Virus (Björk song)

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Single by Björk
from the album Biophilia
Released August 9, 2011
Format Digital download
Length 5:20
Label One Little Indian
Producer(s) Björk
Björk singles chronology

"Virus" is a song by Icelandic artist Björk released as the third single from the album Biophilia. Each song in the album features a theme related to nature. In "Virus", Björk explores "fatal relationships" such as the one between a virus and a cell, as Björk explained in an interview: "It's a kind of a love story between a virus and a cell. And of course the virus loves the cell so much that it destroys it."[1]


"Virus" features a gameleste (a hybrid between a celesta and a gamelan that can be controlled by midi and that was also used in "Crystalline", built exclusively for these songs) base that plays through the whole song. The gameleste represents the 'virus' that continues multiplying until it takes control at the end of the song.[2] Also, Manu Delago plays hang drum.[3] Since Björk wanted the album to break the typical 4/4 time signature,[4] "Virus" has a time signature of 6/4.

The lyrics to "Virus" talk about "dangerous relationships", symbiotic relationships in which one organism is parasite for the other and takes a benefit, even changing the other's behaviour. This fact is used as a metaphor between 'love' and 'parasiting'.[2] Björk took inspitation from a McGraw-Hill educative video about mind-controlling parasites[5] and from candidiasis, illness that she suffered:[6]

Still from the 'Virus' app


The "Virus" app is a video game where a virus attempts to infect cells on the screen that sing along with the song. However, if the virus is prevented the song will stop playing. By tapping on the cells, the song also changes.

Track listing[edit]

Digital download
  1. "Virus" – 5:20

Official versions[edit]

  • Album Version – 5:26
  • Single Version – 5:20
  • Hudson Mohawke Peaches and Guacamol Remix – 4:51 released on Part 3 of the Biophilia Remix Series
  • Matthew Herbert's Fever Mix – 7:07 released on Part 6 of the Biophilia Remix Series
  • MIF live version – 5:47 (Biophilia: Manual Edition CD2)


Chart (2011) Peak
UK Indie (Official Charts Company)[7] 35


  1. ^ Cragg, Michael (28 May 2011). "Björk's Biophilia". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Virus". Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "Discography Biophilia". Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hollow". Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Nikki Dibben (August 2011). "Excerpt from Biophilia Manual essay on 'Virus'". 
  7. ^ "Archive Chart: 2011-08-20" UK Indie Chart.