Antony and the Johnsons : I am a Bird Now

Fuck Josh Groban. I am sick to death of hearing all the hype from these so-called yuppie music experts on what a great voice that guy has. To me, his voice is worse than nails on chalkboard — it repulses me. Hearing him butcher songs makes me want to call the People for the Ethical Treatment of Music.

Wait, wait, hold on. There is a method to my ranting—if you want to hear a voice, or someone who has it— “the voice,” listen no further than the man they call Antony. He has to have one of the most incredibly and extraordinarily sounding voices that I have ever heard. My first time experiencing Antony was on Lou Reed’s amazing double live disc Animal Serenade. Antony does the vocals on the live version of “Candy Says,” the song that was nearly ruined by Doug Yule on the third self-titled Velvet Underground album. But Antony resurrects the song in this live setting and soars with his unique and powerful tenor flavor. I loved especially the way he improvises by adding some scat singing towards the latter half of the song. That’s when you know a singer has transformed into an artist—when Antony takes someone else’s words and makes them his own. To this day, Antony’s version of “Candy Says,” makes it my one of top five favorite Lou Reed songs.

Because of his acclaim while touring with NYC icons Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson, Antony is getting his due. Now comes his brilliant new CD, I am a bird now. Talk about soaring! Wow— Antony’s disc is already automatically in the running for best CD of 2005.

Listen here not only does Antony duet’s with his old touring partner Lou Reed on “Fistful of Love” but Rufus Wainwright, son of Loudon III, trades lyrics with Antony on the beautiful “What can I do?” Another highlight is the Nick Cave-esque “Bird Guhl.” The keyboard sounds like Antony’s ode to Cave’s classic song “Into my Arms.” I also love the way the songs on I am a bird now are short and sweet. Don’t you hate it when an album you like drags on with seven-minute-plus epic songs? Antony captures the infinite glory of his muse as the majority of tracks clock in less than three minutes. I am a bird now actually has a chilled-out classical jazz vibe with minimal instruments, mainly just piano and an organ—this is a good thing because it highlights Antony’s voice perfectly. You could say that Antony’s voice is an instrument—the way he uses it so distinct and effortlessly through out the record.

If you want to hear beauty incarnate check out Antony—for a man to have a voice like this, sounding like he touches heaven with every tone he sings, is an amazing musical experience. I can’t even imagine seeing this guy live; he would blow my musical mind. There are women in music today who would kill for a voice like Antony’s—a voice that touches you with such delicate honesty that you never want to turn it off.

Similar albums:
Rufus Wainwright – Want Two
Lou Reed – The Raven
Shannon Wright – Maps of Tacit

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