Stark and Soulful
In pop music, truly unique voices tend to come in cycles: the ruggid, textured voice of Tom Waits, the ethereal and resonating sound of Ian Curtis. Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) possesses such a voice. It is one that brings tremendous character and wrought to his incredibly androgynous, haunting album, I Am A Bird Now.Antony creates simple, yet affecting tales of loss and devotion. His voices rises and falls with the passion of Jeff Buckley and the eeriness of Will Oldham. â€šÃ„ÃºHope There is Some oneâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is a soulful ballad that ends in a swirl of pianos and vocal harmonies. â€šÃ„ÃºMy Lady Storyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ elegantly follows suit with a more somber tone and a more consistent use of backing vocals. â€šÃ„ÃºFor Today I am a Boyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ may be the most rewarding track on the album. The lyrics â€šÃ„ÃºOne day Iâ€šÃ„Ã´ll grow up and be a beautiful girl/For today I am a child/For today a boyâ€šÃ„Ã¹ play off of Antonyâ€šÃ„Ã´s androgynous persona with a passionate, gospel-like performance.
Antony also gets a little help from his friends throughout the album. Boy George accompanies him on the gorgeous quasi-inspirational â€šÃ„ÃºYou are My Sister.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Rufus Wainwright provides the sultry lead on â€šÃ„ÃºWhat Can I Do.â€šÃ„Ã¹ Lou Reed revisits the sound of his Berlin years with a hushed and moody spoken word intro on â€šÃ„ÃºFistful of Love.â€šÃ„Ã¹
Like all of those unique voices that have become before him, Antony exudes a very strong character in his voice. With its stark honesty I Am A Bird Now is one of the most genuine and beautiful albums of the year.