Rufus Wainwright

Album Title: Want Two
Release Date:
Genre: Folk/Pop
Rufus Wainwright's dreamy fusion of opera, pop and hushed ballads could've proved as popular as an orange-cheese sandwich. But the singer baked the odd hybrid into a yummy collection of cool ballads and served it with dollops of tasty choral and orchestral arrangements for last year's, Want One.

Rufus' follow-up, Want Two, dizzies up the symphonic sprawl to paint a breathtaking dreamscape that reduces the brilliant opulence of its predecessor to mere thumbnail status. This is the real deal.

From the opening cry of 'Agnus Dei' to the laid-back hush of 'Quand Vous Mourez de Nos Amours,' Want Two cools some of the warm elements that made One blossom, with melancholic piano-driven soul.

If Rufus, clad as a knight in shining armor on the cover of One, was here to try and save listeners from the ugliness of everyday life, Two tries to continue this mission by backing his confessional lyrics with an even more sensuous voice. But mostly this is Rufus still seeking love and coming up empty.

The optimistic character from One's 'Beautiful Child,' finds himself alone in the heartbreaking 'Peach Trees' (Cause I'm so tired of waiting in restaurants/ Reading the critics and comics alone) and again on the airy 'This Love Affair (I guess that I am walking/ Where?/ I don't know/ Just away from this love affair).

He changes moods on the bittersweet 'The Art Teacher,' in which he writes a love letter to a long-lost crush, and then questions his journey on the brisk 'Hometown Waltz' ('Say, will you ever ever ever know/ Ever ever ever fly away/ Will you ever ever ever go/ Ever ever ever find a way').

But Rufus lets us know that his wounds are only temporary. On 'Crumb By Crumb,' getting hurt doesn't mean giving up on love. Instead the waltzy track offers promise in the arms of a new lover. It ends ambiguous, but the deep dissonances of having loved and lost make Want Two a listening experience for people with an appetite for finding some peace with life's shortcomings.

Writer: Mark Daniell

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