Rufus Wainwright - Classic or Dud?

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I like Rufus. Good songwriter, though I agree Shadows is god-awful. I'm a Van Dyke Parks fan, but I prefer Poses - better songs overall, I think.

roger adultery (roger adultery), Saturday, 8 March 2003 08:37 (11 years ago) Permalink

Oh, I like Rufus a lot.

He writes great songs, he uses great arrangements, he gets the best production money can buy (Alex Gifford Poses PropellorheadZ production surprise!). Live he is a treat, a true drama princess in the best old-school mold. If only he could sing like Freddy Mercury he would be godlike, but perhaps that is the beauty mark.

felicity (felicity), Saturday, 8 March 2003 17:15 (11 years ago) Permalink

Bitchily asking the air-hockey players to stop for the duration of his set at First Avenue = classic

"April Fool" = classic

his voice = classic

I think he should be leading the Strokes.

Pete Scholtes, Saturday, 8 March 2003 17:49 (11 years ago) Permalink

classic classic classic. I like him better than almost anybody working. Rampant emotionalism with the chops to back it up will get me every time. The hooks are better on the first album but it's true that the all-up-in-yer-face of the vox there began to grate after a while; four of its songs might have made the greatest EP of all time. I suspect the fourth album will be the one that stops time, raises the dead, etc.

J0hn Darn1elle (J0hn Darn1elle), Saturday, 8 March 2003 17:58 (11 years ago) Permalink

He has a really nice mom.

Amateurist (amateurist), Saturday, 8 March 2003 18:01 (11 years ago) Permalink

I think he's terrific, just thoroughly great. Two notes:

(a) He's been to an ILX FAP! Okay, not really. But last February, when Ned and I were in New York, we were walking from one bar to another in the early evening and I very nearly bumped into Rufus. No one else really noticed: a few steps later I said "hey, everyone, that was Rufus Wainwright just then!" and then Ned threatened to go back and beat him up, which slightly lowered my opinion of Ned (sorry Ned but he's just wonderful!).

(b) Is it just me or are people starting to sing like him now? That Walkmen single features some Rufus-izing (in the phrasing and voice modulation) that's pretty out of proportion to a lot of the rest of the album, and I heard something at a cafe the other day that was trying on Rufus's vocal clothes for size.

nabisco (nabisco), Saturday, 8 March 2003 21:23 (11 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...
I'm really looking forward to the new album!

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 9 May 2003 10:35 (11 years ago) Permalink

Ooh! I was lucky enough to be in the company of friends who dragged me back to White Stripes' dressing room after their show a few weeks back and who should turn up like a stage door Johnny but Rufus, who was alone or had left his VIP-pass-less friends. I'd interviewed him once and so friend and I approached, and he told us nobody would ferry him backstage. So we clued in the WS minder (appealingly clad in zoot suitage) and led him back to help us with our evening of debauchery.

He has been recording here in London, but I forgot to ask him where or with who. And he was a very engaging interviewee. ALL cute gay boys I know claim him as one of their own.

suzy (suzy), Friday, 9 May 2003 10:48 (11 years ago) Permalink

Yes, he has been recording in London - article in The Independent. The alnum may or may not have 29(!) songs.

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 9 May 2003 10:51 (11 years ago) Permalink

alnum=album

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Friday, 9 May 2003 10:51 (11 years ago) Permalink

ha! second everything Mr. Scholtes said a month ago. Midsong: "okay I'm sorry but what is that fucking clicking sound? Does everyone hear that?"

I'm a sucker for his kind of thing.

g--ff c-nn-n (gcannon), Friday, 9 May 2003 13:47 (11 years ago) Permalink

(a) He's been to an ILX FAP! Okay, not really. But last February, when Ned and I were in New York, we were walking from one bar to another in the early evening and I very nearly bumped into Rufus. No one else really noticed: a few steps later I said "hey, everyone, that was Rufus Wainwright just then!" and then Ned threatened to go back and beat him up, which slightly lowered my opinion of Ned (sorry Ned but he's just wonderful!).

My opinion remains unchanged. ;-)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 9 May 2003 14:31 (11 years ago) Permalink

I eat him up like chocolate pudding

James Blount (James Blount), Saturday, 10 May 2003 07:28 (11 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, he's really great. Really really. "Poses" is one of those albums that puts me somewhere specific -- February 2002, and I just moved in with my girlfriend. It's cold outside, so we don't get out of bed much.

And I love the line about being "drunk and wearing flip-flops on 5th avenue." Is that rock-bottom or just a charming little low?

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Saturday, 10 May 2003 07:36 (11 years ago) Permalink

I liked the first album a lot, but the second did nothing for me -- it was just a big NPR ego-stroke.

Jody Beth Rosen (Jody Beth Rosen), Saturday, 10 May 2003 14:03 (11 years ago) Permalink

I agree that the first album is just classic, but...you don't even like "Rebel Prince"??

Nordicskillz (Nordicskillz), Saturday, 10 May 2003 14:06 (11 years ago) Permalink

1st album is classic, but the only track on the last one i enjoyed was cigarettes and chocolate.

and about the ny citing - does he live there now¿ i thought he was a montreal boy still.

dyson (dyson), Saturday, 10 May 2003 14:34 (11 years ago) Permalink

he sucks

chaki (chaki), Saturday, 10 May 2003 22:51 (11 years ago) Permalink

I loff him. The hate is too strong in here. Must go outside. He killed live, tho' his inter-song banter was cringey.

SFJ (SFJ), Saturday, 10 May 2003 23:13 (11 years ago) Permalink

Live the band?

Dan Perry (Dan Perry), Sunday, 11 May 2003 00:33 (11 years ago) Permalink

That would be a beautiful dream.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 11 May 2003 00:56 (11 years ago) Permalink

I listened to Poses tonight. I have to comment about "Shadows" sounding like a kd lang song; while I can sort of see that in the chorus, kd lang cool as she might be, would never sing the kind of melody the verses have.

Sean (Sean), Sunday, 11 May 2003 03:26 (11 years ago) Permalink

Mark Eitzel minus Nick Cave plus Liza Minelli divided by Jim Carrey = Rufus Wainwright.

Daniel (dancity), Tuesday, 13 May 2003 23:27 (11 years ago) Permalink

PS What a cracking gig tonight. Such charm!

Daniel (dancity), Tuesday, 13 May 2003 23:27 (11 years ago) Permalink

Wasn't it fantastic? I've always thought a lot of the genius of 'Poses' lay in the arrangements, but I was so very, very wrong (although glad he didn't play 'Rebel Prince', because I don't think that would have worked). And, oh, the man takes shameless audience manipulation to new heights.

cis (cis), Tuesday, 13 May 2003 23:46 (11 years ago) Permalink

I'm now tempted to talk about the good ol' days in Mtl. but I won't

slutsky (slutsky), Wednesday, 14 May 2003 00:02 (11 years ago) Permalink

"Dave Douglas does a wonderful version of 'Poses' on his alb 'The Infinite' "

Agreed, absolutely gorgeous.

ArfArf, Wednesday, 14 May 2003 08:14 (11 years ago) Permalink

cis, on the subject of audience manipulation, I liked his asides and his gentle pricking of the seriousness of melancholy music. I thought he just about got the balance right. There were one or two occasions when I thought, Give it a bit of reverence, don't just take the piss every time, please.

Daniel (dancity), Wednesday, 14 May 2003 08:59 (11 years ago) Permalink

He definitely prevented it from being the po-faced, MTV Unplugged kind of concert it really could have been (the adoring audience, the cushions on the floor...).

cis (cis), Wednesday, 14 May 2003 22:39 (11 years ago) Permalink

4 months pass...
So Want One is out, what's the ILM verdict?

scott m (mcd), Thursday, 25 September 2003 14:42 (11 years ago) Permalink

I was disappointed but I'll give it another shot.

cinniblount (James Blount), Thursday, 25 September 2003 14:47 (11 years ago) Permalink

funniest album cover of the year -- haven't listened to it yet.

chris herrington (chris herrington), Thursday, 25 September 2003 15:48 (11 years ago) Permalink

is it on soulseek yet ?

piscesboy, Thursday, 25 September 2003 16:19 (11 years ago) Permalink

It sounds nice on first listen. The girl in Mod Lang practically forced me to buy it.

adaml (adaml), Saturday, 27 September 2003 00:14 (11 years ago) Permalink

3 months pass...
I've finally figured out why I don't like him all the more clearly, based on the two random encounters with his recent album in record stores lately. He sounds like Thom Yorke but all wrong with suck arrangements (and anyone who does like him who doesn't like Yorke's voice, I MOCK THEE). I'd rather listen to Chris Martin, for crying out loud! DEATH DEATH DEATH. There, vented for now.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 03:18 (10 years ago) Permalink

Live, his voice fills an opera house, but on record, he likes to bury it. So frustrated was producer Alex Gifford with this strange insistence of his, he swore never to work with him again after Poses.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 03:55 (10 years ago) Permalink

I cannot get into Want One. Maybe that's because my hatred of Thom Yorke won't allow my unconscious to enjoy it?

@d@ml (nordicskilla), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 04:40 (10 years ago) Permalink

Or maybe it's the way that first track bites fucking "Bolero." Sheesh. What a drama queen.

Kenan Hebert (kenan), Wednesday, 7 January 2004 04:45 (10 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...
UK people, there is a documentary on Channel 4 about him right now. Sting is singing his praises, and so is the guy from Keane, which wouldn't encourage me to investigate further.

ailsa (ailsa), Sunday, 13 March 2005 00:00 (9 years ago) Permalink

Marc Almond and Siouxsie love him, though. This makes me despair. They could be loving Romanthony instead or something.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Sunday, 13 March 2005 00:07 (9 years ago) Permalink

"Want One" was terrible. The more he expresses himself, the more boring he becomes.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Sunday, 13 March 2005 00:26 (9 years ago) Permalink

want one and want two would've made one pretty good short album between 'em. among other things, he could really really use a lyricist. but poses is so drop-dead beautiful, and he's so incredibly endearing in concert that i'm willing to forgive these faults and more.

fact checking cuz (fcc), Sunday, 13 March 2005 00:33 (9 years ago) Permalink

Eh... he has some great songs ("Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk," "California," "Oh What a World," his rendition of "Across the Universe," "Gay Messiah" and a few more), so I wouldn't say he's a dud, but he sure isn't classic either. Maybe with a few more albums.

The Brainwasher (Twilight), Sunday, 13 March 2005 01:18 (9 years ago) Permalink

I kept wondering what he'd done to deserve a whole show dedicated to him. Because... he didn't seem very good.

Suedey (John Cei Douglas), Sunday, 13 March 2005 01:27 (9 years ago) Permalink

I used to think he was a dud. Mainly cos he was recommended to me by a friend who usually likes lots of depressed singer/songwriters. But having heard Want Two, I really like what he's doing.

I saw the documentary tonight, and I really liked his whole self deprecating sense of humour.

And why are there so many (well two) attractive gay musicians?

jellybean at home, Sunday, 13 March 2005 01:47 (9 years ago) Permalink

I only really like the song "California."

edd s hurt (ddduncan), Sunday, 13 March 2005 01:55 (9 years ago) Permalink

I saw him live around the time that the first album came out, then got around to picking it up a few months later and it's one of my favorite albums. never got around to checking out any of the other albums, though. not sure about the Want ones but I saw him live again around the time of Poses and those songs sounded good too.

Al (sitcom), Sunday, 13 March 2005 02:00 (9 years ago) Permalink

more than anything, i love the title song from poses, which is the song that singlehandedly turned me into a fan: the resignation in his voice as he sings about wearing flip-flips on fifth avenue ... the way he makes "avenue" fit into the meter when by all rights it shouldn't ... the subtle way the chorus creeps on you before exploding into a nice big pop change ... the impossibly high note in the last repeat of the chorus ... so many other great moments in that one little pop song.

fact checking cuz (fcc), Sunday, 13 March 2005 02:06 (9 years ago) Permalink

I confess. I watched the doc just to see his mum.

And his sister. Rwor.

Masked Gazza, Sunday, 13 March 2005 02:10 (9 years ago) Permalink

Taking Sides: Rufus Wainwright's version of "Across the Universe" versus Fiona Apple's.

Josh in Chicago (Josh in Chicago), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 13:46 (9 years ago) Permalink

i loved him on "wait wait don't tell me"!

afa the i can c (roxymuzak), Monday, 30 November 2009 06:18 (4 years ago) Permalink

2 months pass...

Ned's pumped, guys:

Rufus' New Album: Release Dates and Tracklisting Revealed
Feb 12, 2010

Rufus Wainwright's 6th studio release, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, has been set for release on March 23 in Canada, April 5 in the UK and April 20 in the US. To the left is a sneak peak at the album cover, and you'll find the complete track list below. Stay tuned for more details and your first taste of the album soon.

All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu tracklisting:

1. Who Are You New York?
2. Sad With What I Have
3. Martha
4. Give Me What I Want and Give It To Me Now!
5. True Loves
6. Sonnet 43
7. Sonnet 20
8. Sonnet 10
9. The Dream
10. What Would I Ever Do With A Rose?
11. Les Feux d'artifice t'appellent
12. Zebulon

I just wish he hadn't adopted the "ilxor" moniker (ilxor), Thursday, 18 February 2010 00:36 (4 years ago) Permalink

1 month passes...

Just him and the old Joanna all the way through, no other instrumentation at all. Surprising certainly.

piscesx, Sunday, 28 March 2010 01:45 (4 years ago) Permalink

1 year passes...

a *19* disc Rufus Wainwright box set you say? YOURS for $250!
http://www.rufuswainwright.com/Store/Product.aspx?id=SM001008
' a red velvet encased' box; you can probs buy some decent red velvet curtains for that price.

piscesx, Saturday, 28 May 2011 17:04 (3 years ago) Permalink

Right now I'm visiting Baltimore. Several years ago and the only other time I visited Baltimore, I bought Poses based on what I heard being played at the CD store I went to by the marina. It was well worth the money. I keep finding a couple goodies on each album since then but none of them have been as solid. $250 box set seems like a ridiculous idea (even though I know The Grateful Dead were able to rake in mega$$$ with their recent humongous box set).

Muttley vs. Mumbly (CaptainLorax), Saturday, 28 May 2011 19:41 (3 years ago) Permalink

hey Lorax, i didn't know you were in town, we should hang! which store was it, the Sound Garden?

some dude, Sunday, 29 May 2011 14:12 (3 years ago) Permalink

11 months pass...

New album. Anyone care? It may be my first Rufus purchase since 2003.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 14:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

Read a good review and reserved it at the library for a trial run. If great, will end up picking it up. Haven't heard anything since "April Fools", tbh.

the body of a spider... (scampering alpaca), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 14:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

i too am a lapsed fan who's only heard one of the albums since Poses. so far this suonds pretty good, though. am going to try to listen to his dad's new one too since they released albums a week apart.

some dude, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 14:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

Want One is still one of my fave ever albums by anyone but he's not done much i've liked since weirdly. i still love him tho.
looking forward to him in upbeat mode again, the last one was teh bleakness (understandably given the subject matter).

piscesx, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 15:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

I've listened to this once, it was better than I was expecting. He's really gone for that 70's pop sound and mostly pulled it off. The single is by far the worst thing on there.

I was a massive fan around Want One but I've just lost interest since then. Want Two was half brilliant (Art Teacher, Gay Messiah, Memphis Skyline) half rubbish (Old Whore's Diet, Little Sister) Release The Stars had one great song (Going to a Town) and a lot of songs that sounded like tired retreads of his earlier work. I can't remember a single thing about the last album. It's nice that he finally seems to have woken up.

Kitchen Person, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 15:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

it's interesting to me that he seems to have picked up a lot of fans mid-career since for me the first album was a front-to-back classic and it's just been a lot of hit and miss since then. this album sounds really good, though, yeah.

some dude, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 15:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

i'd pretty much agree with every word re his post Want One stuff there Kitchen Person. i'd like to forget Release The Stars ever happened and the less said about his embarrasing Glastonbury appearance the summer it came out the better. the last album had So Sad on it which is amazing i think but little else.

piscesx, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 15:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

I bought the first album a few months after its release, and while it meant a great deal – I was just coming out - quite a few songs are loaded with arrangements that Wainwright's voice wasn't up to singing. Poses was a huge improvement, and the MIami date on that tour was one of the best shows I've seen in ten years. Since only 60 people came we were shouting requests and he was shooting the shit with us.

Little since 2003 has moved me.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 16:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

the debut was audacious and heartfelt and overreaching just as a good debut should be. Poses has some great songs but i think maybe the pop stardom he was still somewhat plausibly aiming for that point take it in a slightly blander direction.

some dude, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 16:32 (2 years ago) Permalink

This radio session is good:
http://www.kcrw.com/music/programs/mb/mb041201rufus_wainwright

caro's johnson (Eazy), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 16:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

i just don't like his voice unfortunately. i'm working his concert next wk, wish i was excited.

surm, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 16:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

xxxp yeah i've seen him maybe half a dozen times and live at his peak (just post-Want One IMO) he was one of the best things i've ever seen. the Liverpool '04 gig was like a carnival, i've never seen a seated crowd go so crazy. i didn't know you *could* go that crazy sitting down, even he was shocked.

piscesx, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 16:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

the debut was audacious and heartfelt and overreaching just as a good debut should be.

oh yeah I agree - it's a classic B+ type debut.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 16:47 (2 years ago) Permalink

i saw him in the 9:30 Club opening for lol Sean Lennon right after the debut dropped, he was a pretty solid performer right off the bat. was a bit more drunk and full of himself when i saw him again circa Poses.

some dude, Tuesday, 1 May 2012 16:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

he was pretty hammered and god knows what else when I saw him. Oh! He also dedicated a song to "Neil and Chris." When we looked at the balcony there were Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, in town a few days early rehearsing for their concert the next week.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 17:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

he's a great live performer - holds my attention in a way he doesn't always on record.

almost every one of his albums has been just good enough, just interesting enough, containing just enough killer songs to keep my overall feelings about him positive, but all of them have suffered from stretches of...blahhhh, really. he always sounds like he wants to only dip his toe into songwriting. i do think want one is as close as he's come to a coherent statement album, though "cigarettes & chocolate milk" is my favourite song he's done.

new one sounds decent as they all do initially

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

My theory is he was pushed or pushed himself into recording an album before his songwriting chops had gelled. The boy had the connections (Waronker, Dreamworks, semi-famous dad).

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:21 (2 years ago) Permalink

pshhh musicians should learn on the job imo. the idea of woodshedding in private for some magical moment when you're "ready" is foreign to me.

Neil Young’s social media channels (some dude), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:24 (2 years ago) Permalink

that'd explain the first album being not quite there but not the 7 or 8 or however many it's been since!

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:28 (2 years ago) Permalink

i just don't think he's got a great sense of melody, and/or it's not something he particularly prioritises, and when he lands on one it's kind of almost as a joke

liberté, égalité, beyoncé (lex pretend), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

pshhh musicians should learn on the job imo. the idea of woodshedding in private for some magical moment when you're "ready" is foreign to me.

Never said this!

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:30 (2 years ago) Permalink

"not ready to record" /= "shouldn't have recorded it"

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

eh when you say premature "pushing" was involved it sounds negative. in any event imo his aesthetic and his sensibility as a lyricist and melodist were pretty well formed by '98 and there's not really that much of a difference between his stuff then and his stuff now, so i have no idea where you're even coming from.

Neil Young’s social media channels (some dude), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

Aesthetic – formed, craftsmanship – still had a way to go.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

song for song Poses is the stronger record, maybe the one least afflicted with what lex called stretches of...blahhhh

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 20:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sings with his mouth shut DUD

Morrissey & Clunes: The Severed Alliance (PaulTMA), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 21:48 (2 years ago) Permalink

I like his voice. He has songs in the key of me

I've noticed the stretches of blah. I liked "Little Sister" because it was stark contrast from a lot of blah, not that it's a favorite of mine. Poses is my favorite album by him

we gotta move these refrigerators (CaptainLorax), Tuesday, 1 May 2012 22:17 (2 years ago) Permalink

after three full listens I agree with the enthusiasm for the album. Keepers: ""Montauk," "Out of the Game," "Bitter Tears," "Jericho."

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Wednesday, 2 May 2012 12:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love this thing -- one of the year's best. Never thought I'd say it again about a Wainwright record.

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 5 May 2012 16:54 (2 years ago) Permalink

I love this as well, and playing it continuously.

I can't quite pin down what it reminds me of exactly, but it has a nostalgic feel that takes me back to the 70s.

Bob Six, Sunday, 6 May 2012 09:06 (2 years ago) Permalink

On first listen I was entirely underwhelmed. Much more soft rock than pop. And it's not the sort of soft rock that I find moving ('Art Teacher' was moving).

we gotta move these refrigerators (CaptainLorax), Sunday, 6 May 2012 14:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

I really like this new one and I haven't even been remotely excited for him since the Want One/Two days. I love the 70s AM rock touches, I think they work pretty well. Kinda wish he'd lay off the gospel backing choirs on some of these though.

heated debate over derpy hooves (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 8 May 2012 14:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

4 weeks pass...

huh, had no idea that Nels Cline plays on this album, i wonder what tracks.

shipl.de.al (some dude), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 13:42 (2 years ago) Permalink


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