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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Rufus Wainwright
Want One
Dreamworks Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
In rock music it's a fine line between being theatrical and being over the top. There are those who can pull it off, but its rare. When I hear the words theatrical, operatic and rock in the same sentence I instinctively cringe, instantly I conjure up images of Meatloaf or worse Liberace, unsavory to say the least.

Yeah, so it's with a bit of trepidation that you approach anything so unselfconsciously theatrical as Rufus Wainwright's Want One. But fear not for a few listens to "Oh What A World" will calm any listener and convert even the most cautious. It's a difficult line to walk but Wainwright manages to be theatrical without being over the top, he delivers his songs with flamboyance that kept in check by amazing lush arrangements.

Wainwright's charm is not only in his Broadwayesque mini-epics, but also his lyrics. Whether it be casually referencing the coming phenomenon of Metrosexuals ("Oh What a World") or giving an unintended tribute to the late John Ritter of Three's Company ("I Don't know What it is"), he manages to impress with every phrase. On "Vibrate" he deftly shows off his voice by stretching said word and holding the note an impossibly long period of time.

However, for all the showing off, and orchestral sounds, Wainwright's first goal is to make a decent pop record. This means that the entirety of the album is memorable, catchy, and enjoyable. It's the type of album you could play for your mother, or even the folks at the seniors home. Wainwright's style is such that he is not bound by genre or musical time periods. This calls to mind very much the era of the big band, Sinatra, and the chamber pop of Burt Bacharach.

Since Wainwright does not play by the rules, or refuses to change his style to fit any sort of radio format, that all but assures that this record will not be a mainstream smash. It's just the way it is, Want is an album that will most likely be fawned over on many critics "best of" lists, meanwhile remaining unheard by the public at large.

It's a shame to, because Wainwright's got the goods, and covers quite a scope and range on Want One. There are emotional highs and lows nailed perfectly, whether it is the stunning, "Go or Go Ahead" or the ironic and subtle "Harvester of Hearts". Not really much else can be said except that Want One is executed beautifully and worthy of your attention.

Reviewed by Dan Williams
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.

See other reviews by Dan Williams

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