16 November 2013

16th November - Rufus Wainright's Want Two

Artist – Album: Rufus Wainwright – Want Two
Released: 16th November 2004
Sounds Like: Happy birthday Mum!

One of the many silly ideas that justified this stupid boy project to me was to see what albums matched to various friends and family’s birthdays. Because I’m anal and I like lists and things like that, it seemed important somehow to me. It still gives me great pleasure to know that The Smiths’ The Queen is Dead was released on the same day of the year that I was, that my girlfriend shares a birthday with fellow Sheffielders Arctic Monkeys’ Humbug, and that my Dad was born exactly 40 years to the day before Arcade Fire’s Funeral. Mum shares hers with Rufus Wainwright’s Want Two, an arrangement I feel that she’d be pretty happy with (if she cared) as she’s a big fan of the American-Canadian crooner.

That being said – even bearing in mind that newfound meaningless connection – I doubt Mum would name it amongst her very favourite albums because, in truth, few would: it is just too singular. The underlying theme of the Want duo of albums (Want One was released the previous year, and is similarly good) seems to be musical theatricality; a concept that works well on the likes of the bruised ‘This Love Affair’ and the classically baroque ‘Little Sister’ but less so on the bookending snore-a-thons ‘Agnus Dei’ and ‘Old Whore’s Diet’. More often than not, though, Wainwright manages to hit the sweet spot, with the pop-rock of ‘The One You Love’, the beautiful paino-led poem ‘The Art Teacher’ and the self-referential ‘Gay Messiah’ (not that he’s the titular messiah: “Rufus the Baptist, I be”) being particular highlights. Wainwright is a thoroughbred musician and he demonstrates his elastic versatility, his gift for song-writing and showcases his engaging voice throughout.

Along with Brian Wilson, Elton John, and his Dad, Rufus clearly betrays the influence of Jeff Buckley in his music, and the towering ‘Memphis Skyline’ is a heartfelt tribute to the tragic singer. Buckley, incidentally, would have turned 47 tomorrow and no doubt would be waiting with bated breath to find out which album I’ll be selecting then (ha!). Why not have a little search through my posting archive to find out what albums you share a birthday with?

Albumaday... rating: 8/10

1.       Agnus Dei – 5:45
2.       The One You Love – 3:44
3.       Peach Trees – 5:59
4.       Little Sister – 3:22
5.       The Art Teacher – 3:51
6.       Hometown Waltz – 2:33
7.       This Love Affair – 3:13
8.       Gay Messiah – 3:14
9.       Memphis Skyline – 4:51
10.   Waiting for a Dream – 4:14
11.   Crumb by Crumb – 4:13
12.   Old Whore’s Diet – 9:09  

Listen to ‘The Art Teacher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHu4qfKaruQ

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