Monday, February 21, 2005

Paralyzed in Light

I read an album review somewhere for Antony and the Johnsons' new album I'm a Bird Now. The web site advertises the band as an "utterly genderqueer musical sensation."

Let me tell you -- they have an incredible sound. I love the male voice, but I've never heard anyone start the lead track of an album with vibrato-filled male falsetto, as they do on "Hope There's Someone." It's bold, and, pardon the expression, quite beautiful.

The song expresses the desire not to die alone, and I confess that some of the song's power over me comes from the last six weeks, where I've been studying the ways in which one prepares for death. Does Trusts and Estates have this effect on many law students, or just me? (Of course, events in my own life have also caused me to take stock recently.)

I had never been one to worry about death, until I started hearing all the things I should do, with some urgency, before I die. It's not the legal crap that bothers me much. Suddenly, I worry that I will die and leave things unsaid. Important things. Things I'm afraid to say, or things that words just can't express anyway.

Then I ask myself, "what difference does it make if you die alone? Either way, you're dead." It seems like vanity to worry about how I would be remembered. It's not going to matter to me, after all.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Ashley said...

I just bought this album over the weekend, based only on reviews and the unique descriptions of Antony's voice. It's a very strange, dark, and beautiful album.

But I always wonder, why does the male falsetto touch me so deeply? Maybe its the teary-eyed vulnerability that a falsetto tends to suggest--an emotion that is rather unusual among male singers...?

In any case, I love how the Amazon reviews are either one star or five stars. This is definitely an artist you either love or hate.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Ay de mi! Hi!

If I miss you, don't be afraid to holler at me.

I think your second paragraph nails it exactly, and you can account for the differential approval of the band by inquiring as to whether the listener is a person comfortable with male vulnerability.

My wife and I have an ongoing competition to convince people that it is the most beautiful/most awful thing ever, and we've also found that framing is very powerful; those that I introduce to it at least grudgingly admit that it's pretty, whereas those she introduces to it shake their head in disbelief and murmur "weird."

6:16 AM  

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