Review Summary: Rufus Wainwright manages not only to make a decent follow-up to his debut album; he manages to make a brilliant follow-up.Rufus Wainwright
is the king of baroque pop, or "popera" as it may be referred to. This guy does not only possess one of the best singing voices in modern history, he is also a brilliant pianist and good guitarist. In addition to all that, he is a near genius composer, and incredibly talented writer.
With that being said - how good is this album, Poses
? Does he live up to the standards set by none other than himself on his debut album, which was received as an excellent album, by nearly all critics? Praised as "one of a kind", and "a true songwriting genius". Kind'a hard to live up to, eh?
So is he still "one of a kind", three years later? I'd say so. I'd say he's definitely one of a kind.
we get a more self-assured Rufus Wainwright. A more arrogant Rufus Wainwright. On this album his lyrics are as genuine and vulnerable as ever. It's incredible, really. How he can sum up all of his feelings, and furthermore give you a good laugh in doing so on a line like "I'm drunk and wearing flip-flops on Fifth Avenue
" on the title-track "Poses" is a question beyond answers I can give. And then there's arrogant lines like "Go ahead accuse me of just singing about places/with scrappy boys faces
" where he simply gives the critics the finger.
But lets not just swagger of his abilities to write awesome lyrics. Lets swagger a bit of his ability to write brilliant melodies. Because you'll find that this album has a broader sound, and yet a more mainstream-friendly sound. This is maybe most evident on tracks like "The Tower of Learning" and "Grey Gardens" where Rufus demands your full attention with his poisonous catchy alternative pop music, and the brilliant lyrics - namely about looking (for love?) and the 70s movie Grey Gardens.
This is maybe the most mainstream-appealing album that Rufus has released so far in his career (as of today - his latest release is Want Two
); but it's still Rufus Wainwright. This means a lot of weird compositions, that makes this wonderful artist unable to really fit in anywhere. It makes the whole "Rufus experience" a bit... unclassifiable. The song "Evil Angel" is the best example of Rufus's ability to stand out from the mainstream on this album. Consisting of at least two French horns, two bass guitars, an electric guitar, and what seems like hundreds of violas, violins and cellos accompanied by Rufus's stunning voice and backing vocals by Martha Wainwright
and Melissa auf der Maur
, to mention some.
This lovely mixture of alternative pop, rock, baroque pop/popera, acoustic pop and so forth makes this album a true listening pleasure. The lyrics makes this a very interesting listen as well. Rufus has an unique way of writing hauntingly beautiful lyrics as well as weird dark tales of doom.
And no matter if he writes weird songs, happy songs, sad songs, hopeful songs, etc. he manages to make them poisonous catchy and a very pleasant listening experience, that I'd recommend for everyone to check out. This is an album that is unlikely to let you down, no matter what music you're into.
FOR FANS OF
, Sufjan Stevens
, Ben Kweller
, Ben Folds
and Rufus's relatives Martha Wainwright and Loudon Wainwright III.