rufus has exceeded his own expectations on this 5th long player. after his more outre sister's intimate torch songs and the blissed concoctions from joan wasser, it was difficult to know what to expect, given his recent judy garland tribute.
more show tunes? even bigger choruses? more introspection? the overall feel is a lttle more mainstream in places ( the arrangements by neil tennant, particularly on 'rules and regulations' - his most direct 'pop' song since 'one i love' from want two), but loses none of his grandiloquent gestures, as typified on most of want one and parts of two.
he has seized the nettle and drawn himself further up the ladder marked 'drama' and fired off star-shaped rockets into the stratosphere. 'do i disappoint you' and ' between my legs' are the 2 standout tracks. the former is lushly orchestrated and resplendent, billowing into excess with crescendo after crescendo - lovelorn still.. the latter is cheeky from the off, cheerful, then the coda kicks in and the spine starts to shiver, quiver, not wanting the joy to end.
there is contemplation, as on all his work, but it is placed more in the foreground than before. 'going to a town' is a personal, political stab at the bush administration with touching, sometimes bittersweet lyrics - it feels like a genuine protest song...
'leaving for paris' and ' not ready for love' are the weakest offerings, although the segue into ' slideshow' is immaculate. these two work better live.
by the end, you feel that rufus is more content with his lot. the rumour is he is off for a sabbatical to complete a nascent opera. now that will be something to behold.
this is a work of ART and will leave you wanting more. not perfect but near enough. he is still one of the most fascinating and original composers of the last 10 years. long may he reign,the crown prince of palatial pop !!