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I Am A Bird Now

4.5 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Dec. 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Rough Trade
  • ASIN: B0007GFG5Q
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 25,029 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Antony and the Johnsons' second full-length recording, the haunting and affecting I Am a Bird Now, is a far more intimate affair than their debut. Antony's bluesy parlour room cadence is more upfront here, resulting in a listening experience that's both exhilarating and disquieting. "Hope There's Someone" is a sombre opener, and its plea for companionship, augmented by a sparse piano/vocal arrangement that rises into the air by song's end in a swirl of multi-tracked harmonies, is ultimately uplifting. This formula is applied to too much of the record and never ceases to elicit honest emotion from either Antony or his numerous guests. Rufus Wainwright takes the lead on "What Can I Do?," a languid meditation on death that conjures up images of rainy streets, lonely lampposts, and cigar smoke--it's brief (under two minutes) but alluring like the cover of a Raymond Chandler novel. Boy George joins Antony for a duet on the soulful and empowering "You Are My Sister," Devendra Banhart lends his warbly tenor to the lush "Spiraling," and Lou Reed plays noodly guitar and recites an anonymous poem on the mischievous "Fistful of Love." It's a testament to Antony's skill as a writer and arranger that these guest appearances are completely devoid of pretence, and while each artist is reverent to the source material, it's still Antony's show, as the most powerful moments on I Am a Bird Now are his. --James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
It's not often that new music in 2005 can stop you in your tracks, but it was only those made of granite that weren't hushed into an awed silence the first time they heard Antony sing. "Hope there's someone who'll take care of me when I die", the opening words to the best album of the year.
From the Peter Hujar photo, Candy Darling On Her Deathbead, that adorns the sleeve, to some of the subject matter - breast amputation (My Lady Story), domestic violence (Fistful Of Love) and gender confusion (For Today I Am A Boy) - it might appear to be a hard shell to crack, but what makes I Am A Bird Now all the more compelling is that Antony is able to take what are profoundly personal words and transform them into something highly ambiguous and hugely accessible.
Nonetheless, it is Antony's voice that, for many, is the main draw. Equal parts Nina Simone, Labi Siffre, Billie Holiday and Jimmy Scott, Antony sings with such sadness, such belief, such frailty and such authority that he could be singing about anything and it wouldn't matter. Even better then, that the lyrics should be so affecting and challenging.
It's somewhat fitting an album which, more than anything, draws on feelings of isolation and loneliness should have such a stellar cast of supporting players. Long-time Antony champion, Lou Reed, adds an unpretentious and almost terse spoken word intro to Fistful Of Love, before Antony delivers a heartbreaking account of domestic abuse ("I feel your fist and I know it's out of love"). Immediately afterwards, Devendra Banhart adds some disturbing incantations to the beginning of the staggering Spiralling.
Just preceding those two songs is What Can I Do?
Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
WOW, listening to this for the first time was the audio equivalent of driving past a traffic accident, I didn't think I wanted to listen but couldn't stop myself. I can't think of anything to compare this to. I'm not especially fond of piano ballads, certainly have nothing in common with an emotionally tortured 7 foot tall transvestite and can't say that I related to any of the lyrics at all. So when I say that this album is a masterpiece and is one of the most original albums I have ever heard, you may get an idea of just what genius this is.
If you are looking for something mainstream, or think you're musically cultured because you like Coldplay, this album may go right over your head or even upset you.
If you want something different this is it!
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Format: Audio CD
If you can coax empathy from the average stranger by singing about the pains of being a 6ft 5 plus transvestite, you must have a way about you. If you can do it while wrapping your vocals in a quivering mixture of Brian Ferry and Nina Simone, delivering delicate torch paeans to confusion, fear and eventual release then you're a rare talent.

This is simply the finest album of the year. It's just devastating, to be honest it's sometimes a little too much to take...the way he sings 'I tell you I love you, and I always will...I know you can't tell me' during 'Fistful Of Love' kills me everytime I hear it...easily one of the finest soul songs of the last ten years, you can just feel the fragile desperation and need seep from every word. It's heartbreaking.

Like I said, it's not easy to place someone in your position and make them feel your particular pain through a collection of four minute songs, but this album has the honesty and beauty to do just that...it aches for your attention.
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Format: Audio CD
antony is a brit based in new york. his voice and genre classification for this music is located somewhere between church gospel and vintage soul...
this is the sophomore lp from antony & the johnsons and needless to say it really has to be heard to be believed...
in terms of style it recalls nina simone and lou reed. 'fistful of love' is the heart of this album and the collaboration with the aforementioned lou reed creates a staggering celebration of the joys of life as the tenor saxophone comes out in true new york blues cabaret style...
the striking thing about antony is his voice that lilts, then fluttres and then finally soars like on the startling 'for today i am a boy' that deserves hymn-like status. it is such a unique falsetto voice that the octaves he covers transcend the guest appearances on this album from rufus wainwright, lou reed, devendra banhart and boy george...
yes boy george! - he delivers a commendable and moving performance when duetting with antony on 'you are my sister', it very much feels like the albums success is against all the odds - but any analysis of end of year polls and such is rendered irrelevant when the beautiful human touches of this art really hit home...
the important thing here is aesthetics then and sonically the album is the greatest palate of emotion to surface since 1997 when spiritualized gave us 'ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space'...
an album of full powered soul overall and the feeling is very much raw and hot blooded. too independent to be grouped in relation to any so-called ''peers'' and certainly too cool for ally mcbeal, please get this, stick it on your stereo and you'll see exactly what is being discussed here...
...astounding
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