Anglo For Your Ear: Antony and the Johnsons’ “Hope There’s Someone”

There are many songs out there that are incredibly moving, but personally, there are only two songs that reliably bring tears to my eyes. The first is Sarah Vaughan‘s version of the lullaby “Summertime,” with its verses:

One of these mornings
You’re going to rise up singing
Then you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky

But till that morning
There’s a’nothing can harm you
With daddy and mommy standing by

The second song would be “Hope There’s Someone,” a funeral lament written and sung with wrenching vulnerability by the England-born Antony Hegarty. It’s the bleak flipside to the comforting vision in “Summertime” of Mommy and Daddy as a child’s lifelong protectors. Hegarty’s lyrics are equally childlike, suggesting that we never lose that infantile need to be cradled and protected from danger, especially in the face of a lonely death:

Hope there’s someone
Who’ll take care of me
When I die, will I go

Hope there’s someone
Who’ll set my heart free
Nice to hold when I’m tired

You may recall that “Hope There’s Someone” featured prominently in the recent Torchwood episode, “Random Shoes,” which told the story of a young man watching the investigation of his death from beyond the grave. It was an inspired and poignant choice of song, and yes, I’ll admit I became a blubbering mess when I heard it. If there’s any justice in this world, “Hope There’s Someone” will, one day, be as much of a standard as “Summertime.”

Kevin Wicks

Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.

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