Rufus 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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