Album cvover art for Unfollow The Rules by Rufus WainwrightRufus Wainwright’s classical composition work (particularly his second opera, 2018’s Hadrian) informs his latest collection of theatrical pop, Unfollow The Rules (named after a phrase coined by his eight-year-old daughter, Viva).

Much of the album was recorded live, often in one take, and every single instrumental detail is essential. Damsel In Distress honours Joni Mitchell and Peaceful Afternoon – a romantic tribute to Wainwright’s hubby of eight years – boasts a jaunty, celebratory waltz rhythm (“And I pray that your face is the last that I see…”).

Even when singing about Early Morning Madness – which utilises an oblique, Bad Seeds-esque arrangement of deliberately lumbering drum pattern and woozy strings to masterfully illustrate a troubled mind – Wainwright’s vocal performance is silken sublimity. Wainwright is so ready for his close-up.

Unfollow The Rules by Rufus Wainwright is out July 10 via BMG.

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