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Antony and the Johnsons - Swanlights.jpg
Studio album by
Released11 October 2010
GenreBaroque pop, experimental
LabelSecretly Canadian
Antony and the Johnsons chronology
The Crying Light
Cut the World
Singles from Swanlights
  1. "Thank You for Your Love"
    Released: 30 August 2010
  2. "Swanlights"
    Released: 25 April 2011

Swanlights is the fourth studio album by Antony and the Johnsons, released on 12 October 2010 worldwide through Secretly Canadian, and 11 October 2010 in the United Kingdom through Rough Trade. To accompany the album release, the band has produced a 144-page art book also titled Swanlights, which includes paintings, collages, photography and writing by Antony.[1] The album was preceded by lead single/EP Thank You for Your Love, released on 30 August 2010 in the UK and 1 September in the US.

Artwork and book[edit]

The Swanlights project consists of music and artwork that Antony has been focusing on for the last three years. Many of the songs that appear on the album had been recorded during tracking for The Crying Light while two of the tracks stem from live recordings in Copenhagen and London in 2008 and 2009. Antony undertook a project to create a companion piece to the Swanlights album in the form of an art book in collaboration with Abrams Image Publishing, Garrick Gott and Joie Iacono, incorporating drawings, paintings, portraits and poems from a mass of work that was creating during recordings of "The Crying Light" and "Swanlights". In interviews, Antony described her work on Swanlights as "a collision between joy and a sense of hopelessness". Antony said she was struggling to come to terms with the idea that she was part of a society that was having a "virulent" impact on the earth.[2]

In 2009, the New York Times[3] wrote a feature on Antony and her earliest exhibition of her work at the ISIS Gallery in London entitled The Creek.[4] Artwork from Swanlights has subsequently been shown at the Agnes B Gallery in Paris, in Turin, and by curator Jerome Sans in the exhibition "It's Only Rock And Roll Baby" in Brussels and Milan.


One special event was performed in support of Swanlights at Lincoln Center in New York City on 30 October 2010 with the Orchestra of St. Luke's, conducted by Rob Moose, with a special screening as a backdrop of "Mr. O's Book of the Dead" by Chiaki Nagano. Antony dedicated the evening to Kazuo Ohno who died in June of that year. Antony said this about Kazuo's passing, "I want to express my sorrow at the passing of Kazuo Ohno, who died today in a hospital in Yokohama at the age of 103. He was my hero and my teacher. I feel so honored to have had the opportunity to meet him and get a little closer to his family and his work earlier this year when we visited the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio in Japan. I thank him for awakening a sense of a child inside me. I will dream of him forever, and I will search for his footsteps in the dust of life before me. I wish only for his flourishing joy."

The evenings songs were arranged by Antony, Nico Muhly and Rob Moose consisting of tracks spanning Antony's four albums.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[5]
BBC Music(favorable)[6]
Entertainment.ie4/5 stars[7]
Mojo4/5 stars
Prefix Magazine8.5/10[9]
Tiny Mix Tapes4.5/5 marks[11]
Uncut Magazine4/5 stars

Stereogum placed Swanlights in its Top 50 Albums of the year at No. 8.[12] Tiny Mix Tapes gave Swanlights a 4.5/5[13] saying that "yet another gorgeous creation by one of the most unique artists of the 2000s." Pitchfork's review stated "Swanlights might be Antony's richest album yet, with musical and thematic charms that take their time to take their hold...."[14] Mojo scored Swanlights with 4 out of 5 stars saying, "Death, love, the ghosts they leave behind; these are grand themes, and Antony channels their spirit with magical grace."

In October 2010, Antony was invited to "takeover" The Guardian's music and arts page that ran for weeks leading up to the release of Swanlights.[15] The takeover consisted of a slide show of Antony's artwork with narration by Antony of selections from the Swanlights book, a phone conversation between Antony and Björk, an essay on the environment vs capitalism by Jerry Mander and several other articles dealing with song writing, Marina Abramović, videos and more.

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Antony Hegarty, except where noted.

1."Everything Is New" 4:32
2."The Great White Ocean" 4:59
4."I'm in Love" 3:52
5."Violetta" 0:35
6."Swanlights" 6:08
7."The Spirit Was Gone" 3:17
8."Thank You for Your Love" 4:14
10."Salt Silver Oxygen"
  • Hegarty
  • Muhly
11."Christina's Farm" 7:21
Total length:46:21
  • All songs included on Hardcover Edition except "Flétta" by Antony and Björk.


Chart (2012) Peak
Austrian Albums Charts 30
Belgian Albums Charts (Flanders) 5
Belgian Albums Charts (Wallonia) 44
Danish Albums Charts 20
France Albums Chart 16
Italian Album Chart 14
Netherlands Albums Chart 10
Norwegian Albums Chart[17] 4
Spanish Albums Chart (Promusicae) 11
Sweden Albums Chart 9
Swiss Albums Chart 32

In 2011 it was awarded a gold certification from the Independent Music Companies Association which indicated sales of at least 75,000 copies throughout Europe.[18]


  1. ^ Mango Starr, 6 May 2010. Antony and The Johnsons to release Swanlights in October Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved on 6 May 2010.
  2. ^ "Antony and the Johnsons". Vogue Italy. 27 October 2010.
  3. ^ "A Somber Singer Reveals a Different Set of Colors Offstage". New York Times. 18 February 2009.
  4. ^ "Antony – The Creek". ISIS Gallery. 2009.
  5. ^ "All Music review".
  6. ^ "BBC Music Review".
  7. ^ Mulligan, Jenny (22 October 2010). "Antony & The Johnsons". Entertainment.ie. Retrieved 11 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Pitchfork Review".
  9. ^ "Prefix Magazine Review".
  10. ^ "SPIN Review".
  11. ^ "Tiny Mix Tapes Review".
  12. ^ "2010 Top 50 Albums". Stereogum. 8 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Swanlights Music Review". Tiny Mix Tapes. 2010.
  14. ^ "Swanlights Music Review". Pitchfork Media. 14 October 2010.
  15. ^ "Antony and the Johnsons Takeover". The Guardian. 11 October 2010.
  16. ^ Swanlights (Deluxe Edition), Antony & The Johnsons (iTunes)
  17. ^ Steffen Hung (8 October 2010). "Antony and the Johnsons – Swanlights". norwegiancharts.com. Retrieved 11 March 2012.
  18. ^ http://www.impalamusic.org/arc_static/docum/04-press/2009/PR%20-%2020110331.htm