Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rufus Wainwright - Want Two

Decade - 2000's

Label: Dreamworks
Producer - Marius De Vries/Rufus Wainwright
Country - USA

Tracklisting (* indicates best tracks)

1. Agnus Dei* Listen Listen
2. The One You Love** Listen Listen
3. Peach Trees Listen Listen
4. Little Sister Listen Listen
5. The Art Teacher* Listen Listen
6. Hometown Waltz Listen Listen
7. This Love AFfair Listen Listen
8. Gay Messiah Listen Listen
9. Memphis Skyline* Listen Listen
10. Waiting For A Dream Listen Listen
11. Crumb By Crumb Listen Listen
12. Old Whore's Diet

Rufus Wainwright - Want Two (2004)

Like Leonard Cohen, Rufus is another songwriter I have only listened to sporadically, never full albums. A shame I now think, because this is a pretty solid album with some nice, surprising highs.

Rufus is a 34 year old Canadian-American singer/songwriter who has been involved with music since he was a tiny tot. This is his latest album (another due out this year I think) out of his five solo LPs.

Lets start with his voice. I can understand why people wouldn't like it, because it has a rather harsh tone to it (and this accounts for his unemotional rendition of Hallelujah - in my opinion of course), but I really enjoyed it. His voice is expressive, uses vibrato quite traditionally but still has a far more emotionally believable edge than someone like Scott Walker. He tends to mutter sometimes but given that my favourite artist is Thom Yorke, I'm not going to quibble with that am I? After 12 tracks I was kind of hoping he'd vary his vocal style a bit more, but no. Maybe a tiny bit more vulnerability too, he always sounds kind of sardonic rather than sensitive even when he needs to be.

As for the songs, the album is a bit up and down. There are definite stand outs. The One You Love has a highly addictive melody and the frank, clever lyrics work well within the very radio friendly tune. The Art Teacher is typical of the dark, bitter sweet edge to the album, and his arrangement on Memphis Skyline (written about Jeff Buckley) is very effective, the last minute being the best 60 seconds on the album.

Some of the songs are just downright mediocre to me though - Peach Trees, Little Sister and Hometown Waltz. These tracks just seem to plod along.

Overall, strong album and I'm a sucker for his tendency to use strings and overdone arrangements.

Score - 8/10

Genre - Baroque Pop

Recommended - Yes


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