In January, Anohni – the artist formerly known as Antony of Antony and the Johnsons – became the first transgender performer ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.
The following month, she wrote a powerful open letter explaining her decision not to attend the Hollywood awards ceremony because, unlike more “commercially viable” Best Original Song nominees Sam Smith, Lady Gaga and The Weeknd, she had not been invited to sing on the night.
Anohni’s courage, conviction and strong sense of justice shine just as brightly on this remarkable debut solo album. Leaving behind Antony and the Johnsons’ somewhat sombre chamber pop sound, Hopelessness sees Anohni team up with hip producers Hudson Mohawke and Oneohtrix Point Never for what she calls “an electronic record with some sharp teeth”.
Over shimmering synths and crisp, R&B-inspired beats, Anohni rallies eloquently against climate change (4 Degrees), war crimes (Execution), government invasion of privacy (Watch Me) and her bitter disappointment in a once promising world leader (Obama).
There’s also a brutal account of post-break-up despair called I Don’t Love You Anymore on which Anohni’s soulful voice quivers with stinging sadness. By setting explicitly political lyrics to consistently fresh and inventive electro-pop, Anohni has made one of 2016’s most essential albums.
GT gives Hopelessness – 5/5
Hopelessness is available to purchase on iTunes now.