I Am a Bird Now is the second album by New York City band Antony and the Johnsons. It won the Mercury Prize on September 6, 2005. After winning the prize, the album shot up the UK albums chart from #135 to #16 in one week, the biggest jump in the history of the Mercury Music Prize. As of September 2011, UK sales stand at 220,000 copies.
I Am a Bird Now received very positive reviews. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 88 out of 100, indicating "universal acclaim."
Drowned in Sound's Anthony Gibbons gave the album a score of 10/10, writing "It's not an exaggeration. This isn't hype. I Am A Bird Now is a beautiful, emotive, glorious, and sometimes sinister album that will top many a critic's list come the end-of-year polls, and justifiably so."Tiny Mix Tapes also gave the album a perfect score, writing "This music grabs a hold of you and doesn't let go. It feels timeless and gorgeous and bigger than life. It may not be 'soul' in the strict, music appreciation 101 sense, but it could make even the most jaded atheist approach a metaphysical regard... I'd put on my critic's cap and dive into scrutiny, but I am too enraptured by this artist's music."Pitchfork Media's Brandon Stosuy praised the vocals, writing "The ultimate draw is Antony's voice, and within the first two seconds of the album, it should be very clear to even the most unaware newbies that Antony has an amazing Nina Simone/Brian Ferry/Jimmy Scott vibrato, a multi-octave siren that would sound painfully lovely no matter what he was saying."
The album has appeared on several end of year lists. Mojo named I Am a Bird Now the best album of 2005.Pitchfork Media ranked the album #5 on its list of the top 50 albums of 2005. On the same website, the track "Hope There's Someone" was ranked #28 on their list of the Top 500 Songs of the 2000s and was selected as 2005's best single.