Song of the Day #5,226: ‘Gay Messiah’ – Rufus Wainwright

Continuing my look at 2004, first by counting down my own top ten albums of that year.

#4 – Rufus Wainwright – Want Two

Rufus Wainwright’s fourth album was the second part of a project introduced a year earlier with, appropriately, Want One. The first part is an all-timer for me, not just my favorite Wainwright album but possibly cracking my top ten albums by anybody.

Want Two can’t help but pale a bit in comparison, but only a bit. It’s a lush, yearning collection that takes even more chances than its predecessor.

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Song of the Day #5,126: ‘Peach Trees’ – Rufus Wainwright

Here’s a track from Rufus Wainwright’s 2004 album Want Two that, like so many of his best songs, overflows with romantic longing. ‘Peach Trees’ finds Wainwright on a lonely stroll through New York City, wishing to see a lover who is either absent or non-existent.

Looking back, I’m tempted to say the Want project — which consisted of two albums released a year apart — was the last great work Wainwright released. I need to revisit the three pop albums he put out over the next 16 years to remind myself how they stack up.

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Song of the Day #4,811: ‘Waiting for a Dream’ – Rufus Wainwright

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.

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Song of the Day #4,577: ‘After All (Live)’ – Dar Williams

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.

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Song of the Day #4,537: ‘Chicago (Live)’ – Rufus Wainwright

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.’

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