This very personal and classically-influenced album followed five baroque pop albums and hinted at Wainwright’s future direction. Though he did release another pop album, Out of the Game, in 2012, he then shifted his focus to recording and releasing an opera, 2015’s Prima Donna.
Rufus Wainwright released his most straight-forward and personal album this year. Titled All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, it featured just vocals and piano on a series of ballads inspired by the illness of his mother (who died shortly before the album’s release).
It’s a touching and contemplative work, though it doesn’t represent what I love best about Wainwright. I’m drawn to his brash theatricality and the way he blends horns, strings, choirs, banjos, you name it, into his complex compositions. On this album he leaves his bag of tricks behind, which is effective in its own way but not as much fun.
I suppose that’s a funny statement to make about a guy who recently penned an opera in French, but it’s true.
Fault him for overestimating the public’s appetite for his brand of flamboyant pop cabaret but make no mistake… he writes hook-laden music for the masses and he’d be absolutely thrilled to land an album or a song high on the charts.