Rufus Wainwright
Want Two
/geffen; 2004/

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When i was five years younger a girl gave me Rufus Wainwright's debut album, and it has been one my favourite records ever since. I listened to Want Two for the first time in my living-room-arranged-into-a-huge-bedroom with another girl and i liked that quite a bit. And now i'm sick. That'll teach me.

I had been disappointed by Poses and Want One, containing only pale outbursts of the talent shown in Rufus Wainwright. His debut album was all about grand arrangements and poignant stories, none of these elements were to be found in the two following records. Even Though Want Two is still not Rufus Wainwright's back to the top, it contains some of the finest songs he ever recorded. Unfortunately it also contains some of his worst.

To show you that i'm not a bitter old sick maid i'll start with the worst ones. "Gay Messiah" stands out as an impressively poor song. It starts well, low key with a soft guitar and then Rufus tells us how this gay messiah (hint hint) was baptised in cum. Echoed later by the tongue in cheek chorus "now the gay messiah is coming." I'm not shocked, i'm just disappointed. Another bad moment is the closer, "Old Whore's Diet," much more interesting as far as structure goes, it's very lively and theatral, but it doesn't work either, despite Antony's desperate efforts at breathing life into the song.

There are a couple of not really good not really bad tunes, like "Peach Tree," "Waiting for a Dream," "Memphis Skyline" or the opener "Agnus Dei" (sung in Latin!). And then there are lots of big crumbs left to eat.

"The One You Love" is an instant hit, it's really good. "Little Sister" is old fashioned chamber music complete with its dusty harpsichord (and Rufus, i really hate harpsichords). That's him at his most disarming, when he allows himself to jump of a cliff out of stubborness with an idea he WILL go through. "The Art Teacher" is a favourite of ours (me and the girl in the living-room-arranged-into-a-huge-bedroom) it's sad in its own innocent way (and i like the way Rufus keeps on keeping his innocence no matter how many drugs he does and how many men he "goes out with", somethings do last after all) and really moving in the end, it's a live recording, Rufus and a piano. MINIMALISM WORKS, PEOPLE. "Hometown Waltz" is another disarming piece, it is, as you may or may not have guessed, an old fashioned waltz. Then comes "This Love Affair" which is a downer, really sad, i walked a bit through town with this song in my ears the other day and it painted everything light grey and dark grey. It's bare too, despite a few strings softly underlining the complaint of the Rufus. "Crumb by Crumb" is nice, soft and laid back like a sunny afternoon spent fishing on a New Orleans lake.

We already knew that Rufus Wainwright didn't really belong in the pop scene, but Want Two makes this feeling much stronger. Most of these compositions scream for a stage filled with dancers and singers and actors. An an audience, too. Rufus will have to fight his inner demons and come up with a good storyline to make this happen and finally realize himself.

-Barbara H

/dec 1st 2004/