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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 21 September 2005
If you read the reviews of any of Antony's albums and EPs, here or the UK site, you may find that being rendered speechless after listening to his music is mentioned frequently. I consider this not only accurate but also likely to happen to anyone who may listen to this, his debut, album or its follow-up, the Mercury Prize winner "I Am A Bird Now."
It has been a long time since a singer or songwriter -Antony is both- has moved me so deeply with the dramatic range of his voice, the enveloping depth of his melodies or the courage of his words.
Just consider "Cripple And The Starfish" and "Hitler In My Heart," the second and third cuts, that -particularly if listened together- will absolutely floor you with the tender courage of their lyrics and the glorious beauty of Antony's voice.
For those who may not know his work, I may not be able to offer the kind of references that can serve them well. In term of genre, you can't call it Pop or Alternative, for instance, and expect to have a reliable idea of what you'll hear. If I have to put a style label to this music I'd have to coin a new one, "Alterative," because that's exactly what it might do to you: alter you.
Finally, since I haven't mentioned them yet, a word about The Johnsons. Their sound -almost a chamber ensemble, with the addition of drums and bass- is particularly suited for this music and exquisitely performed. "Divine," a beautiful tribute to the star of many John Waters films, "Twilight" and "The Atrocities" are another three great examples of the band's gift for accompanying Antony.
Although, to my taste, I Am A Bird Now of some songs in the recent EPs (I've reviewed them too, in their pages- may be even more mature statements, this album must be given your full attention. This is a solid five-star album and the first powerful document of an amazing new voice.
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VINE VOICEon 27 August 2005
More & more people are now becoming aware of Antony & the Johnsons. Their second album, 'I Am A Bird Now' has been nominated for the Mercury prize & I'm sure their popularity will grow. As a result people will want to find out more about them & look for any previous albums they may have released. Well, this is the previous album & I'm going to tell you about it!
Antonys voice is haunting, emotional, beautiful & totally unique. His lyrics & the music are the same. It doesn't matter what you're in to, whether it's rock, dance, rap, whatever, this record will grab your attention & hold it for the full 35minute (exact) duration. It's an experience you won't get too often with much of todays new music.
'Cripple and the Starfish' is the most stunning song I've ever heard & 'Hitler in My Heart' is dark & moody yet dripping with brilliance. Each of the other 7 songs are all in the same vain.
Ok, so you've figured out there's just 9 songs on this album & initially I too thought that that ain't many songs but believe me it isn't an issue. I promise you you won't be disappointed with what's on offer.
If you've heard 'I Am A Bird Now' & liked it then you'll love this 100 times greater & if you have absolutely no idea who Antony & the Johnsons are then buy this album & be enlightened. This is one of my favourite records ever & I can't recommend it highly enough!
-PS. I'm an 18 year old boy into everything from System Of A Down to DJ Shadow so even if this isn't normally your sort of thing you WILL be pleasantly surprised.
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on 16 September 2005
I enjoyed being both shocked and amazed by this album. I couldn't believe what happened next, through every track.
I waited half and hour and had to hear it again to believe my ears.
This is a wonderful album which will reward repeated listening.
Antony is one of the worlds true musical artists. If you enjoyed I Am A Bird Now (and I'm assuming most people heard this Mercury Award winning album first) this album will take you deeper into Antony's world.
Prepare to be amazed.
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on 16 September 2001
Really, no words can describe this CD. It is the most tragic and beautiful collection of songs I have ever heard in my short life. Setting the mood with eerie opener 'Twilight' Antony and his Johnsons could not have got off to a better start. A dark song, with an echoing crescendo. 'Cripple and the Starfish' follows, and this would probably be my favourite. Just listen to it. Song three, 'Hitler in my Heart' has the most beautiful ending a song could ever have. I could go on, but do yourself a favour: Get the CD, turn the lights out, and lay down on the bed. And listen.
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on 10 March 2017
Very good album
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VINE VOICEon 25 September 2005
You may find some of the analogies in the lyrics a little odd at first, but persevere. A stunning start to what should be a stunning career follows. Antony's voice is something to behold.
With songs like "The Cripple and the Starfish" and "Hitler in my Heart" Antony really opens up his personal torment in a way that is completely compelling.
As with their second album "I am a Bird Now" Antony steals what is, on the whole, a pretty impressive show. His voice and their style are something different and special. I can only recommend that you get hold of this, it is an amazing album. And, afterall, who are we to argue with Lou Reed? Stunning.
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on 28 May 2009
Antony's voice is like no other, beautiful. This album is truely gorgeous. I saw Antony and the Johnsons last weekend at Birmingham Symphomy Hall and was blown away. Never have I been moved to tears before, Antony's voice is unbelievable. The music was superb, mesmerising and I didn't want the evening to end. I spent the whole of the next day playing all their albums. Also, what a lovely guy Antony is, also raising a laugh within the audience at times with his stories. My wish now is for Antony to bring out an autobiography, which I'm sure would make fascinating reading. Come back to the UK soon Antony, you are wonderful.
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on 5 October 2005
I bought this album after being amazed and overwhelmed by the subtle flair and haunting beauty of "I Am a Bird Now". Word of advice if you are thinking of buying this album for similiar reasons - don't expect the same as that later album. This one is much more melodramatic, almost operatic. For me, this a bad thing. It's a little over-the-top, and I found the album annoyed me as often as it impressed me. His voice is still excellent, and the song-writing is still good, I think a lot of my disappointment comes with the arrangements. Anyway, I would strongly advise listening before buying, and not rushing to get the album just because you liked "I am a bird now". To prevent disappointment!
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After buying `I Am A Bird Now' and being completely captivated I quickly went out and bought the self titled debut CD by Antony and the Johnsons and if you enjoyed their second album it is a pretty safe bet you will enjoy this as well. It is mostly in the same style and still has Antony's wonderful and unique vocals. I love `Atrocities' and the piano playing throughout this track is both melancholy and beautiful. I also adore the chorus on `Divine' which raises a smile every time I play it. This took me a few more listens than IAABN to fully get into it and I found the strings a little more obtrusive on some tracks, but once you do you will be just as enraptured and impressed. The artwork is original and unusual but that sums up Antony and the Johnsons perfectly, original and unusual, but always great. Well worth checking out at some point.

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on 12 September 2005
I had not heard of Antony and the Johnsons until they won the Mercury Music Prize. I bought this album after hearing just a few seconds of Antony's voice on the radio. This album is truly amazing. It is unique to the point of being eccentric, but at the same time carries such an emotional punch. When I followed the lyrics to "Cripple and the starfish", I was moved to tears. This album is nothing like I have ever heard before (I have yet to hear their latest recording). It may take some people a bit of getting used to, but stay with it for the audio treat of the decade and beyond. Unless of course their latest album is even better.
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