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LITERATURE

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

MUSIC

 » 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
The first time I heard Rufus Wainwright, I was driving, the CD (Poses) was borrowed from a friend, I was driving home from school, I had no idea what I was in for. This huge, beautiful voice that put to any other, less dramatic, purposes might sound annoying. Layers of instrumentation, contrasted with simpler arrangements, impressed me as equally attractive. I must have listened to "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" on repeat for a week. Nothing summed up so well the feeling of only wanting what is bad for you, always doing the things that hurt the most - in order to fulfill your cravings.

Skip forward to now: like the rest of us, Rufus Wainwright undertook some serious reflection post 9/11, indulging less in those "little bit deadly" things. With Want One, he proves that this lack of indulgence hasn't weakened his game at all. Here are the familiar vocals, alternating between quavering and soaring, the lush instrumentations, the requisite choral backdrops. There is a tinge of a smirk at the world as well - the album's opener, "Oh What a World," seems to bemoan not only the metrosexual trend ("Men reading fashion magazines/…Straight men") but also the endless travel inherent in a musician's life; and while Wainwright concludes that "Life is beautiful," it is only after "Bolero" has made an appearance in the foreground. Yet the overall attitude is one of nervous anticipation.

It is the nervousness of Wainwright's pleasure in the world that makes his lyrics enjoyable. For its lyrical content, the track most likely to bring a sardonic twitch to your face is "Vibrate," the lament of an unphoned lover. Once again, the modern world is conspiring against romantics everywhere: "My phone's on vibrate for you/ god knows what all these new drugs do/… My phone's on vibrate for you/ but still I never ever feel from you." The title track asks the perennial question, "Will you settle for love?" In this world, it seems like the answer is, not yet. But while we're waiting, there is pretty music to be heard. "Beautiful Child" is a rich, celebratory piece, full of brass and a Broadwayesque swagger tinged with the redemptive choruses of gospel, and could easily have served as the album's closer, had the intention been to leave us all feeling like we'd been dunked in the Jordan. Wainwright does not end there, however, choosing to close with the darker "Dinner at Eight," which directly confronts uncomfortable father/son relations; Wainwright has indicated in interviews that the material on the sequel to Want One, Want Two is darker. Perhaps this is a taste.

Reviewed by Larissa Parson


See other reviews by Larissa Parson

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