The Crying Light - Antony and the Johnsons
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 35
  2. Negative: 0 out of 35
  1. If you let it work its magic, it will--no matter how unfashionable or cloying it may seem at a glance. It’s music to get absorbed by.
  2. As music, it's simply exquisite--more controlled and considered than anything Antony and the Johnsons have done and sure to linger in the minds of listeners for more than a season.
  3. A startlingly powerful album meted out with supreme control.
  4. The Crying Light--a haunting collection of ballads that play like transmissions from a mournful, elegant alien--nearly equals its predecessor.
  5. Whatever hopes you held in the aftermath of "I Am a Bird Now," they have been exponentially exceeded in poetry, music, and honesty here.
  6. What emerges by the halfway point of the title track is the sense that you're not listening to just another piano troubadour; you're hearing the oceanic confessions of an artist who in time will be considered one of the most affecting composers of this still young century. [Apr 2009, p.134]
  7. The Crying Light, reaches out from the band’s investment in gender issues to grapple with nature of a different sort: the earth, familial relationships and a life-force passed on. The scope of the record spans generations, but retains a sense of communion with its listener.
  8. Simultaneously sparse and rich, The Crying Light mines maximum intensity from a relatively minimal mix of basic melodies, pithy lyrics, and understated arrangements.
  9. With The Crying Light Antony And The Johnsons continue to explore the creative boundaries of pop while covering all emotional bases. For that, they should be celebrated.
  10. The Crying Light shows us that there is one medium of output that will undoubtedly remain his most naturally beautiful, his most perfect fit.
  11. On The Crying Light, Antony acts as a conduit between popular music and the avant-garde, and if that’s not a mark of greatness, what is?
  12. 80
    It's an ideal January release, time enough for Antony's spacious, textured odyssey to sink in before those Album Of The Year polls come round again. [Feb 2009, p.104]
  13. 80
    The Crying Light shows Antony boldly, indefatigably following his own eccentric star.
  14. Emotion drips from every breath. [Feb 2009, p.118]
  15. At times, you won't hear a more beautiful album this year, and there are enough heart-stoppingly dramatic moments on here to more than justify all the excited pre-release anticipation.
  16. Hegarty sounds more in control of his remarkable voice than ever before, and this new restraint suits him. When you’ve got this much emotive power at your fingertips, it’s wise to reel it in a bit.
  17. That The Crying Light vibrates with confidence will be no surprise to anyone who witnessed last year's remarkable shows at London's Barbican.
  18. The follow-up to Antony's acclaimed 2005 breakthrough album, "I Am a Bird Now," is perhaps only a less astonishing listen in light of the artist's growing reputation.
  19. The Crying Light may not be as directly moving or as astounding as its predecessor, it’s a fine album on its own.
  20. This deeply introspective album is vast in scope while retaining the intimacy of a concert-hall recital.
  21. Hegarty wrote and helped to arrange all the songs on The Crying Light, and his writing bears the same pensive sensitivity as his singing on what amounts to a spellbinding album.
  22. The Crying Light is not exactly light and happy stuff, but for Antony, it’s a giant step forward down the path toward personal and artistic happiness.
  23. The Crying Light may prove to be too precarious to hold up on its own in the future, but for now Antony & the Johnsons have provided a perfect gateway to their music.
  24. It's heartbreakingly gorgeous, and if it's sometimes easy to miss the club-kid joie de vivre Antony brought to last year's brilliant Hercules and Love Affair album, well, that disc didn't have this one's lush Nico Muhly string arrangements.
  25. The Crying Light too often doesn’t feel like it has a sufficient destination, even though it takes some gorgeous side road. [Winter 2009]
  26. 70
    Antony and the Johnsons' third full-length wisely focuses on the frontman's enormous talent, with Nico Muhly's classical arrangements plinking and waltzing but never overpowering.
  27. Antony's performances are always classy as well as unequivocally odd.
  28. If you were one of the many that loved "I Am A Bird Now" when it was released, then you'll undoubtedly enjoy this just as much.
  29. Taken as a whole, this album feels less managed than its predecessor, and more hollow. Also, the lyrics tend toward the ecstatic, largely skipping the teasing questions about gender and identity that lent his previous work additional piquancy.
  30. Far from a slump, The Crying Light is simply less personal, developed out of nature and stewed in Hegarty's natural showmanship and knack for the unsettling.
  31. Too often you can hear the self-satisfied smirk on these songs, the little finger held out affectedly at right angles, the raised eyebrow as he plays to his adoring audience.
  32. Antony Hegarty's tremulous warble is a strange and marvelous instrument--and for many, an acquired taste. The Crying Light, this diva-dude's third album, spotlights his haunting vocals with few distractions, using piano and low-key orchestral arrangements as foils for him to swoop and shiver over.
  33. The album's big problem is not a lack of quality; it's the feeling that you've been here before, or you've been somewhere so like here as to make little difference.
  34. As an album, The Crying Light is neither as revelatory nor as consistent as "I Am A Bird Now."
  35. The Crying Light is a record that effectively changes Antony’s character and makes him a difficult entity to relate to, forcing him more into the realm of animatronics than human existence.
User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 44 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Negative: 2 out of 15
  1. Jan 16, 2014
    8
    Unwelcoming and inaccessible but moments of brilliance

    While not their best work, "The Crying Light" is still a strong collection of
    beautifully arranged songs. The record has that inaccessible feel that often comes with this band, the songs sound so otherwordly that at times the music can be disconcerting and feels like your intruding on one of Antony Hegarty's personal moment.
    It's hard to describe but the album gives a very unwelcoming vibe on occasion. You just don't feel like you belong . While quiet a sombre and dark album, musically and lyrically the band are in flying form for the majority of this record. Kiss my Name, one of the very few uplifting tracks on the album is the highlight for me, a real magical song that staggers dramatically back and forth between sadness and elation. The record probably could have done with a few more of these moments. Epilepsy is Dancing is another high point. Overall, this is a very solid if very arty album.
    Full Review »
  2. May 25, 2013
    7
    Yes, it's almost unbearably cloying and very eye-roll inducing with its lyrics, but The Crying Light is a very beautiful album to listen and absorb. Plus one of the most emotional male voices in existence. Full Review »
  3. Jul 16, 2011
    9
    Not as overtly emotional as I Am a Bird Now on first few listens but the nuanced beauty of the arrangements make up for it. As usual. Antony's wondrous voice carries each song and even manages to convey deep emotions to rather elemental topics like mother earth and nature. An amazing listen. Full Review »