Rufus Wainwright

After the sublime first half of his magnum Want opus, Rufus Wainwright returns with Want Two, 12 wildly ambitious and compelling songs chronicling his often thwarted desire for completion in long-lasting love and self-satisfaction. From the opening dissonant strings on “Agnus Dei,” Want Two is more experimental and less accessible than the acclaimed 2003 release Want One. The singer’s personalities — one a victim persecuted by public misunderstanding, the other a glitter-glam Hansel of his own destruction — navigate the darkness of songs such as “Crumb by Crumb,” which mixes Stephen Foster’s florid Dixieana with the psych harmonies of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine.” Whatever Wainwright’s true nature, he is talented enough to marry diversity with more grace, wit and subtlety than most artists can achieve in any one genre. On “Little Sister” and “Hometown Waltz” alone, Wainwright effectively combines bluegrass, opera, classical flourishes, waltz figures, French accordion and oompah horns and bass, sketching out a sonic scape far more imaginative and tolerant than the gatekeepers of pop usually allow.

Categories: Music