Anohni has released a new 7” single featuring two cover songs. The first is a cover of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” from Bob Dylan’s 1965 classic, Bringing It All Back Home, and was also uploaded to YouTube with an odd but hauntingly beautiful music video. The b-side is a tribute to Nina Simone, “Be My Husband,” originally from Pastel Blues, also released the same year.
Both covers are stripped down instrumentally with a focus on the vocals. The Dylan cover is fittingly just vocals and guitar, and the Simone cover has piano and acoustic drums instead of guitar. They offer a glimpse at a more dreamy and soulful style from the UK-born, New York-based vocalist/producer that’s only been seen previously in 2018’s “Miracle Now.” The track not only featured a similar setup with just piano and vocals, but was posted with clips from the same video that part of the “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” cover’s video uses.
Since breaking out as a solo act from her chamber pop group, Antony and the Johnsons, her music has all been electronic pop with a focus on production. Her only solo album, Hopelessness, from 2016, 2017’s EP, Paradise, and one collab with J. Ralph, “Karma” (2019) were her previous releases under the Anohni name. While Hopelessness and Paradise were louder and politically-minded, this new single comes off as a bit more introspective and calm. Of course, Anohni mentioned in a press release that part of the reason she felt the need to release a two-year old cover now was because it felt like the right time to call for “seismic change”.
“I recorded “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” with Kevin Barker one afternoon a few years ago. I listened to it recently and it reminded me of Now, a nausea of nostalgia for the suffering of the present, or even the future. I did a couple of songs by Bob Dylan at that time, encouraged by Hal Willner, the producer who we lost to Covid 19 in April. I hope that this period, and this repugnant presidency, will be over soon…” she said in the press release.
About Simone, Anohni talked about how seeing her live in 1991 had had a large impact on her, and named her the greatest musician of the 20th century. The cover is actually from a 1999 concert from the early years she spent with Antony and the Johnsons, at the Knitting Factory in New York City.