nails music, it actually originated as an instrumental piece by her former collaborator Mark Bell. A song about breaking away from distant, detached centralized authority, it is not Björk at her most accessible. But, because of the subject matter, it has become popular (and controversial).
Colombian singer Lido Pimienta, perhaps best known for winning Canada’s Polaris Music Prize for her album La Papessa in 2017, has recorded her version for Pride. In her hands, the music of “Declare Independence” is almost unrecognizable. Instead of harsh, industrial bass synths and jagged electronic noise, Pimienta gives us Cumbia-influenced Latin pop. And instead of Björk’s imploring speak-singing and shouting, Pimienta lilts through the lyrics, some of which are now in Spanish. She adds backing vocals and a range of percussion. It’s a fuller sound, and to say it’s a brighter sound might be the understatement of the week. The result is a celebration of independent spirit, rather than an angry call to revolution.