Kristina Feliciano
January 31, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Starry cameos are generally the province of rap records, so it’s intriguing when a left-field artist like this avant-pop singer lassos boldfaced names like Lou Reed and Rufus Wainwright. Actually, the baroque Wainwright is a natural for Bird, a strings-garnished plunge into the depths of heart-break (and gender-bending). It could have been mawkish, but the sentiments on I Am a Bird Now — and Antony’s trembling falsetto — are so honest, you love it despite your jaded self. Hey, if it’s good enough for leathery Lou (who supplies a subdued spoken-word intro to the hornsaplenty soul number ”Fistful of Love”), who are we to argue?

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