Monday, May 14, 2007

Rufus Wainwright - Release The Stars

See what I do for you? I sit listening to a new album with a notebook in front of me... here's EXACTLY what I wrote on first and second listens... I always dislike albums when I first listen to them if I'm concentrating on them too much, so I've been surfing the net as I listen. Just to let you know.

Do I Disappoint You?
1st: Bit uninspiring to start - builds to a great coda
2nd: Forget that, it's brilliant from start to finish, would happily sit on either Wants and hold its own. Builds in a Go or Go Ahead kinda way.

Going To A Town
(Heard it plenty of times, so no need for the 1st/2nd listen thing) Great flagship single, and a real grower. 'I'm going to a town that has alread been burned down/I'm going to a place that has already been disgraced' - a hundred times better than the stuff about America - beautiful. Runs out of ideas by about 2 mins 30 though.

1st: Completely passed me by
2nd: Aww it's pretty! I obviously wasn't listening properly - love the harp and ethereal backing vocals.

Nobody's Off The Hook
1st: Beautiful strings, but when are the upbeat songs gonna kick in?
2nd: Still agree with both points to be honest... the strings really are gorgeous though.

Between My Legs
1st: Upbeat! Woohoo!
2nd: One of those cheeky Rufus tunes that make you smile and jig about.

Rules and Regulations
1st: Pretty dull... 'interesting' combination of recorder and trumpet...!
2nd: Sounds better on second listen (I think there's a pattern here), nice to have a mid-tempo song. I thought this was the weakest song on the album, but it's really not.

I'm Not Ready For Love
1st: A slow song that I known I'll love but always dismiss on first listen
2nd: Very much in the style of Want (the track). Sounds rather like As The World Falls Down on the Labyrinth soundtrack at a couple of moments...!! The first song that hasn't improved on second listen, actually.

1st: Haven't I heard this song about twice already on this album? Ooh, good when all the instruments pile up and he starts letting rip. As always.
2nd: Yup that about sums it up.

1st: Starts with those rolling piano chords that instantly make you think of The Art Teacher. FUN! At last! Over far too quickly.
2nd: A kind of Vibrate for Release The Stars - funny, simple and too short.

Leaving for Paris No. 2
1st: Another slow one! Cheer up, Ru!
2nd: Nice to have a piano-and-voice one - a lot of the other slow ones are acoustic guitar based. Probably my least favourite track at this point, though.

1st: A discernable chorus and general structure! That's a nice change. Love the flutes!
2nd: This is so easy on the ear, that's really great. Still loving those flutes.

Release The Stars
1st: A Want One/14th Street/I Don't Know What It Is style big old bluesy show tune. Fantastic.
2nd: Fantastic indeed. Recognisably Rufus at his BIG best.


As you can tell, this isn't an album you can instantly warm to - Want One it ain't. The majority of it has the feel of Poses - a bit obscure, hard to get your head around - and as such you go straight for the ones that make you feel less thick, like Between My Legs and Release The Stars. In that way it really reminds me of Ben Folds' latest offering Songs For Silverman - mature, interesting, but you keep reaching for You To Thank because it could have been on any of his previous albums. But like Poses, and like Songs For Silverman, I've no doubt that these songs will sneak up on you, and that tracks I'm dismissing at the moment will become favourites. Rufus's genius deserves to be given a bit of time.

1 comment:

Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Wonderful review: shame I'm still waiting for my copy to arrive! Grr. Not even as if I can nip out at lunch to buy it being stuck here at the bloody university.