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Release the Stars

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Reseña de álbum

If ever there was an artist that embodied both the urbane popular songsmithing of Cole Porter and the epic winged grandeur of Richard Wagner it is Rufus Wainwright. Having not so much perfected as succumbed to this yin-yang pull on his laboriously ambitious and intermittently inspired 2003 and 2004 albums Want One and Want Two, Wainwright once again delivers a baroque collection of songs on 2007's Release the Stars. Recorded at least partially in Berlin and London with Pet Shop Boys lead Neil Tennant, the album finds Wainwright casting himself as a kind of expatriate torch singer, a veritable Marlene Dietrich of emotion who, as he laments on "Going to a Town," is "so tired of America." In that sense, Release the Stars is at once intensely personal and utterly theatrical with Wainwright playing both ingénue and femme fatale in a series of increasingly cinematic pop-operas about true love gone not so much bad, but sad. He pleads to make it to the other side of town, and possibly the other side of monogamy, with his brown-eyed lover in "Tiergarten" and dreams lazily about, "the boys that made me lose the blues and then my eyesight" on "Sanssouci." While these songs are lushly produced, often with full orchestration, and while Wainwright has a knack for pretty, lilting melodies and concrete imagery there is nonetheless a distinct lack of pop hooks here. In fact, only the chugging T. Rex inspired glam rock of "Between My Legs" gets at any real pop meat. The main problem is that it's never quite clear if Wainwright, who has always been to pop music as cabaret is to Broadway, is dressing opera up as pop or vice versa. But when you wear custom Lederhosen as well as Wainwright does throughout the album liner notes, does it really matter? [The CD was also released with a DVD.]

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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.


Nacido/a: Rhinebeck, NY, 22 de julio de 1973

Género: Rock

Años de actividad: '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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