10 ANOHNI*: Hopelessness


As a culture, we westerners are still not 100% ‘OK’ with transgendered people


I mean, obviously: we’re not even close to 100% accepting homosexuality. We pat ourselves on the back every time a country legalises gay marriage, but it speaks volumes that every country bar Ireland didn’t dare put it to a vote, and you have to wonder how much bigger that 38% opposition would be if the people of Britain and America were polled


Transexuals are still not quite accepted, despite how much the liberals protest to the contrary: they currently exist in that horrible limbo between hostility and true acceptance where they’re patronised. Every transexual is ‘brave’ and a ‘hero, and deserves a standing ovation just for existing. Even people ostensibly on transexuals’ side express their support by emphasising how abnormal and different transexuals are, like they should be applauded as if a raccoon correctly whips then nae-naes at the appropriate point of the song



We’ll never have true acceptance and integration until the day I can call Caitlyn Jenner an absolute piece of shit and nobody would assume it was because of her gender identity



ANOHNI* may well prove to be an important historical marker in a road to true equality that’s going to be long and difficult. She is one of the first well known cases of gender realignment (and, like, by far the coolest one, yeah?),-which made so much sense for a woman who once sang of sexual confusion in her former guise as Antony and the Johnsons- and the second ever openly transgendered Academy Award nominee


The first one, of course, was Philip Seymour Hoffman, after it was revealed after his sad death was actually three old Bolivian ladies standing on each other’s shoulders in a suit



The struggles that still exist were exposed when Anohni wasn’t invited to play at the Oscars ceremony along with all the other nominees, and the fact that nobody really gave a shit about it



‘Hopelessness’ though! What a utterly wonderful album! 


ANOHNI* performs a complete upheaval of The Johnsons’


sound, swapping delicate and epic piano ballads and gorgeously peculiar symphonies for beautifully abrasive, experimental and thumping dance music





Lyrically it also delights in the unexpected: while the background of its recording and being the debut release for ANOHNI* would lead you to assume she would take us through the emotionally wrought experience of changing gender, but instead ‘Hopelessness’ is perhaps 2016’s most nakedly political album, beautifully sung responses to global warming, drone warfare, Obama’s failings and the, y’know, hopelessness that one is likely to feel


That voice as well: the words ‘child molesters’ haven’t been sung as beautifully as this since [INSERT SOME LED ZEPPELIN JOKE]



The fact that this is obviously her first foray into such areas can mean unfortunately that some of the lyrics are a little… on the nose, and ‘Hopelessness’ can ocassionally resemble a teenage boy’s attempts at writing lyrics for My Chemical Romance




But it’s a small gripe, especially when the wonderful Execution provides a simple mnemonic device for remembering which countries other than the USA are barbaric enough to still have the death penalty:






And rechristening ‘big brother’ as ‘Big Daddy‘ to expose the smutty sexuality at the heart of mass surveillance?




Metacritic: +83

Length: 41 minutes +5

Number of AMAZING songs: 1 (+10)

…But Are All the Rest of the Songs Kinda Amazing Anyway?

Definitely, but a word of warning: every time you listen to it there are a lot more experimental mood pieces than you remember


Is the last song just the first track but played on Ukulele? No -1



* It’s stylistically capitalised, I’m not just shouting her name

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