I guess I’m getting on in years

The special edition of ‘Release The Stars‘ by Rufus Wainwright arrived in today’s post. Another pre-order deliverd bang on time there then. However, the delay was forgotten once I’d chucked the bonus DVD into the player. Along with four live performances for some online broadcast, there’s a 22 minute interview with the incredibly camera-shy and self-deprecating Wainwright, in which he talks about each track on the album.
He’s bloody engaging is Rufus. The two concerts of his that I have attended have been joy from start to finish. His between song banter is sublime and his ability to spin a yarn and sculpture his words is second to none. Listening to him witter on about Brandon Flowers in a white suit and his favourite antique shop in Tulsa somehow provokeda more amenable attitude towards the new record. Prior to this insight I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely convinced by the new album. It seemed to lollop along with no great variety in pace or vocal styling, but once he’s sat there and listed the 27 classical composers he’s ripped off with the string arrangments, there’s suddenly plenty more to listen to.
Release The Stars‘ is certainly not an immediate record. Whereas ‘Poses‘ grabbed me and made me its gibbering gimp for a fortnight, this one takes a bit of work. But once the intricate melodies creep out from under the shadow of a certain man’s ego it all starts to make glorious sense. Everyone knows by now just how marvellous ‘Going To A Town‘ is, but there’s plenty more where that came from. As with the Wilco album, it’s worth checking out the DVD before you play the album through, so as to set the context and give you a clear idea of what you’re listening for. The previous four albums seems likely to get a dusting down over the course of the weekend, and if you’ve not got any Wainwright in your collection may I suggest you sort yourself out. ‘Poses‘ and ‘Want One‘ are the record to begin with – the former the most accessible overall album, and the latter containing one of my all time favourite songs in ‘I Don’t Know What It Is‘. Once you’ve learnt to love them, it’s ‘Want Two‘ and the debut, imaginitely titled, ‘Rufus Wainwright‘. Enjoy.

Here’s a clip from the Fillmore DVD that accompanied early copies of ‘Want Two’. It begins with a brief piece to camera, but then Rufus performs that afore-mentioned, ‘I Don’t Know What It Is‘.


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