I first heard of Antony through Lou Reed's live album, "Animal Serenade." Reed has him take the lead vocal on "Candy Says," saying it has always been too high for him. Antony acquits himself nicely, and made me curious to hear more.
"I am a Bird Now" is Antony's lastest album with his backing group, the Johnsons. It won Great Britian's 2005 Mercury Prize
in an apparent upset.
I like the album. Antony's singing has been compared to both Nina Simone and Boy George, but isn't as kitschy as that combination sounds.If the androgyny of Boy George turns you off, though, you'd best give this one a miss.Antony cites George as a personal and musical hero, and he guests on "You Are my Sister."
The Johnsons are a more interesting band than Culture Club, though, with cello and violins added into the mix. The songs would be good to listen to even without the vocals.
"For Today I Am A Boy," a standout track, deals with sexual ambiquity: "One day I’ll grow up, I know a womb within me/One day I’ll grow up, feel it full and pure/But for today I am a child, for today I am a boy."
You don't have to be Candy Darling (the drag queen pictured on the album cover)to empathize with the longing in Antony's voice.