Hearing today’s random selection drift out of my headphones immediately put me back in 2004, when Rufus Wainwright’s Want Two was released. I remember lying on the floor of the same room where I’m writing this post now, lyric sheet in hand, taking in the newest release by one of my favorite artists.
Want Two was Wainwright’s fourth album, and the second part of the Want suite. Want One had quickly become one of my favorite albums and cemented Wainwright’s position in my personal pantheon. This album delivered on the promise of its predecessor while exploring new musical territory.
Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘After All‘ – Dar Williams (2000)
Eleven years ago, when I first wrote about this song on the blog, I couldn’t find it on YouTube so I had to upload my own version. That clip has received more than 125k views since. Not exactly ‘Gangnam Style,’ but pretty impressive for a rather obscure artist like Dar Williams.
On that clip, and on the other videos that eventually made it to YouTube, you’ll find many comments by listeners that this song quite literally saved their lives. I can only imagine how heartening that must be for Williams.
Today’s SOTD is the closing track on Rufus Wainwright’s 2007 live album Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. As this performance was a song-for-song recreation of Judy Garland’s original 1961 Judy at Carnegie Hall show, it was the final track for her as well.
‘Chicago,’ sometimes subtitled ‘That Toddlin’ Town’ is the less famous of two Chicago songs first popularized by Frank Sinatra. The other is, of course, ‘My Kind of Town.’
When I was at the height of my Rufus Wainwright mania, in the mid-2000s, my go-to answer for “favorite album ever” was Wainwright’s Want One. So it’s kind of a no-brainer as my #1 album of 2003.
Wainwright has released only two pop albums in the last 13 years, detouring into opera and piano instrumentals, so my devotion has waned. I couldn’t really get into the album he released this year, Unfollow the Rules.
This beautiful track is a highlight from Rufus Wainwright’s self-titled debut album, released way back in 1998.
‘Barcelona’ is a dark, moody song about fear and the desire to escape. The lyrics are informed by Wainwright’s rape at age 14 in a London Park during a time when HIV was at its peak. The line “don’t want my rings to fall off my fingers” refers to the weight loss associated with the disease.