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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

Buy At Rough Trade
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

2.9

Votes

9268
Genres
Pop

Reviews

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Fri Jul 29 2022
2

1001 vibratos to listen to before you die. The vibrato was so distracting I didn't get much else out of this album. The background music was nice but overpowered by VIBRATOOOOOOOOO.

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Sat Dec 18 2021
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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Fri Jul 15 2022
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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Sat Dec 18 2021
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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Thu Apr 06 2023
2

I hate the vibrato. I'm sorry, but the vocal performance here is just not for me, to an extent that it renders most of the album a chore, if not a pain, to listen to. Another example of where instrumentals only would be preferable. It's also a bit too bleak in terms of lyricism for me, but definitely not bad. Some cool guest features I'll concede. 05/04/23

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Thu Apr 14 2022
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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Sun Mar 13 2022
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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Thu Dec 30 2021
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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Fri Jul 15 2022
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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Tue Dec 21 2021
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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Mon Dec 20 2021
5

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

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Sun Jul 31 2022
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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Fri Dec 02 2022
5

Well, wasn't expecting that. Very sparse but with big performances, especially vocally. I don't think you can miss what the subject matter is, and I think vocally Anohni just nails the right mix of vulerable and strong. It may have not been created for me (as a straight cis guy), but I'm very happy it's here. Favorite tracks: "Bird Gehrl", "You Are My Sister", "Fistful of Love"

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Fri Jan 14 2022
4

Such a beautifully haunting album.

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Thu Feb 24 2022
4

lush - dreamy, yearning, songs of transition

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Fri Mar 18 2022
2

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

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Fri Aug 05 2022
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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Fri Jul 29 2022
1

Listening to this was almost as bad as nails on a chalkboard.

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Sun Oct 23 2022
1

You don't sound like a bird, you sound like a frigging kettle.

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Thu Mar 23 2023
1

If you like warbling this will be right up your alley. I don't.... it's irritating and awful !!

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Thu Apr 13 2023
1

Absolutely hate the continually forced vibrato vocals which makes the whole thing a chore to listen to. Musically it's very one dimensional too.

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Wed May 24 2023
1

Really annoying voice with way too much vibrato. The only song I really enjoyed featured a guest artist. Some of the backing stuff is interesting, but I can’t get past the vocals.

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Sun Dec 12 2021
3

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

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Thu Jan 06 2022
3

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

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Mon Sep 19 2022
2

One's enjoyment of this i think will live or die based on what they think of the vocals. Musically i really enjoyed what was going on here but that vibrato reaches levels of comical where i had to stop listening cause i couldn't take it seriously. Most notably on the tracks where they layer the vocals so you have double the vibrato making an almost white noise of incomprehensible warbling. That said, the tracks where the vibrato is toned down and especially the ones with guest vocalists are exceptionally pretty and are the only reason i am giving this a 2 instead of a 1.

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Sun Nov 06 2022
2

I tried, I really did. Everyone raves about the voice. It's more grating than interesting.

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Fri May 12 2023
1

The music is alright but the singing is just dreadful. The songs could be alright with a new singer.

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Sun Feb 20 2022
5

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

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Thu Mar 24 2022
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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Thu Apr 07 2022
5

Forgot how much I liked this album!

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Wed Sep 14 2022
5

Incredible record!! Loved it. The voice and emotions are so powerful! I am not so found of the guest voices as the main voice is so freaking nice. 4.5/5

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Fri Sep 16 2022
5

Haunting, somber, achingly beautiful, and powerful.

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Fri Sep 30 2022
5

I think I only knew Hope There's Someone before which is a real stunner!! But 100% untapped love for me in the rest of the album. My GOD the feeling and raw almost diary entry poetry on this album. It made me cry. I'm so so glad this album was written and put together by Anohni because it's a true gift to the world. The vocals and the ochestral sounding expansive instrumentation on tracks like Spiralling... wow. Every piece/part/instrument/vocal adds so much to every track too. A genius piece of work. PS I love the marmite vocals, they portray so much authentic feeling and they're certainly not overdone in my opinion. There are some parts where the vocal is completely pure and straight forward and that contrast is delish. Wonderful stuff! What a journey.

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Fri Oct 07 2022
5

I don't think I ever truly enjoyed the (main) vocals 100% but I sure as hell could appreciate it. It's quite emotive, and while the vibrato is a bit quicker than I usually prefer, it worked for the music. And the music? Beautiful. It's a very tough call to make because the vocals were still my least favorite part of it all, but I have to give this a 5 because of all the parts coming together perfectly.

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Thu Oct 13 2022
5

Really glad to hear this - I had listened to some Anohni in the past and loved it, but forgot about it. Now have listened to everything from both

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Thu Dec 15 2022
5

Where was I in 2005 that I didn't know about this album or this band? For today, I think this is a little bit exaggerated on the sad environment, but it looks perfect for the 15 years old me.

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Sat Jan 07 2023
5

i went into this thinking it would be a boring indie rock album based exclusively on the cover and i am very glad that i was wrong. i'm definitely happy i checked this out and i'm very interested in checking out anohni's solo work.

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Wed Jan 18 2023
5

Never heard of this band or album. Blown away. Great listen that I will return to. Chamber pop.

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Sun Feb 05 2023
5

This album was very interesting, I'm still not exactly sure where I stand on it. However, it felt good to sit through as it comes from the perspective of someone who paints a grief filled picture of what it's like to be transgender. And I think it's a very necessary one to listen to in the current climate. It makes me realize that 2005 wasn't very long ago and we still very much are dealing with the same mindset about some things. You can very clearly hear the pain in Anohi's voice and while it might not be technically perfect, she still gets the point through. I've never heard an album that so blatantly talks about being trans, especially not one from 18 years ago. As sad as it starts, and the heavy topics it deals with, the album does end on a happy note. As our protagonist is no longer dealing with the things tying her down, whether that be the body she was born in or an abusive relationship. It serves as a reminder that there is a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

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Fri Feb 10 2023
5

What a beautiful album. Such strong opening track too. You can feel the rawness and emotions in most of these. I found “For Today I Am A Boy” very powerful, especially after reading up a bit about the band. Saved songs: Hope There’s Someone, For Today I Am A Boy, Spiralling

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Sun Feb 19 2023
5

Haunting; full of pain, pleasure, and beauty. I think Anhoni may have been my first exposure to a trans person. I discovered this album shortly after it came out and was completely captivated by it. Still love it today. I think it has aged very well!

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Mon Mar 27 2023
5

Simply one of the most beautiful albums ever.

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Fri Mar 31 2023
5

The production, features, songwriting, incredible vocals, all of it comes together to form a perfect little window of intimacy into someone's personal struggles.

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Wed Apr 05 2023
5

Pop barroco. Me flipa la voz. Vinilo.

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Wed May 31 2023
5

Quite absurd, like why is there flying burgers, but I love it

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Thu Jul 20 2023
5

Fantastic, beautiful, loved it

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Mon Jul 24 2023
5

I first heard this a year or so ago when listening to previous Mercury Prize winners and thought it was absolutely gorgeous. Relistening has made me appreciate it even more - it’s just such a tender and affecting record

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Thu Jul 27 2023
5

This blew me away. Anohni’s deeply soulful musings on her sexuality is insanely impactful to hear and I am grateful of this website for giving me the opportunity to hear it.

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Tue Aug 01 2023
5

Pop barroco. Me flipa la voz. Vinilo.

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Sat Aug 12 2023
5

I'd never heard the music of Anohni and the Johnsons before, but it took approximately 30 seconds to be completely spellbound by this album. Anohni's voice is perhaps the most emotionally affecting I've ever heard. Every second is beautiful and somehow makes you feel feelings. The opening and closing tracks, 'Hope There's Someone' and 'Bird Guhl' (and the opening and closing lines within them) bookend the album perfectly, acting as the start and conclusion of an intensely personal story. In between, 'For Today I Am A Boy' spells out the theme of the album and 'You Are My Sister' had me welling up. Rating: 5/5 Playlist track: Fistful Of Love Date listened: 11/08/23

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Mon Aug 14 2023
5

As I settled into my seat in the bus for a 6-hour ride, I started this album. By about 5 tracks in, I was bored and ready for the album to be over. Then over the next few tracks the beauty of this album reached in and started squeezing my heart to the point that I was (unsuccessfully) fighting back the tears. I couldn’t wait for it to end…so that I could start it over! Maybe it was bus magic, but I fell in love with this one!

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Mon Aug 14 2023
5

Having never listened to this before, lead singer Anohni's voice was a bit of a shock at first. I wasn't sure I was going to take it. Soon I began to embrace the uniqueness of it as it was sung over such beautiful music and expressing such feelings. And what a collection of interesting guest voices to add to the mix! I don't imagine that I'll listen to this all of the time, but listening to it was indeed quite a special experience.

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Wed Aug 16 2023
5

Such simple but extraordinary concepts expressed so beautifully with such an arresting voice. This album hit me emotionally harder than any before. Anohni is truly amazing.

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Fri Sep 15 2023
5

Immediate 5 star album. The best.

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Thu Oct 05 2023
5

definetely 5 that voice........

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Thu Oct 19 2023
5

A beautiful voice, recalling the talent of Nina Simone, and a lyrical story rarely heard in popular music. ANOHNI is a very rare talent. It was a nice surprise to hear Lou Reed on this album. Fistful of Love is definitely a highlight.

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Thu Nov 16 2023
5

This rules, I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Sufjan Stevens lately and this has a similar emotional heft and haunting sound to it that I really love.

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Thu Dec 21 2023
5

Surprisingly nice to listen to - amazing piano and string arrangements

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Sun Jan 07 2024
5

Todas las canciones son impresionantes. No sobra nada.

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Fri Jan 19 2024
5

Beautiful emotional album love it

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Tue Jan 23 2024
5

Mágico, el piano envuelve todas las melodías y la voz es magnífica. Romántico en el más amplio sentido de la palabra. Imprescindible. Belleza y paz serían buenas palabra para definirlo.

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Thu Feb 01 2024
5

I definitely wasn’t sure I’d come across an album I truly fell in love with on this list but wow. This is totally my taste in music, added to my playlists. The lyrics, the timbre of her voice, the instrumentals. The amazing features. Love

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Mon Feb 19 2024
5

I had the most intense experience listening to this album that an album has put me through in a long time. At the beginning I was struggling to find something to latch on to, but by the time it ended I was so into it I immediately played it again, like the kid who survives the roller coaster and after disembarking sprints to get in line to ride again. However, as amazing as it was, I have a funny feeling I may never listen to this album again.

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Mon Feb 19 2024
5

This is what I want from this project. Something I never would have listened to otherwise, but was still beautiful in many ways.

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Mon Dec 20 2021
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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Wed Jan 12 2022
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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Wed Jan 12 2022
4

Vraiment beau j'adore la voix du gars

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Fri Feb 18 2022
4

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

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Wed Mar 02 2022
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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Thu Mar 03 2022
4

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

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Fri Mar 11 2022
4

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

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Wed Mar 23 2022
4

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

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Fri Mar 25 2022
4

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

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Sun Apr 10 2022
4

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

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Thu Apr 14 2022
4

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

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Wed Apr 27 2022
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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Wed May 11 2022
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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Sun May 29 2022
4

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

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Thu Jun 02 2022
4

Almost unspeakingly beautiful and haunting.

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Wed Jun 22 2022
4

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

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Fri Jul 01 2022
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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Fri Jul 08 2022
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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Fri Jul 15 2022
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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