Rufus Wainwright - Classic or Dud?

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Neo-Tin Pan Alley Triumph or Fey Adult-Alternative Naive? You be the judge!

Jason, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I wanted to love him
I love fey neo tinpan alley ( see Stephen Merrit, Pulp, Momus etc)
He has family that knocks me over. (Kate and Anna McGarigle , Loudon Wainright III, Martha Wainright)
His lyrics contain all the right refreneces put cleverly
His interviews are hysterically funny and insightful .
But i don't. I really don't know why but i suspect it may be the production. BTW Jason, i love your email handle , are you in the cult of marcel as well .

anthony, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Classic. The thing I like about him is that he's much more flawed than the neo-fey people Anthony mentioned, he has a few lyrical clunkers and aimless moments that just add to the charm for me. I don't think he has much of an awareness of post-Tin Pan Alley pop, which is unique in a singer his age, but he *really really* wants to be a pop star. And on his own terms--he's such a little blabbermouth queen, so ridiculously narcissistic but goofy about it, he just makes me laugh. Can't think of anyone quite like him out there. Fran Drescher, maybe. Have you ever heard him laugh at his own jokes?

I definitely prefer the first album to the second one, love the Van Dyke Parks strings on "Foolish Love" and "Millbrook." Poses is good, but it has his first truly abysmal song, "Shadows". Sounds like the some awful K.D. Lang adult contemporary outtake. I heard he wrote it with the Propellerheads guy, let's blame him. I wonder how he'll pull off playing for arena size crowds at Wotapalava? Maybe they'll have him and the Magnetic Fields on a smaller stage.

I used to hate his voice, reminded me too much of Gordon Gano from the Violent Femmes, but now I love it. Maybe that's what's bugging you, Anthony.

And you like Martha Wainwright? I saw her about three years ago and didn't care for her much. It was rambling storytelling folk stuff without much focus, kind of Jewel-ish. But she was probably about nineteen. What's she like now?

Arthur, Monday, 2 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Martha Wainwright is alot like her mother.
This incredibly warm alto that sings acapella mostly but sometimes with an acoustic guitar
. The production is eqaully simple
really hard to describe , but nothing is better then a girl who has brains and a guitar.
As i said i just dont know why i don't like Rufus , its completly random . I will try that 12 times again.

anthony, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

The first time I was exposed to him was playing live, supporting Sloan in giant Canadian stadium with no ambience, just him and his piano and his fey singer-songwriter lounge act, and I fucking HATED him.

But then I got back to the UK, and a friend *made* me listen to a CD, and I was utterly charmed. There really was something magical, and warm, and lush to the arrangements, the melodies were jaunty and pretty, and the lyrics trod just the right balance between being "too clever by half" and being disarmingly charming.

So I gave him a second chance, and I was well rewarded

And he has great trousers.

masonic boom, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I like d him at first but I got sick of his voice and his elton john dopppleganger ways. Also I hate the way his first album is produced. Puch the vocals back into the mix! DOwn boy down! I like Van Dyke Parks' contributions. All in all I like his stuff but it tends to grate on me if I listen for too long. Has anyone heard his new album?

Mike Hanle y, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I think Rufus is well on his way to being Classic. 'Poses' took me a while to get into, but now the album and I are friends. I just hope he doesn't die before he writes a *great* album. But look what it did for dud Tim Buckley...

matthew, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I didn't think he was that self-destructive? Although his antics earn him a few write-ups in NYPost (mostly sensationalized), I didn't think him to be the comi-tragic Callas in his songs...

(To answer your previous question, Anthony - not a cult of marcel, but more of an absurdist junior league.)

Jason, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

It's a bit early to call him "classic", but he sure ain't a dud. I like his new one even better than the debut--not as tortured and melodramatic, which isn't to say its NOT melodramatic. I know there have been lots of printed reports of seeing Rufus drunk in public... I saw him recently in a bar in San Francisco, and he was trashed!

Sean, Tuesday, 3 July 2001 00:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Dave Douglas does a wonderful version of 'Poses' on his alb 'The Infinite' so I picked up the Wainright alb when I saw it ultra-cheap. Unfortunately after a cpl of listens the title track is the only one that really grabs me. Also, he slagged off Van Dyke Parks in an interview I once read, which seems a bit rich to me.

Andrew L (Andrew L), Saturday, 8 March 2003 08:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

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 (fourteen 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 (fourteen 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 (fourteen 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 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

He has a really nice mom.

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

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

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


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

I eat him up like chocolate pudding

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

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

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

he sucks

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

Live the band?

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

That would be a beautiful dream.

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

PS What a cracking gig tonight. Such charm!

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

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

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

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

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

is it on soulseek yet ?

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

three 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 (thirteen 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 (thirteen 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 (thirteen 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 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

one 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve 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 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I only really like the song "California."

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

I thought he was classic on his first two albums, but I hated Want One, and haven't been bothered to even listen to Want Two. His best song is "Instant Pleasure" which he foolishly put on the Big Daddy soundtrack and not on one of his albums.

Jonathan (Jonathan), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 14:07 (twelve years ago) Permalink

'My Phone's On Vibrate For You' is a truly horrific song. Sub-par Thom Yorke-isms all the way.

I'm prepared to give him another chance, as that's the only track I've heard (and instinctively recoiled from) thus far.

Goit MacLachlan, Tuesday, 15 March 2005 16:16 (twelve years ago) Permalink

One of the best shows I have ever seen was Rufus at the Fillmore touring Want One. Martha is lovely too and very sweet. I find all of his albums initially hard to get into but once they worm their way in, they become very dear and I find myself absentmindedly humming bits of songs during the day.

Michael White (Hereward), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 16:25 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Yes, he does kill live. But Rufus is a case study of someone who got major-label push and money before his songwriting caught up with his ambition. "Poses" is his best album and the s/t debut has marvelous songs, but oy! When he can't find a melody he'll croon around one, or rely on bathetic strings and as a crutch. "Want One" confirmed it.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 16:52 (twelve years ago) Permalink

'My Phone's On Vibrate For You' is a truly horrific song. Sub-par Thom Yorke-isms all the way.

"Vibrate" is so many leagues above anything Thom Yorke has put his name to! Even apart from that I don't see that they share any similarities at all, either lyrically or sonically.

The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 20:47 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Wonder if Rufus himself doesn't like "Want One". Saw him last month and there were almost NONE of the songs off that I would have thought would definitely get an airing - no "I Don't Know What It Is", "Movies Of Myself", "14th Street" or "Go Or Go Ahead" (my four favourite songs off that album) - so what was actually played off it was slightly outshone by the "Want Two" stuff, which I had theretofore not liked that much.

edward o (edwardo), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 20:58 (twelve years ago) Permalink

classic if only for the brilliant verse below from "The Gay Messiah":

What will happen instead
Someone will demand my head
And then I will kneel down
And give it to them

And I like his voice LOADS more than Thom Yorke, who I honestly have no time for. While I can understand someone saying they have similar timbre and texture, Rufus thankfully never sounds like a lamb bleating out of tune

rentboy (rentboy), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 21:34 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I love Rufus's voice myself, it's like melted chocolate, but I can also totally understand people who are frustrated with it: my classically-trained best friend has only just come round to him after years of antipathy, but phrases like "he doesn't open his MOUTH" and "aargh, NASAL" still roll forth from her every so often.

I kind of dread the next album: I think by now it's clear that Rufus thrives on attention, and this gives him more confidence to really indulge himself, so now his PR people are doing such stellar work fuck only knows what ideas he'll carry through next.

The Lex (The Lex), Tuesday, 15 March 2005 21:40 (twelve years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...
Blaaaahhh... YUK !
Start with a block minor chord on the piano... Am.

Melody: start on the 5th and descend predictably/diatonically..

Switch Chord to (predictable) Dm.

Melody : F EE DD AA B

Lyrics (from beat 1 of A minor chord) :

"All the times I tried to hide from,
everything I was denied..."

Remember to hold your breath, plug your nose
for the nasal whine and sing out of the corner
of your mouth.

Repulsively pathetic, boring, depressing, monotonous,
unoriginal and disgusting is Rufus.

-- Musicfan101 (mz...), March 1st, 2006.

the nasal bleating thing is annoying, someone so gaga over opera should pay attention to vocal technique

timmy tannin (pompous), Wednesday, 1 March 2006 03:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I just saw him schmoozing at the Whitney Biennial preview opening. He was wearing some rather pretentious robes, bottle green, and happened to be saying "He's a big fan of my dad" to someone as I passed. Nabisco was nearby, fussing over Daniel Johnston.

Momus (Momus), Wednesday, 1 March 2006 03:49 (eleven years ago) Permalink

The few songs that I love ("Grey Gardens", "Poses", "Danny Boy") I really love, but it's outweighed by a lot of "okay, I'm impressed by the songcraft qua craft, but it sounds like a homework assignment from Goffin and King."

Myke. (Myke Weiskopf), Wednesday, 1 March 2006 03:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 1 March 2006 06:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

six months pass...
I bought a RW disc in Chicago 'cause they were playing 'im at The Chicago Diner, in Boys' Town. They said he comes there to eat sometimes.

Shoes say, yeah, no hands clap your good bra. (goodbra), Thursday, 14 September 2006 04:41 (eleven years ago) Permalink

the nasal bleating thing is annoying, someone so gaga over opera should pay attention to vocal technique

spot on. it's all one long, mumbled note. I have no idea why his vocals are so admired.

he makes me want to forcibly expunge his sinus bees.

guanoman (mister the guanoman), Thursday, 14 September 2006 06:00 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Snarf indeed. I love his version of hallelujah.. I dont know if that makes me a very bad person, I think it might.

Rowlando for the kidz (Sam Rowlands), Thursday, 14 September 2006 11:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

i like his version of "he ain't heavy, he's my brother" over the hollies one.

wogan lenin (dog latin), Thursday, 14 September 2006 12:48 (eleven years ago) Permalink

he's a lucky whore

Vichitravirya XI (Vichitravirya XI), Thursday, 14 September 2006 12:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink

WANT ONE still album of the decade so far, for me.

pisces (piscesx), Thursday, 14 September 2006 13:34 (eleven years ago) Permalink

he's a lucky whore


Daniel_Rf (Daniel_Rf), Thursday, 14 September 2006 14:26 (eleven years ago) Permalink

c'mon Momus, you're in no position to tell people off for wearing "rather pretentious robes".

jed_ (jed), Thursday, 14 September 2006 14:31 (eleven years ago) Permalink


gentoo (gentoo), Thursday, 14 September 2006 16:08 (eleven years ago) Permalink


The Brainwasher (Twilight), Thursday, 14 September 2006 19:16 (eleven years ago) Permalink

That's weird -- I don't remember any robes on him at the Whitney, just some remarkable early-70s trousers. I even have Daniel Johnston's brother on tape saying "those are some pants he's wearing."

nabisco (nabisco), Thursday, 14 September 2006 20:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Like someone said upthread, Rufus should be classic - seems to have all the right elements in their right places - but there's too much I don't like. Love the extremes of "In a Graveyard" to "Oh What a World," but I find less to like in between. Could probably put together a 10 song mix I'd love (which would include a live "Little Sister," which should've remained as Rufus and his piano instead of the hokey Want Two version).

Jamesy (SuzyCreemcheese), Friday, 15 September 2006 01:05 (eleven years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

new record, still annoying

gershy, Sunday, 20 May 2007 23:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

Classic on songs written by other people (like "What Can I Do" off the Antony and the Johnsons record or "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise"), but I'm not a huge fan of his own songs (I haven't heard that much, though) might just be the production, though.

Tape Store, Monday, 21 May 2007 00:21 (ten years ago) Permalink

He's still a genius.

(Haven't picked up Release the Stars yet, plan on doing so soon)

The Brainwasher, Monday, 21 May 2007 00:35 (ten years ago) Permalink

I liked his first two records; now he's a certifiable menace. Has Neil Tennant exercised quality control on this one?

Alfred, Lord Sotosyn, Monday, 21 May 2007 00:36 (ten years ago) Permalink

Want One was great though! and Want Two was worth hearing despite the massive overreach. It's the debut I'm not into but I've only given it half a listen. He was great on Letterman last week. I don't know what he was going on about but he belted it out, whatever it was. In lederhosen.

tremendoid, Monday, 21 May 2007 01:36 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think, when he's on form, he's a fucking amazing melodicist (and a very good singer, obv.) and he's got just enough control alongside his camp to keep his arrangements just the right side of audacious (i.e. impressive rather than pompous).

I also think he hit an unarguable melodic peak circa Want One, and that Want Two was a serious step backwards, totally over-reaching. The new one gains some control back, definitely, and some of the arrangements are amazing, but there's nothing quite as melodically spectacular as the first four tracks on Want One. This is only off a couple of listens, though.

Expect to see choice phrases from this post in a Stylus review near you later this week...

Scik Mouthy, Monday, 21 May 2007 08:29 (ten years ago) Permalink

Perversely (of course) I think Want Two is his best work, certainly the record of his that I play most.

Not quite sure about the new one yet; veering perilously close to writing about His Privileged Life at times and while some of the bitching about previous/failed lovers is quite entertaining he cuts deepest on the America-as-lover-extended-metaphor ballads, e.g. "Leaving For Paris" and especially "Not Ready To Love" which is a quite stunning marriage of Fairport Convention and Art of Noise (both R Thompson and N Tennant making their influence felt). The one with Sian Phillips going mad at the end is also pretty fab.

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 21 May 2007 08:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

enjoyed but wasn't blown away by Judy at Carnegie Hall last year, though I'm certainly thrilled I got to go. haven't found my way into the new one yet; first half-listen sounds good.

Matos W.K., Monday, 21 May 2007 09:15 (ten years ago) Permalink

Richard Thompson vs the horn section on "Slideshow" = stunning. Things start tailing off for me after that, though. I think he overdoes the trick of starting relatively downbeat/unadorned/vulnerable, piling on the orchestral layers, and ending on a note of triumphal resolution, having turned so many musical corners that the end of each track bears scant relationship to its beginning. Don't get me wrong, it's a *great* trick - but it's also somewhat overplayed. I like the dissatified-nomad-in-exile qualities which "Going To A Town" sets up and "Tiergarten" develops, and I don't miss the more overtly campy playfulness which punctuated previous albums.

mike t-diva, Monday, 21 May 2007 09:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

It's as if he's trying to convince himself that he's happy.

Musically, though, Richard T is man of the match - I noticed those little Derek Bailey scribbles in "Slideshow"...

Marcello Carlin, Monday, 21 May 2007 09:32 (ten years ago) Permalink

Very interesting point. (All those bolted on Garland-esque triumphal flourishes - do we necessarily believe them, even if RW might want us to?)

...and, yeah, big love for Want Two, which marked the point where it all came together for me and RW. (I admired Want One, but I *adored* Want Two.)

mike t-diva, Monday, 21 May 2007 09:34 (ten years ago) Permalink

wait, richard thompson plays on this?

derrrick, Monday, 21 May 2007 09:36 (ten years ago) Permalink

He should do a Randy Newman and just farm his songs out to someone who can actually sing.

Billy Dods, Monday, 21 May 2007 09:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

Classic moment at Electric Picnic last year:

"I tried to dance, To Britney Spears/ I guess I'm gettin' on in years But I still look pretty good huh?!! HAHAHAH!"

He's got a fantastic voice.

I know, right?, Monday, 21 May 2007 09:45 (ten years ago) Permalink

No, it's terrible, and ruins some excellent songwriting, but I don't think this discussion is going to go very far.

Billy Dods, Monday, 21 May 2007 10:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

i hate his voice so much it makes me want to scratch my skin off


Name: Rufus Wainwright
Age: 35
Neighborhood: Chelsea
Occupation: Singer-songwriter, performing tomorrow evening at the McGarrigle Christmas Hour at Carnegie Hall.

Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
-Some gorgeous woman I once saw hailing a cab while walking out of her apartment on Fifth Avenue facing the park.

What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
-I’m not saying this to be nice: my boyfriend’s Wiener … schnitzel. [Ed. note: He loves this joke.]

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
-Presently I’m orchestrating an opera, which means that basically every day is a board meeting with the dead. I do most of the talking, of course, still, I pay serious attention to notes.

Would you still live here on a $35,000 salary?
-No way; this city is for the rich. Mind you, things could change very soon.

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
-August: Osage County — Estelle Parsons is a living legend.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
-Yes, and always to someone singing or playing music. That could be me one day!

What's your drink?
-Tap water.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
-I can’t prepare my way out of a paper bag.

What's your favorite medication?
-Clorox bleach, good for foot fungus. I’m a real blast, trust me!

What's hanging above your sofa?
-A Robert Wilson painting.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
-A life.

When's bedtime?
-Usually after The Rachel Maddow Show or, if I’m adventurous, Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, which ends at 2 a.m.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
-Every day I pine for the old Times Square, and I just got a tiny whiff of it in the late eighties. It must have been amazing.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
-He should make friends with some decent architects.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
-All those insane apartments going up everywhere that look like they should be in Toronto.

Who is your mortal enemy?
-The Bravo Network. Bar-lowerer extraordinaire. And what an ironic name!!

When's the last time you drove a car?
-Last weekend. I tend to "weekend."

Who should be the next president?
-First things first.

Times, Post, or Daily News?
-Times, but I only look at the pictures.

Where do you go to be alone?
-My piano bench.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
-Everyone in the world is a New Yorker!

Surmounter, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 22:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

i'm not really sure why i'm reacting this way to rufus today but there it is.

Surmounter, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 22:46 (eight years ago) Permalink

I rebought Lewis Furey's second album - 'the Humours of...' - over the weekend to replace an unreturned loan; everyone should hear that and the even better S/T debut - Rufus certainly has, but he's like Jeff to his Lewis' Tim

sonofstan, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:19 (eight years ago) Permalink

Estelle Parsons is in August: Osage County?!?!

jaymc, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:21 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh wait, I was thinking Estelle Harris, haha. Estelle Parsons is a good choice.

jaymc, Tuesday, 9 December 2008 23:23 (eight years ago) Permalink

i was thinking of estelle getty

rox qua rox (roxymuzak), Tuesday, 16 December 2008 03:55 (eight years ago) Permalink

i hate his voice so much it makes me want to scratch my skin off

Yes, I have this exact same reaction.

And to say something nice about him: once walked past him in a street in Glasgow and he was quite handsome.

what U cry 4 (jim), Tuesday, 16 December 2008 04:00 (eight years ago) Permalink

he really must hang out on streets a lot

rox qua rox (roxymuzak), Tuesday, 16 December 2008 04:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

Oh, Rufus, dear Rufus, the one who got away! I was 20 minutes away from interviewing him over the summer, before getting pulled into a meeting and having to hand my questions over to someone else. It still hurts.

mike t-diva, Tuesday, 16 December 2008 10:42 (eight years ago) Permalink

i thought until just now that "california" said "i fell for a straight girl"


rox qua rox (roxymuzak), Wednesday, 17 December 2008 02:07 (eight years ago) Permalink

Ivy Nichols has been sculpting for over 15 years and is one of the most prolific sculptors in the United States today. She has worked on literally hundreds of sculptures including both one off commissions for individuals and pieces intended for the retail market. She was the lead model maker for a line of reproductions of the stone products that were originally designed by noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Ivy has also been commissioned to create large public sculptures for public institutions and resort destinations.

buzza, Sunday, 28 December 2008 02:48 (eight years ago) Permalink

I have a collection of busts. A Wainwright bust would be especially hawsworthy amongst these.

rox qua rox (roxymuzak), Sunday, 28 December 2008 02:48 (eight years ago) Permalink


buzza, Sunday, 28 December 2008 02:49 (eight years ago) Permalink


rox qua rox (roxymuzak), Sunday, 28 December 2008 02:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

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

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

two 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 (seven years ago) Permalink

one 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 (seven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

a *19* disc Rufus Wainwright box set you say? YOURS for $250!
' a red velvet encased' box; you can probs buy some decent red velvet curtains for that price.

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

eleven 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five 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 (five years ago) Permalink

This radio session is good:

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

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

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

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

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

Sings with his mouth shut DUD

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

four weeks pass...

huh, had no idea that Nels Cline plays on this album, i wonder what tracks. (some dude), Wednesday, 6 June 2012 13:42 (five years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

to have been a fly on the studio wall when rufus recorded william shatner reading sonnet 129

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 24 April 2016 17:10 (one year ago) Permalink

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