December 2, 2004

Test Spin: Rufus Wainwright

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Rufus Wainwright’s Want Two might be the most ambitious, intriguing, grandiose, frustrating, visionary and bombastic album of the year (kind of like this opening sentence). Maybe he shouldn’t be so stubborn.

On many of Want Two’s tracks, the Gay Messiah has inverted Brian Wilson’s songwriting formula to the point where the result is actually pop flourishes adorning classical music foundations. As fascinating a listen as this may be, Wainwright doesn’t seem capable yet of bringing the humanity to these songs that has made much of his previous work so poignant. With that said, amidst such pretentious disasters as the monkish aesthetic of “Angus dei,” whose only charm lies in its similarity to the music played during the orgy scene of Eyes Wide Shut, are such treasures as the soaring “Waiting for a Dream” and “This Love Affair.” The haunting last note of the latter, as indicative of many fleeting moments on the album, even hints at the sublime.

Archived article by Jared Wolfe
Sun Staff Writer