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 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.
Simon & Garfunkel were one of my first musical loves. I owned all of their albums on vinyl more than a decade after they broke up and was delighted by every poetic turn of phrase, every gorgeous harmony.
I was about to write something about thoroughly gay Rufus Wainwright’s decision was to recreate Judy Garland’s Carnegie Hall concert song for song. But the sentiment seemed familiar. And sure enough, two years ago another song from this album popped up on a Random Weekend and prompted that very sentiment.
In fact, I’m pleased enough with the little joke I told then that I am simply going to repeat it now:
Rufus Wainwright’s 2012 Out of the Game was a splendid return to art-pop form after a five-year span in which he released only an album of somber piano ballads.
The first time, I took advantage of the opportunity to land a pretty good joke, which I’ll paraphrase here:
“Buying this album is the gayest thing I’ve ever done. At least so far.”
Buying it is definitely the gayest thing I’ve ever done. At least so far.
I can’t say I’ve listened to this album very much (maybe once all the way through) but I applaud its fanboy spirit.