Thursday, September 6, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 11


Wainright's music as unusual as namesake

By Koroush Ghanean 
Daily Cougar Staff

With a name like Rufus Wainwright, your career options are rather limited -- you can be a character on Gilligan's Island, a British Parliament
member or a rock star. Well, maybe not a rock star per se, but a musician nonetheless.

Ken Schles/DreamWorks Records

Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainright's second release, Poses, takes listeners on a lengthy musical journey.

The son of famous folk singer Loudon Wainwright III (apparently odd names run in the family), Wainwright grew up in Canada and decided to
pursue a career in music at a young age.

This pursuit culminated in his first album, a self-titled CD that earned him a place in the hearts of critics for its stark lyrical poetry and excessive
musical arrangements.

That album came at a time where the music industry was (and still is) over run with pre-fabricated "sensations."

That resulted in a rather quasi-warm reception by the general public, even with Wainwright's "critics' favorite" status. At that time the general public
wasn't really ready for the singer-songwriter.

His newest release, Poses, comes at a time when the singer-songwriter is a more common feature on the pop charts. 

With acts such as David Gray climbing the charts and receiving recognition from fans all over, the market seems like it would be more amenable to a
musician like Wainwright, whose style is more original than anything that is played on the radio now.

Poses can best be described as eclectic.

The structure of some of the tunes on the album -- like "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" -- is akin to Broadway musicals in structure.

They sound like something you would expect Mary Poppins to sing, if Mary Poppins was in New York and baby-sitting some cynical pre-pubescent
booze hounds.

Wainwright's style of music varies so much throughout the CD that it is hard to tell if he is really serious about the things he tries.

The sense of humor is strong in his lyrics, which he sings in a "stream-of-consciousness" style only interrupted by his hooks, which range from
poignant to bizarre (anyone know what "Tadzio" is?). 

The songs on the album have a certain something to them that is really hard to put a finger on.

They don't seem to have simply been written, they seem to have been arranged.

None of the songs on the album are simple. This isn't a CD you can play along to at home with a guitar or a piano.

The songs are made purely to be listened to, and listened to intently.

This isn't a CD for a party, this isn't a CD to jam to nor is it a CD to really entertain others with. To really appreciate this album it must be listened to at
home, preferably alone while drinking a cappuccino.

There are a lot of people who will not like this album. It's strange because it's hard to describe.

Most people will never really hear anything off the album either, because the songs are not your general radio fare.

This CD is really made for people who like to take their time with music and are tired of listening to "boy bands" and "teen sensations."

Rufus Wainwright
***1/2 (out of five stars)

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