Antony and the Johnsons – I fell in love with a dead boy

I think most people will either adore or disgust Antony. He is an overly theatrical singer/performer, a well-known figure in the New York drag queen scene. Antony was discovered by David Tibet of Current 93, who gave him the chance to release his music. In 1997 Antony’s debut album appeared, in 2000 followed this mini cd. Antony puts a lot of emotion and drama in his music. I must say that it depends on my mood how I appreciate it, sometimes I’m touched, sometimes I can’t hardly stand it. Which is a good sign I think of the intensity of the music, at least it does something to your emotions. His voice sounds rather androgynous, is he a boy or a girl? His typical voice is accompanied by ‘The Johnsons’. They create tranquil classical music, consisting mostly of piano and strings, which can be moving and sentimental.

The first track, ‘I fell in love with a dead boy’, is a very moving, though somewhat unconventional tale, in which Antony sings about a young boy he has just met. He has fallen in love with him, but unfortunately his body is lifeless: “Now I tell all my friends / I fell in love with a dead boy / I tell my family / I wish you could have met him”. Though this may sound a little cabaretesque, the song sounds dead serious. Towards the end Antony’s singing gets a little over-the-top, when he asks with a falset voice: “are you a bo-hoi, or are you a gi-hirl?”
The second song is a Lynch/Badalamenti composition, taken from Blue Velvet, originally sung by Julee Cruise, and here performed by Antony in an extremely slow and tranquil version. It’s a sweet, soft song, with something dramatic hiding underneath. Romantic and creepy at the same time.
The last song is a cover of the aforementioned Current 93, one of their most beautiful songs: ‘Soft Black Stars’. The arrangement of the soing is quite different here, and very well-succeeded. A lovely song, which comes close in intensity to the orginal.

Antony is an eccentric troubadour, who makes me think of Bryan Ferry and Marc Almond now and then, but who has created his own world, which will attract people who like a little drama in their life. The three songs on this mini cd are certainly moving.

artist: Antony and the Johnsons
label: Durtro
details: 3 tracks. [Dutro cd 054]