Rufus Wainwright - All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu
Right off the top I'm going to admit that when it comes to Wainwrights, Martha is more my speed than her brother Rufus. But it's Rufus that has the new album coming out as All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu is set for an April 20th release.
The new record is by far the most personal work we've heard from Wainwright in some time. The lyrics expose a vulnerable side, including a song to his sister "Martha". By stripping away the orchestrals of the past and replacing them with a lone piano, Wainwright creates an environment where the lyrics can shine through.
The strength of the album, it's intimate, personal nature, can also be its weakness. While the songs give you the feeling that Wainwright is granting you a very rare glimpse at him with his guard down, one can't help feel that these songs are rough and incomplete. Vocally, Wainwright is often shaky in his delivery, while the piano arrangements sound mostly like an afterthought. The combination makes tracks like "Shame" and "When Most I Wink" come across more like demos than finished album cuts.
When things click, the songs are as good as we've heard from Wainwright. "Give Me What I Want and Give It To Me Now!" shows a rare flesh of energy, while a more forceful piano and polished vocals pack more emotional punch into "The Dream" than any of its more hushed album counterparts.
One can sense though that creating this album was a therapeutic process for Wainwright. While that may not make for the most conventionally enjoyable listen for fans, it does make for an album that is bursting at the seams with emotional intrigue, albeit one that is probably of interest to die hard Rufus fans only.
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on 2010-04-22 jakekingston Said:
When I first heard "Who are you New York", I thought to myself, this album will be infinitely better than the treacherous "Release the Stars"--a completely underwhelming and thoroughly annoying album. I really, really want to like "All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu". I keep picking it up, or turning it on and right from the get-go I convince myself that I'm going to fall in love with the album, but I haven't...at least not yet.
I've always had a (secret) love affair with Rufus. When his first album came out he was my saving grace--the first openly gay songwriter, who wrote these really interesting melodies, and such a wonderful grainy voice. Living in Toronto, I mused about venturing up to Montreal where I would accidentally bump into him at some gay hot spot, fall hopelessly in love, and he would hire me to sing harmonies (I had/have some kick-ass harmonies on some of his early tracks). Over time, with every subsequent release this love affair has faded. It was all but gone after I heard "Release the Stars", so this new album feels like a fresh return to the Rufus I used to love. But I can't help but wonder if I like this album more because the last one was so bad, or because it's actually good. I'm thinking it's more the former than the latter.
There are some definite highlights here, but without any additional instrumental accompaniment each song begins to meld into the next making the album feel like one really long song. As much as I disliked "Stars", the one saving grace on that disc was "Leaving For Paris No.2"--finally a proper recording of a bootlegged track. It would have served this album well had Rufus decided to add a few additional sounds ala "Leaving for Paris". But maybe in time, I'll grow to not mind so much.