11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2002
Rufus is too young to be so precociously talented, but there you have it. This album oozes a maturity, guile and wit that you might expect from such veterans as Walter Becker and Donald Fagen of Steely Dan. The opening track 'cigarettes and chocolate milk' with it's almost 'thrown together in ten minutes' feel, evokes a world weariness in the mould of Leonard Cohen or Randy Newman, while 'shadows' demonstrates a slick sophistication, reminding me very much of KD Laing's 'Ingenuie'. But before you think I see Wainwright as some sort of pastiche composite of other artists, let me assure you this is one of the best albums I have heard in 2002. Hauntingly familiar but refreshingly original this album surfs a variety of moods from dark and slinky to light and poppy with engaging and intelligent lyrics all the way through. I hope it reaches a sizeable audience.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2002
This was an album which I picked up after reading an exellent review in People magazine. I had absolutely no idea what the music was like or wheather it would appeal to me in any way. I have not heard anything from his first album, but let me tell you, I will. This record is absolutely unique. It hits emotional depths in the most unexpected places. I give it a 4 star rating, instead of a 5, because, I believe it drops in quality about halfway through and leads to what is basically an anti-climax. However, I love that it ends with a reprise of "Cigarettes and Chocolaite Milk", one of the strongest singles. Other favourites of mine include the eerily haunting "Shadows", the catchy, ironic, self-mocking"California" and one of the best songs of all time, the absolute masterpiece"Poses". I urge everyone to have this CD. It is a shame that it is going by unnoticed. Rufus deserves more than that.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 July 2005
Having heard Want One and Want Two first I was reluctant to listen to Rufus Wainwrights earlier work in the fear that it would taint my view that Rufus is definitely a special musician.
Poses is with no exception an outstanding album and each song possesses the distinct perfection of every track that I have heard.
If you have enjoyed any of Rufus' music you will undoubtedly enjoy Poses, listen out for 'Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk' and 'California'.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2002
Boy, is this record fantastic! I can't believe it's taken me so long to finally get round to picking it up, but now I'm really struggling to play anything else at the moment!
The tunes are nothing short of fabulous - complex, detailed, subtle melodies are stamped all over this album, and it's been such a long time since I last fell for a record like I've fallen for this one.
The only comparison I can really think of is to Jeff Buckley's "Grace", but only in that they share a very similar vibe and maturity - like "Grace" this record certainly doesn't reveal itself straight away, and even now I'm picking up quirks that I didn't spot immediately.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 5 April 2006
I am ashamed to say i knew nothing of Rufus until the closing credits of a certain episode of Queer As Folk (U.S.) and was reduced to tears by Poses! I was blown away and haven't recovered yet! I got the album the next day, then the next album, and the next! - and then the DVD... I couldn't get my head around the music or him, and it's that 'unassimilateability' that keeps me hooked. I find him and it to be full of contradictions: he'll write a turn of phrase that makes me think of the Mamas & Papas and then follows it with a phrase of sheer inspiration. He'll write something that i would send back in a GCSE composition but follow it up with utter profundity. (Track 1 starts with utter triviality and becomes a song i'll never forget!) He does things that shouldn't work musically but put a hole in your heart.
In short, what a breath of eternally fascinating, honest and touching fresh-air. The colour he brings to my life i would not be without.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 14 June 2005
The tame reaction of the official Amazon reviewer is indeed odd, as this is one of the greatest 20 albums in the history of recorded popular music. Though we're given to understand that Rufus was not entirely happy with the work - he has said recently that it was not until Marius de Vries gave him RW a free reign to his prodigious talent on the Want sessions that he felt secure with his recorded music - this record is nothing short of an immense proposition for the listener.
Ironically, it's the production and realisation of the songs (Martin Gifford) that makes Poses unique. Each track has a great sound; the instrumental and vocal parts are restrained in contrast to the succeeding works (Wants One & Two) and so have much room in which to breath. But most remarkable is the instrumentation, which appears to have been carefully, if not intricately worked out and thought through. This gives each song its own individual presentation, consequently adding considerable depth to the listening experience (see the new Coldplay album X/Y for an example of the other end of the scale).
That said, there are two keys to Rufus Wainwright's success here: his songwriting and his singing. Each of the 12 songs is astonishingly strong in musical composition (with perhaps the exception of Shadows). The author of these works had, even by 2000 when much of this material (I imagine) was written, tremendous command of chords and the ability to combining them effectively and affectingly into songs, to achieve a rich, profound effect (compare and contrast with the works of Nick Cave, a much inferior artist).
As well as achieving great beauty on The Consort, The Tower of Learning, In A Graveyard and the title track, his melodicism on Rebel Prince, Greek Song and Grey Gardens is way ahead of any and all of his competitors. For those who particularly enjoy music deep in melody and rich harmony, the fruits of this album are stunning and enduring. This is also a record that can stand up to repeated playings (more than any other in my collection).
And so to Rufus the singer. I have heard friends of mine say, "I don't like his voice," which only serves to illustrate that (in a kind mood) there's nowt so queer as folk and (in an unkind one) that it's amazing how many people there are out there who claim to like music but who are totally tone deaf. Wainwright's vocal performance on Poses is almost indesribably great. Suffice it to say that it is demonstrably in the same league as the greatest melodic singers of all time (Mitchell, Wonder, Gaye, McCartney and Taylor, to name an obvious quintet). His vibrato is superb: rich, warm and at times almost unbearably expressive. Here we can marvel for the first time in the RW canon that for an effeminate gay guy, it is astonishing how manly his voice is. Sure, it isn't tough - this isn't tough music, sonically (though it certainly is lyrically) - but it is as deeply affecting as it is dazzling in its brilliance. Rufus constantly has an uncanny ability to find the deepest places in your soul and mind. And a word of praise too for the vocal layerings on father Loudon's One Man Guy. This lyrically and musically slight affair on the drawing board (or the demo tape, perhaps) is, in the hands of the younger Wainwright voice, a joyful pocket-aria.
It is perhaps this quality, his remarkable, singular singing voice, above all others, that makes Rufus Wainwright's recorded output so far, truly and utterly exceptional. Poses represents the first full-flowering of a true genius.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 17 December 2005
This album is one you have to listen to more than once, the first time you think ive made a mistake getting this, but after that it's brilliant one your'll listen to over and over again, i love it. This was the first of his albums i bought, having heard the soundtrack to shrek,im planning on buying many more of his albums.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2005
Had only heard of the McGarrigle sisters (I think Kate is Rufus' mother) and didn't know anything about Rufus at all. Had never heard of him. Saw a mention in a Sunday paper and was intrigued to hear some of his tracks so sent for the album 'Poses'. Wow! Here is something out of the ordinary and I was hooked from the first track, 'Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk' ! For anybody looking for a new experience, fresh sounds, trendy lyrics...this is the album! Can't understand why Rufus isn't yet a household name...with talent like this he will surely make his mark soon! Get this album, listen and enjoy. I play it on my way to and from work every day and it never fails to stimulate and entertain. I have just sent for his other albums and can't wait to hear them!
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on 16 March 2006
I really can't praise Rufus Wainwright enough. His voice is unique and beautiful. Descriptions like "eerily haunting" and "soulful" come to mind, though frankly some of his songs are soul-destroying. His rendition of 'Hallelujah' for example (note: not on this album) is guaranteed to make me cry, or at least give me the shivers long after it's over.
'Poses' is no exception to this kind of emotional potency. Although I found this album to be more uplifting than I'd expected. I have often joked that Wainwright is not someone to listen to when you're feeling glum and want to cheer up, but a number of songs on this album are genuinely uplifting due to their beauty. 'Greek Song' is a particular favourite of mine, and I find myself humming it under my breath at random moments.
Wainwright's lyrical style and haunting voice really touch the soul. I only ever experienced chills and powerful emotional responses whilst listening to classical music before stumbling across Rufus Wainwright, and now I discover he has the same effect. He can inspire tumultuous emotions, a need to sway along to the music, and a desire to create your own works of art. I often find myself inspired to write, be it academic papers or fiction, when listening to his voice.
I really can't recommend him enough.
If you're looking for something completely new, and yet with the pure unadulterated talent of 'the oldies', when real music was still being created instead of simply repackaged, you need to buy this album. And all his others.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 29 September 2003
I find it hard to fathom the amazon reviewer's sniffiness about "Poses". It's a wonderful album, and far superior to Wainright's debut. I don't think you'll regret buying it.