Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10. Antony and the Johnsons "Hope There's Someone" (2005)

"Hope There's Someone" is a profoundly sad song. Maybe the saddest.

It's not only about being alone, not only about being without love, but something much more primal: not having someone to hold onto at night. Antony taps into the deepest of fears, of being alone at the time of death.

"Hope There's Someone" is the opening track of Antony and the Johnsons' excellent second record, I Am a Bird Now, a loose concept album about gender identity. On it, Antony sings about being stuck between two worlds, male and female, a state that makes the enormous difficulty of finding love that much harder.

The song manages to be wrenching, without being sentimental or melodramatic. Antony Hegarty's voice, whose upper-register is chilling, is naked in its yearning. The melancholy is almost suffocating. Come the song's coda, where Antony howls over a pounding ostinato piano, the pall doesn't lift, but is actually intensified.

"Hope There's Someone" is not an easy song to listen to. But it's a gorgeous lullaby for the lonely, a lovely torch song for the most fundamental of human fears.

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