Artist – Album: Antony and the Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now
Released: 1st February 2005
Sounds Like: Large, soulful baroque pop in a ill-fitting dress
So, the dark, dark days of January are over and it’s about bloody time too. Now we can finally welcome in cute little February, which will be over before we know it, and then, all being well and orderly, it will be spring.
I Am A Bird Now feels like a well suited album to kick off this middle month, combining as it does the hauntingly baroque arrangements and Antony Hegarty’s archaic, Nina Simone-esque vocals with hopeful and ultimately uplifting lyrics.
Aided by the likes of Rufus Wainwright, Boy George and Lou Reed, Antony shares with us his experiences as a transgender and his philosophies on love. ‘Hope There’s Someone’ starts as a solemn plea for affection before descending into an A Day in the Life-style exhilarating crescendo. The follow up, ‘My Lady Story’, emerges from the chaos with delicate piano and bright backing vocals. I don’t get ‘You Are My Sister’ - I have a sister and not once have I felt inclined to sing to her about it – but otherwise this album consistently hits the heights.
The album won the Mercury Music Prize in 2005 and courted controversy, mainly due to the appearance of six foot, New York cross-dresser Antony. But it wasn’t some novelty winner: I Am A Bird Now topped end of year lists and received perfect scores from numerous critics that year, and it managed it on merit.
Albumaday... rating: 8/10
1. Hope There’s Someone – 4:21
2. My Lady Story – 3:33
3. For Today I Am a Bouy – 2:36
4. Man Is the Baby – 4:09
5. You Are My Sister – 3:59
6. What Can I Do? – 1:40
7. Fistful of Love – 5:52
8. Spiralling – 4:25
9. Free at Last – 1:36
10. Bird Gerhl – 3:14
Listen to ‘Fistful of Love’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vgwp-iQenn4
Also released on the 1st February:
1994: Green Day - Dookie