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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

I Am a Bird Now

Antony and the Johnsons

2005

I Am a Bird Now

Album Summary

I Am a Bird Now is the second album by New York City band Antony and the Johnsons. It won the Mercury Prize on September 6, 2005. After winning the prize, the album shot up the UK albums chart from #135 to #16 in one week, the biggest jump in the history of the Mercury Music Prize. As of September 2011, UK sales stood at 220,000 copies.The album features guest appearances by Rufus Wainwright ("What Can I Do?"), Devendra Banhart, Joan Wasser and by lead singer Anohni's childhood heroes Boy George and Lou Reed. The cover is a photograph by Peter Hujar of Warhol superstar Candy Darling on her deathbed (aptly titled "Candy Darling on Her Deathbed").

Wikipedia

Rating

2.95

Votes

3337

Genres

  • Pop
Reviews
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3

I don't think you're supposed to call him Antony anymore. Who knew that 'I am a bird now' would take on such significance?

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1

he's got such an annoying voice. i didn't get it the first time round and i still don't get it now. nice music but gets ruined by him warbling over the top.

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5

16 years later and this album still leaves me speechless. I have no speech. I am without speech.

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5

Beautiful pain.

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5

I was NOT expecting this. This music felt so personal, like reading someone's diary. They have a unique viewpoint of a trans life. His voice and style remind me of a mix between Nina Simone and Devendra Banhart. The instrumentals felt expansive and had a live-sounding quality. Beautiful. Unique.

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4

Such a beautifully haunting album.

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4

lush - dreamy, yearning, songs of transition

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4

Depressing album, but in a good way, we need albums with real emotion. Great vocals, especially the vibrato, the difference between the upper and lower register singing sounded like two different singers. Really interesting.

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3

So emotional & melancholy. I like the genre description Baroque Pop.

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3

If this guy was in the piano lounge I would definitely wait until the set was finished

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2

It has some interesting moments here and there. The last minute of Hope There's Someone and the cameos from Lou Reed and Boy George for instance. Despite the songs being pretty straight forward with little variation musically, it has beautiful piano and strings throughout. It's also has some meaningful lyrics regarding ANHONI's life and transition, plus longing for someone. I can truely understand why this is on the list and how it has touched many hearts, but I just cannot stand the vocals and that alone was too distracting to enjoy this. Mad respect for her creating meaningful art that has touched many, but it's simply not my cup of tea.

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2

It seems the artist tried to make some ~deep~ songs, but they turned out really boring.

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5

For the record, nothing about this looked appealing to me ahead of time. Couldn’t have been more surprised to hear the beauty woven throughout the album. Anohni’s hauntingly powerful vibrato vocals shine as the music seems to dynamically flow from her singing. Loved nearly every song and noticed how the compositional style remains simple and elegant yet has surprising and unexpected turns whenever you think you have it figured out. Lou Reed sits in as a bonus.

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5

Great Misconduct At Home, Just Wrote Saf7a Bark Men 3l Bouheli Mte3 Dostoevsky 3al Album He4a

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5

I wasn't convinced I was going to like this after the first track, it sounded a bit unfinished, like a demo or something. But as I got into it I realised that this just works, and ended up enjoying it a lot.

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5

Forgot how much I liked this album!

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5

Haunting

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5

Wow! First album in here, that I didn't know at all, and then got transfixed by! I am (almost) speechless. This album is labelled as baroque/art pop. Well, if this genre is supposed to sound like this, then sign me in! Songs on this album have two layers. The first one, is a usually slow and rather melancholic, but beautiful melody, played on piano with plenty of string instruments. The second one is an incredibly rare and forceful voive of singer, Anhoni. And the song that shows that combinations better than anything else, is 'Hope there's someone'. If the only goal of listening to 1001 albums would be to hear this song for the first time, it is well worth it. Whole album is a very beautiful journey, that has been plaing in the background for the last day, and will be played for a long time since. Bravo!

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4

Had high expectations when this album was released, but usually only listen to the three or four stand-out tracks - rest of the songs = three star. I would say 4* is the appropriate rating.

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4

keep flying dude

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4

Je m'attendais pas à cette voix, impressionné (4/5 mais 5/5 pour la cover et Lou Reed) Prefs: Hope There's Someone, You Are My Sister, FISTFUL OF LOVE, Spiralling Moins pref: Free At Last

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4

Vraiment beau j'adore la voix du gars

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4

Strange and unique

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4

Was not expecting the voice… strange, unique, and hauntingly beautiful.

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4

I liked this, for all its over the top operatic presentation, it had a unique sound and the lyrics mostly managed to be dramatic without falling over into mawkish melodrama.

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4

What a wild ride. Crazy voice! She's got some killer vibrato. Worth a listen.

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4

Good stuff. Lush, acoustic instruments; unusual vibrato vocals and well written songs.

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4

Really enjoyed this, not listened to their work before and it was a good starting point.

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4

Lovely tunes, I think his singing and voice work well.

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4

Amazing voice and powerful lyrics speaking to issues and perspectives that aren't common in popular music.

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4

Great rainy day album. Beautiful singing voice - reminds me a lot of benjamin copeland

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4

Love her voice. I've been a fan for a long time and this aughts-era indie will always have a soft spot in my heart.

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4

Открывающий трек, You Are My Sister, What Can I Do? и Fistful of Love - однозначно шедевры. Близко к тому, что хочется слышать в идеальном альбоме из палаты мер и весов этого жанра. 8 из 10.

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4

Not sure why this didn’t come across my radar before.

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4

Almost unspeakingly beautiful and haunting.

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4

moody and dark

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4

Wow. oke zwaar onderwerp en prachtige muziek. Ik ben fan

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4

mooi, traantjes

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4

Iskreno mi se ni ovo nije slušalo, ne znam šta mi je u posljednje vrijeme. Međutim, natjerao sam se i mogu reći da ima dosta dobrih stvari na albumu, lijepih trenutaka, instrumentala obojano posebnim vokalom sa dobrim konceptom osobe koja želi izać iz muškog tijela.

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4

Una veu, una manera de cantar i unes composicions tremendament personals. D'una cruesa i una sensibilitat gairebé extremes. Temes com 'Today I'm a Boy', 'You Are My Sister' o 'Hope There's Someone' són d'una preciositat que fa posar els péls de punta. Va ser la seva cúspide artística i un dels discos a reivindicar dels 00's

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4

I couldn't help but read the album title in a Scouse accent. Yeh, is right la! I quite enjoyed this album. I appreciate that Anohni's vocals can be an acquired taste, still I find them hauntingly beautiful, somewhat anguished and honest.

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4

What a voice!

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3

Like if tiny Tim went through puberty

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3

I loved this album when it came out but listening back to it now, I am struggling to remember why. The voice is beautiful but the music seems to be there solely to showcase the voice, there's not a lot going on. The later ANOHNI stuff is infinitely more interesting.

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3

Unusual vocals, unique and haunting. As a whole, I felt this got better as I worked through the album, not gripped at the start, but really enjoyed it by the end. Musically varied, but all linked by Anohni‘s gifted voice

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3

Haunting and beautiful. Definitely from the heart, both the lyrics and the performance. The constant vibrato in the voice sometimes becomes too much. Not a regular re-listen but poses questions that linger and therefore worthy of merit.

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3

No longer in the latest editions of the book.

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3

Sometimes hard to listen to the vocals, but there is some beautiful music here.

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3

Antony's vibrato is probably the worst part of this experience. A very beautiful album, but the vocal styling is what ruins it for me.

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3

This wasn’t what I expected, especially right off of the bat. The music and vocals were not anticipated, but in a good way. The R&B kind of feel have this a good vibe, which I liked, I just found it difficult to get fully “into” this album. I liked it, but not in a way that will make me seek out other music by this artist.

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3

3 Stars

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3

Great when I’m in the mood for it

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3

I remember in my 20s hearing the first track on Pandora radio and was pretty struck by it, so I went and tried to listen to the album... and more of it I heard the more I started to dislike it. The heavy vibrato-vocals I think work well to be used sparingly, or just one track. But, as it goes on it gets to be too much for me. Might be a nice concert to go to and never listen to again, just for that transient experience.

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3

Vibrato vox very much not my thing. First track is undeniably powerful but I can't take a whole album of it. Emotionally exhausting.

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3

Haunting, beautiful, but despite that I had some trouble getting into it. Could see it growing on me. Or not.

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3

Super interesting. Not my normal cup of tea, but I dug the music a lot. The vocals weren't my favorite style, but the guest vocalists were good. 3.5/5, but rounding down to a 3. With a different lead singer, may be a 4 for me. This is just my personal preference. Very poignant cover art, too, given the backstory of who it is.

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3

An album that is like a wallflower. Unspectacular, just kind of flows along like a river but in essence isn't bad. Just unremarkable both in positive and negative ways

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3

Beautiful chamber pop I've not heard before. Stuff like it, stuff which strikes closer to my core immediately, sure. But nothing which created such a disjoint response to the first track and the rest. Far, far too subtle to evaluate without really sitting with it. Perhaps 2005 was a wild time for this to release.

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3

C'est beau. Pièce préférée: Fistful Of Love

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3

Pas un fan du vibrato dès le départ, la première toune j'étais sur le bord d'haïr ça (en plus Rufus se pointe plus tard😄) mais la deuxième toune et les suivantes était mieux. La production et les arrangements sont assez hot en fait. Avec un matériel assez simple somme toute, l'habillage rends tout de même le tout intéressant, certains beats surprenants au drum . Clairement pas un disque que j'écouterais souvent mais c'est artistiquement de haut niveau, je tripe pas chanson à texte et mettons que le propos est assez front mais la personne au centre de ce projet sait comment s'entourer.

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3

Not really my thing but there's a beauty to this. 3

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3

This is something new, hard to describe it or put it in a genre. In some way I liked it, his voice has something strange that I want to keep listening to. Not something to listen to all the time. Favourite songs: - Hope there’s someone - Fistful of love

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3

Another album no longer on the list. I'm mostly familiar with Antony/Anohni from her guest vocals on Lou Reed's The Raven and her later solo album, I'm not super familiar with the Johnsons. It's not really my thing, but it is pretty.

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3

There's some pearls of real beauty here. Highlights: What Can I Do?, For Today I am a Boy.

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3

This album grew on me slowly as I listened to it. I hated the first song but by the time it got to fistful of love I was into it partly cuz that song itself is a banger. This is another album like sault where the Spotify radio is better than the album

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3

Another one that's all new to me, and it's great. Richly layered, interesting compositions, and superbly performed and recorded. I read the Wikipedia entry and learned there were quite a few guest stars in here -- artists I've long loved and admired -- and that's super-cool, too, but the work here really does stand strong on its own. Nicely done.

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3

What’s thrilling about this album is the joy that comes from an artist expressing their full self. Sad moments, more joyful moments, a tough listen in some respects but deserving of its place on this list.

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3

3.7 - I know it's cliché but the best word I can think of to describe this album is brave. Anohni "goes there" with lines like: "My My lady story is one of breast amputation." I like the voice and the delicate arrangements. And I heard the influence of this band on contemporaries like Perfume Genius.

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3

interessant

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3

Admittedly I have always found Anohni's voice kind of grating, so I'd never listened to a full album before. This was very haunting and in some (many?) places I found it beautiful, but I don't think I'll listen to it much again.

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3

This album is quite beautiful. It also has way too much vibrato which is something I think used sparingly is stunning but constantly is overdoing it. Pretty poetic lyrics with really good instrumentals. 4 is too high but 3 seems too low. 3.5 stars.

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3

While I don't really care for the heavy vibrato style singing, I can definitely appreciate the heart and feeling that pours from this album. It definitely feels like poetry put to music.

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2

Boring

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2

Nyt vasta tajusin ku en eilen illalla saanu unta, et ois pitäny tää laittaa soimaan. Aikas mitäänsanomaton, mut ei megaskeidaa kuitenkaan

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2

Alku kuulosti lupaavalle, mutta siihen sitten se jäikin. Saattais sopia hetkeen kun ympäripäissään rikkoo viimeisen olutpullon kävelymatkalla rannalta kotiin...

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2

First couple of tracks were solid. Kind of a Fiona Apple meets Tiny Tim vibe. 2.3.

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2

I don't get it ... Yet, this won the Mercury Prize for best UK album of 2005? OK. Giving it a 2 b/c I don't want to seem completely ignorant.

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2

Han har en härlig röst Antony men ett ganska tråkigt album

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2

I've heard some music from Antony and the Johnsons, but never a full album. "Fistful of Love" was my favorite track from the album, but I couldn't handle the warble in the vocals. The music is good, but the vocals would make me skip listening to this album again. I think the warble was enough to keep me from rounding up to a full 3 stars.

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2

C’est différent et pareil en même temps. La façon de chanter est particulière, tout comme la façon d’organiser les tounes. Par contre, c’est encore du foutu I-V-VI-IV qu’on essaie même pas de cacher. Aussi, la façon de chanter semble être un truc pour masquer une mélodie inexistente (Bird Ghul). On dirait qu’il/elle ne sait pas quelle note viser, alors il/elle fait un truc flou qui tourne autour. Finalement, you are my sister... Quessé ça ??? Au final, je suis content que ça existe et de l’avoir écouté. Je l’aime mieux comme artiste invité comme sur la toune de Bjork mettons.

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2

Nice. I'd like to hear this one again. 2/5

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2

Can't do the vocals.

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2

Didn't like this at the time when it won the Mercury (I was team Bloc Party!) but on reflection, it's aged a lot better than the indie landfill of that era. This type of arty, baroque pop isn't really my thing but it was decent enough.

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2

Tolles Vibrato, aber dafür hätte es diese Platte nicht gebraucht, oder? Musikalisch größtenteils uninteressant.

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2

dramatic asf

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2

erm. not sure

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2

I found the singers voice really offputting: so breathy, husky and with vibrato on everything. I ended up just listening to how much I disliked it, rather than to music. This was most apparent, when there was a lovely Rufus Wainwright sounding track in the middle all of a sudden.

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2

This honestly sucks, but I'm giving it 2 stars because I guess it's meaningful to some people?

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2

About as depressing (melancholical) as the cover would suggest. I was about to turn it off after the first track, but it got a bit better. I didn't really like the effect of a "skipping CD" on the second track and lightly on others. Overall personally didn't enjoy it all that much unfortunately.

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2

Not for me

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2

I really can't stand this person's voice. The songs are pretty and tender, but the voice ruins it for me.

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2

What exactly am I listening to? Couldn't tell if it is a dude or a woman...either way, there are times when I really don't like the voice... other times it is fine... for me, it is a nice album, but if I never heard it again, I think I'd be ok.... 2.5/5

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1

would give it a 0

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1

Couldnt get into it

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1

Oh nein, nicht meins - ich mag dieses künstliche Singen nicht

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1

Not for me - like nails scratching on a blackboard.

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1

Wasn't into this at all.

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1

Seriously I don't even understand what this list is anymore, if I did in the first place. Why is this album there, what is it about this that I need to listen to. In terms of music, we'll if you like a bloke gargling white spirit whilst singing about his flip flops being made from paste this is for you. One piano note rolls out every 4 bars to be dramatic, I guess. This album is like being made to cut the lawn with a pair of blunt scissors whilst birds peck at you and the cat can't even be bothered to piss on you, she has such contempt in her eyes.

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1

The kind of self indulgent warbling that apparently qualifies as music. I initially thought his voice was interesting but by the third track it just grated on me. And the songwriting is really dull. Boring and annoying is not a good combination. At 35 minutes it was 25 minutes too long.

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1

Tråkigt indie-skit

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