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Release the Stars

Rufus Wainwright

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

It’s not easy to think of another contemporary pop artist who uses lush, orchestral arrangements (in this case, he employs the London Session Orchestra) and the essence of cabaret as extravagantly as does Rufus Wainwright. Release the Stars continues his foray into cross-breeding musical genres, with great success. There is plenty of drama throughout (starting with “Do I Disappoint You,” swelling with strings, flutes and horns, and ending with a skull-smashing), but a stinging dose of humor is smartly woven into the mix: the epic “Slideshow” has our narrator wondering if it’s really love, or perhaps the medication? In “Tulsa,” we are privy to a not entirely successful romantic encounter in Oklahoma, with the disclaimer, “This is just a reminder / of the antiques shop I want to go back to and visit when it’s open,” hurriedly sung at the end with perfect comedic timing, as if meant to clarify the song’s intent. Wainwright gets serious, too, alluding both to war and to religious extremism in the anti-American “Going to a Town” (“do you really think you go to hell for having loved?”). On the stark, piano-driven “Leaving for Paris No. 2,” you can almost see the French countryside whizzing by outside the rain-streaked train window, with the camera pulling back to reveal one beautifully shaved and moisturized cheek, marred by a single tear track.

Customer Reviews

amazing

People have already talked about how Rufus' music evokes synesthaesia, and this album just adds to the rest. I don't think that "Release the Stars" is exactly like Want One and Want Two, as it is not about his come-down from crystal meth (from what I can tell, although I wouldn't want to assume anything about his life). This album to me sounds like a broadway musical soundtrack in some ways, even more camp then the other albums (if that's even possible). I love it, and can't wait unitl he writes that opera of his. My favorite song is "Release the Stars," which can be laid over "14th Street." It's easy to get lost in his melodies and forget that he is also such an amazing lyricist. "Remember that without them there would be no Paramount No paramount need to hold on to what isn't yours Release the stars" Genius. Pure genius.

No Continuity

This album is all over the place. It not only lacks a clear vision but it feels like a collection of reject songs. I support eclecticism that we've all come to expect from Rufus, but with this album he's lost any sense of focus. The songwriting in it's best moments is amateurish and cheeky. Melodies are watered-down replays of earlier more exciting and innovative tunes. The production is overblown and chaotic. More importantly, this album lacks the soul searching pain of the previous Want albums. Sorry, Rufus. Having said all that, I was sitting in a dive at 3 am on the Lower East Side and "Going to a Town" came on the radio. I was shattered by it. One of the better protest songs in recent memory.

Vegas meets the Opera House

Rufus, I'm glad to say, makes music on his own terms. I'm older than the majority of his fan base by far, but every time I hear more of him I go along for the ride and it's worth it. I applaud that he indulges his whims, and this album touches on all of the previous avenues he's ventured down and finds a few new ones, too. Releasing 'Going to a Town' as his first single is ballsy, opening with 'Do I Disappoint You' is majestic (and probably the most musically mature cut on the whole album), and the eclectic nature of the album will satisfy fans. Rufus still has the occasional problem with endings (Going to a Town, especially) but that's easily overlooked when the songs themselves are so rich. This album in particular seems to mine his more flamboyant, brassy, showbiz side, hinting at times at Vegas Review-style or even the Brat Pack (Sanssouci, Release the Stars), balanced by folksiness, tenderness (Slideshow), pointed bitterness (Going to a Town), and beautiful pop craftmanship (Tiergarten, Nobody's Off the Hook). Vocally, he's hardly ever been in better form and seems to like to challenge himself. Morrissey, take a clue. This guy's the real thing.

Biography

Born: July 22, 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...
Full Bio