Song of the Day #3,974: ‘Greek Song’ – Rufus Wainwright

Rufus Wainwright seems to have lost interest in the pop music world after 2012’s Out of the Game (a prophetic title in hindsight). Since then he has written and recorded an opera and a collection of Shakespeare sonnets set to orchestral music. Not exactly Top 40 material.

I don’t begrudge Wainwright his musical path, but I miss the old stuff. From 1998 to 2007, Wainwright released five amazing albums that married his classical sensibilities with a real knack for pop songcraft.

One of the best was his sophomore album, Poses, my #3 album of 2001. This was the album that found him struggling with his newfound fame, and the meth addiction that came with it. It’s a record full of mournful, sometimes apocalyptic songs, refracted through the prism of Tin Pan Alley.

I don’t rank Poses as Wainwright’s best album (Want One gets that honor) but it is his most focused and elegant effort. I wish he’d record something like it again.

You who were born
With the sun above your shoulders
You turn me on
You turn me on
You have to know

You who were born
Where the sun she keeps her distance
You turn me on
You turn me on
But so does she

You who were born
There where beauty is existence
You turn me on
You turn me
Your body heals my soul

You who were born
Where you shiver and you shudder
You turn me on
The girl is gone
So come on let’s go

All the pearls of China
Fade astride a Volta
Don’t sew beelines to anybody’s hide
Save your poison for a lover
Who is on your side

One way is Rome
And the other way is Mecca
On either side
On either side of our motorbike

One way is home
And the other way is papa
On either side
On either side and prepared to strike

When I get back
I will dream in Barnes and Noble’s
Oh leave me here
Oh leave me where angels fear to tread

When I get back
I will bleed after my beating
Don’t leave me here
Don’t leave me here
I’m scared to death

All the pearls of China
Fade astride a Volta
Don’t sew beelines to anybody’s hide
Save your poison for a lover
Who is on your side

All the pearls of China
Fade astride a Volta
Don’t sew beelines to anybody’s hide
Save your poison for a lover
Who is on your side

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,974: ‘Greek Song’ – Rufus Wainwright

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I can’t believe he ever achieved enough commercial success or wealth to allow him to experiment for years with opera and sonnets. It’s not like he is Billy Joel!

  2. Clay says:

    I guess he has family money, though I don’t know if Loudon Wainwright ever achieved much commercial success or wealth, either.

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