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All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu

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Album Review

All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu finds singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright stripping back the operatic flourishes of his 2007 album Release the Stars to deliver a stark and deeply personal collection of songs. Where Stars often featured large backing ensemble arrangements, here Wainwright simply accompanies himself on piano, allowing the lyrics of these poetic, introspective songs and his voice to take the spotlight. Never one to shirk away from cerebral and conceptual artistic endeavors, Wainwright has adapted three Shakespeare sonnets here that work quite well as ruminative, classically impressionistic-style pieces. Elsewhere, tracks like "Who Are You New York" and "Sad with What I Have" feature Wainwright's longstanding knack for clever and ironic turns of phrase. Obviously, the memory of Wainwright's mother, Kate McGarrigle, who died in 2010 after an extended illness, hangs heavy throughout the album. It is clear that Wainwright wrote and recorded much of All Days Are Nights during her illness, and themes of loss, depression, and sadness permeate these songs. Wainwright addresses this directly in "Martha," a yearning plea to his sister, singer/songwriter Martha Wainwright, to whom he also dedicates the album. Wainwright sings, "Martha it's your brother calling. Time to go up north and see mother. Things are harder for her now and neither of us is really that much older than each other anymore." The song, as with most of of All Days Are Nights, is a bold, absolutely emotionally naked statement that still retains Wainwright's devastating talent for artful, universally compelling songcraft.

Biography

Born: 22 July 1973 in Rhinebeck, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A singer/songwriter whose lush, theatrical pop harked back to the traditions of Tin Pan Alley, cabaret, and even opera, Rufus Wainwright was born in 1973; the son of folk music luminaries Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, his parents divorced while he was a child, and he was raised by his mother in Montreal. Beginning his piano studies at age six, by 13 he was touring with his mother, aunt Anna, and his sister Martha in a group billed as the McGarrigle Sisters and Family; a year later, Wainwright...
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