I know that Pitchfork isn't too well-liked here at Punknews.org, because, well, they're elitist hipsters who are proud of it. We here at Punknews listen to fast, distortion-heavy music full of pounding drums and power chords. Many times I wonder what a huge punk rock fan can listen to when they aren't feeling like being yelled at through a stereo. What if they don't like mellow music (as some of my friends do)? Hopefully this review will broaden your horizons.
Since I am stripped of cash on a frequent basis (and not being as knowledgeable in the field of indie music as I am in punk), I always research an indie album before I buy it. I always take care to research because I don't like wasting cash on a genre of music that I only listen to in order to satisfy my mood swings. This CD is the single exception to my entire collection. This record is so intricate that I can appreciate it in whatever mood I am in.
Some of you may be wondering why I mentioned Pitchfork in the first place. The reason is because Pitchfork rated Antony and the Johnson's second album I Am a Bird Now as the fifth best album of last year. Modern Life Is War's Witness >held that spot here at Punknews. The main reason that I Am a Bird Now was not on many end of year lists is because of the fact that Antony is one of indie music's best kept secrets. Despite his upset win in the best artist category at England's Mercury Awards (the equivalent of our Grammy's) and cameos on his album by semi-popular artists (Devandra Banhart, Rufus Wainright, Lou Reed, and Boy George), Antony's popularity has not skyrocketed. Some of this may be due to his image. Antony is an outspoken homosexual whose songs are inspired by children who suffer from identity crisis (among other topics).
By combining the soulful voice of Nina Simone and the eloquence of artists like Andrew Bird, Antony creates music that speaks right to the listener's emotions and feelings. He tackles issues such as physical abuse (in the song "Fistful of Love") by bringing out the emotions of the person he is describing through a more poetic approach to songwriting:
I was lying in my bed last night staringNo album is without flaws, however. When I Am a Bird Now is finished, the listener feels as if Antony could have lengthened the record maybe 10 to 15 more minutes. This would allow for more of a variety of songs and more opportunities for Antony to experiment with the unique sound he has going with the Johnsons.
At a ceiling full of stars
When it suddenly hit me
I just have to let you know how I feel
We live together in a photograph of time
I look into your eyes
And the seas open up to me
I tell you I love you
And I always will
And I know you can't tell me
I can't wait for what is in store next for Antony. The possibilities are endless.
If you didn't buy this record last year, redeem yourself and pick up last year's best indie CD, hands down.