Song of the Day #301: ‘Beautiful Child’ – Rufus Wainwright

wrightAnother of the Want One tunes that immediately grabbed me and refused to let go, ‘Beautiful Child’ is a hurricane of a song with so much going on at once that it threatens to spin off into oblivion almost every second it’s on. But somehow it tiptoes on that edge and manages to never fall off.

I suspect this song will make Amy want to slap him. šŸ™‚

Wainwright has described this as a “happy apocalyptic” song and I think that’s just about exactly right. It deals with the end of a life, the end of religion, the end of the world… but in terms of rebirth and enlightenment. It’s simultaneously disdainful of organized religion and deeply religious itself.

Of all the songs I’ve researched for this theme week, ‘Beautiful Child’ is the one that seems to have the most ecstatic and positive response from listeners. I’ve read comments along the lines of “I hate Rufus Wainwright but I LOVE this song!” Which is interesting, because this song strikes me as prototypical over-the-top Rufus… I would suspect people who love him will really love this, but people who don’t will really not. Maybe I’m missing something.

When I am older than these small god-damned hills
And there’s no reason for my mind to be still

Oh, how I’ll feel like a beautiful child again
Such a beautiful child again

When I have finally found my room filled with toys
Be banging on my crib, excited by noise

Oh how I’ll feel like a beautiful child
Such a beautiful child again

And when there’s nothing to gain
Or bring me pain or pin the blame
On you or myself

And when they finally fall
These wailing walls and burdened crosses
God’s twilight and all

How I’ll feel like a beautiful child
Such a beautiful child again

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #301: ‘Beautiful Child’ – Rufus Wainwright

  1. Amy says:

    I don’t know that this song particularly makes me want to slap dear Rufus, but I do have a question:

    – Why on earth is this song prompting an automatically generated related post called “What’s Your Favorite Makeout Music?”

    Somehow the thought of “making out” to a happy apocalyptic song, not to mention anything by Rufus, seems wrong on myriad levels. Just saying.

    Anyway, as for the song itself, I can see why it grabbed you on first listen. It’s lush in the best sense. Big sound. Soaring vocals. I like it on first listen. So šŸ˜›

  2. Clay says:

    That’s an excellent question, and a scan of the makeout article doesn’t provide any answers. Nothing about Rufus there, nor any of the other key words in this post. Odd.

  3. Clay says:

    Funny… one of the comments on the YouTube video:

    “Damn, I’m not gay, but if I was, this’d be the guy.”

  4. Dana says:

    Very good song. And I don’t see your point at all as to this being the typical type of song for which someone would hate Rufus. The Rufus that I don’t care for, and I believe Amy dislikes and Alex likely despises, is the long drawn out whiny torch song style singing. That doesn’t really exist at all in this song, which enjoys an interesting and intense rhythm and lush full music to accompany Rufus’ voice.

  5. Clay says:

    I guess I expect a lot of noise and bombast to be irritating to people who already aren’t fond of his voice. I suppose you’re saying it’s the opposite… when it’s pretty much the voice alone, that’s when you’re more likely to dislike it.

  6. Amy says:

    Yup. That’s right. I don’t like “noise,” but interesting rhythms and lush full music I like just fine. “Long drawn out whiny” – not so much.

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