on 30 July 2005
The first time I heard Rufus - I thought - OK, well that was interesting, a bit overblown, a bit rich, but worth listening to again. The second time, I was entranced, the third and I was addicted - I bought every record, saw him live, became devoted to his music, was affected by his music in a way that perhaps only Pink Floyd has ever managed before.
Rufus writes complicated emotional music with many layers and drawing on his own intense personal experiences. It takes time and effort on the part of the listener to engage. He draws on a very wide range of influences and styles and makes each his own. He makes no compromises
Be warned, he will steal your soul.
on 7 June 2005
If you want an introduction to Rufus Wainwright, try 'Poses' or the majestic 'Want One'. Approach 'Want Two' as a fan and you will get the most out of it.
It is a decidedly darker offering than 'Want One': the lavish orchestration and fantastic zest for life has been traded for less immediate gems that creep in on you quietly and then hammer around your head for weeks afterwards. 'Gay Messiah', 'The Art Teacher' and 'Waiting For A Dream' are examples of this man's unique songwriting ability - his lyrics are sharp, intelligent and affecting. 'Memphis Skyline' never fails to touch me and once you've seen him perform 'Agnus Dei' live: you will be both haunted and mesmerised by his presence and his voice.
I heartily recommend this album to anyone who prefers their music to be unique, thoughtful and intelligent.
on 14 May 2007
Hard as teak, soft as cotton, sinuous as corded muscle...to me, Rufus Wainwright's voice is a thing of beauty. Yet, on other days I think it sounds whiney, nasal and annoying. But I rather like the idea of a musician who is different every time I hear him.
As has been noted by others, this album is a bit of a patchwork affair that, perhaps, lacks continuity. However, it's a rich confection of an album and can be a little too overwhelming to contemplate in a single sitting.
Yet there's much beauty here...Peach Trees just seems to soar and soar. Memphis Skyline a moving paean to Jeff Buckley. And Waiting for a Dream has a strange, metronomic / woozy quality that quietly hypnotises.
If you're in the right frame of mind, this is gorgeous music.
I'm still a little undecided about RW. There's no questioning the care he gives each song. The arrangements are classy even when it's just him and piano on the French language number near the end of this album. The lyrics too always have much resonance. But his voice, which is technically fine, does pall at times. Its nasal, droning quality is overt on 'Agnus Dei', an exquisite blend of East and West. On the next track, RW jumps to straight, beaty pop with caviare. No expense is spared. Thereafter, each track is fine in its own right, but RW's mix of drawl, drone and slur is a bit much after a while. His 'Dream' song, though, is inspired, while 'Old Whore's Diet' takes off in another direction, with its insistent lyric and latin rhythm. 'Want Two' is cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, but comes across more as a collection of disparate tracks, whereas 'Want One' is more of a unified tapestry. The songs are, on the whole, as good, but 'Want One' probably shades it.
on 28 June 2005
'Want Two' is the amazing follow-up to 'Want One'. It is a darker CD than 'Want One' & upon first listening to it, it didn't seem as 'catchy' or 'radio friendly' (although not as in the mainstream pop sense) as it's predecessor. However, after playing it constantly, I absolutely love it! Each track is so beautiful in its own way & again, so lyrically profound, musically rich & textured, boasting Rufus' genius & perception of the world. His operetta/chamber/classical style playing/arranging are truly hypnotic; married with Wainwright's voice, this is a truly stunning work which sets it apart from any of today's singer/songwriters. Prepare to be amazed.
on 10 February 2005
After first thinking the CD was damaged, with the intro of "Agnus Dei" (Was that just me? or did anyone else think that too? I tried it on 3 players, before letting it play and discovering the truth) I eventually realised it was OK, and I agree with the previous review, you do have to hear the songs a few times before they "click".
I first saw Rufus Wainwright on the Frank Skinner show, and was blown away with "Oh What a World". I searched the track on the internet, found it was on Want One. Bought it, and have since bought all the others.
I couldn't wait to get Want Two, and I'm not disappointed. "Old Whore's Diet" is particularly haunting and a lovely sound.
on 11 April 2005
It was difficult to see how Wainwright could come anywhere near the perfection of the previous Want One, and at first listening I found it a little disappointing. The arrangements are a little less majestic in their orchestration, and the album as a whole appears to have a little less cohesion.
However after 5 or so listens the layers start to peel back, and you start to notice things that you missed earlier on. The tunes start to get inside your head, and suddenly the sheer brilliance of the man hits you again.
And what tunes. From the fantastically atmospheric opening track through to the bonus French tracks at the end there are more ideas in this album than most achieve in a whole lifetime. As always, jam packed with melody and poignancy, with a nod and a wink to the more bizarre side of life.
And did I mention the bonus DVD live concert that comes with it?
You can hardly claim to have been shortchanged by a composer who currently has no equal for those who like intelligent music performed on a grand scale.
on 23 September 2008
The first time I listened to this I heard violins scratching and thought, what is this? However I persevered and am so glad I did. Agnus Dei is a masterpiece (and who else but Rufus would dare to put a song in Latin as the first track of the album?), but all songs fit together so well and are a joy to listen to. An album with more depth than Want One but well worth the time spent on it.
on 1 February 2005
Rufus has suggested that this album is the leftovers of the "Want One" recordings but I think he's being overly modest. This is THE most eclectic material of his canon so far but that shouldn't suggest a lowering of quality. From the first song, "Agnus Dei", a hymn to God, to the last, "The Old Whore's Diet", which is a reference to God knows what, the CD is chock full of originality, beautiful arrangements, and heart breaking honesty. Elton John called him the most important composer alive at the moment, and this shouldn't be disregarded despite your view of Elton's current viability as a contemporary performer. Elton knows quality, and he's passing on the baton that Brian Wilson handed to Elton when he heard his output from the 1970's. Rufus has altered my life and I swear I'm not indulging in hyperbole.
I honestly believe this CD will be the beginning of the worlds' recognition of an honest-to-God genius; failing that, I'll know the truth.
on 27 December 2006
Well, either "Mr Mongolian Bretsttew" has a sense of humour that only HE understands (note: he admittedly has many enemies) or he's 'many sandwiches short of a picnic'. I suspect a pleasant mixture of the two (see one of the previous reviews).
Admittedly Rufus has most certainly indulged himself on this recording, it's an aquired taste, and unless one is on the same plane as Mr Wainwright, it'll not resonate: most probably irratate to a degree, but you can't help admiring the man for his honesty and unique vision here. He took many risks and decided to make a record that was uncomprimising for him and his fans. That is the measure of an Artist. If you don't like it, listen to Britney Spears!
I, for one, have discoverd the music of Rufus Wainwright through this record, and whilst I admit it's slightly disjointed, there are some stunningly beautiful moments, both musically and lyrically. His voice is lovely, but doesn't necessarily correspond well with the various musical styles he employs. But hey! he seems to believe it, and somehow, although it really shouldn't make sense, somehow it works!
Nice to hear Anthony from the Anthony and the Johnstons contributing: a sublime, velveteen match.