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on 20 May 2007
I can understand why Release The Stars has disappointed *some* of Rufus Wainwright's fans. But I suspect they may be resentful that he has tried to produce a more popular style of music. With admittedly only a week's acquaitance, I have enjoyed this album more than any of the first four.

His last studio album, 'Want Two', was a niche record for a loyal audience. But I think Rufus had reached a limit for that particular type of music. It was difficult to tap into as a new listener, and wasn't a record for all occasions (Rufus himself said that it should never be played at dinner parties: "I think it would make everybody regurgitate blood and then turn into werewolves."). Release The Stars feels like it enjoyed an easier birth, and the music is more enjoyable for it. My personal favourites are 'Do I Disappoint You', 'Going To A Town', 'Tiergarten', 'Rules and Regulations', and 'Sanssouci'. 'Slideshow' and 'Tulsa' have wonderful back stories and lyrics to match. In fact, it is a very consistent album.

In years to come, I think this will be regarded as a more complete piece of work than his previous efforts. It feels imbued with a stronger sense of melody, restraint and care. It is therefore more advanced, but also more accessible to fans and newcomers. For that, it should be highly applauded. Start or continue your Rufus fan-ship here!
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on 20 June 2007
On first listen I felt disappointed with this album but now I love it. There is only one weak track (track 4) in my opinion, the others are either instantly brilliant or need a bit of careful listening. The lyrics are clever and revealing as ever and the songs range from full ochestration to Rufus and a piano. I particularly like the recorder at the end of Rules and Regulations and the little theme from Sanssouci that gets inside your head. You just never know what to expect with RW - Slideshow starts off as a bit of a gloomy lovesong and turns into a meglomaniac's call to be "prominently featured in your next slideshow". Witty, fun and beautiful to listen to.
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on 17 May 2007
I am a huge Rufus fan & this album is equally as great as his previous four....lush string arrangements (being a classical violinist I am really impressed & moved by these gorgeous sounds!), beautiful soaring flute & harp....orchestral & full sounds. His lyrics are poignant & heartfelt as ever. All of the songs are real gems. I really love Tiergarten but every song is really amazing!! This CD has been on repeat since I bought it only yesterday & I just can't get enough!! With each play, you hear something else underneath all the layers of beauty. Buy this now, you won't regret it!!
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Restraint is a quality not easily ascribable to Mr.Wainwright.

"More is More" rather than "Less" shall be his epitaph.

With an ego the size of Manhattan this precocious infidel long
ago convinced me that there are fewer greater songwriter/performers
on the planet than he.

His album 'Release The Stars' has not confounded this belief.

There are some truly astonishingly good songs here.

His capacity for gravitas has deepened with time, experience and
(one suspects) fewer mind eroding substances.

Highpoints would certainly have to include 'Going To A Town', a
sharply focussed critique of American political shame; the gorgeously
limpid 'Nobody's Off The Hook', written for his friend Teddy Thompson,
with it's technically accomplished string arrangement; the languidly
(nobody does languid better than this boy !) beautiful 'Not Ready To Love';
the roller-coaster excesses of 'Slideshow' and 'Release The Stars';
the exquisite, shifting, foggy, soundscape of 'Leaving For Paris No.2',
for me one of his very finest compositions.

Melodically and chromatically complex. This fine collection of songs
is carried impeccably and never less than convincingly by the very
fine instrument which is Mr Wainwright's voice.

The bubble shows no sign of bursting just yet.

Where to from here ? Ever onward and upward I guess.

I'm perfectly happy to follow to see where next he lands.
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on 9 July 2007
I don't understand why some of those who have commented on this album say that Rufus is past his best and that he has now just become a mainstream crooner. The songwriting on this album is sublime and anyone doesn't recognise it must be deaf. At first hearing some of the songs sound almost as easy to listen to as some of Baccarach's classic pop songs. And they also possess the same high quality craftmanship as Baccarach's songs but unlike the songs by Baccarach one does not tire on listening these songs. Rufus's songs remind me more of the songs by Cole Porter and I suspect he'd be very proud if he was compared to him. Having said that, Rufus's melancholic tendencies will probably keep preventing him from mainstream acceptance. The best songs on this album are Going to a Town, Tiergarten, Between my Legs, Rules and Regulations and Sansoucci (which is brilliant in every way). So, if you like Rufus's music at all, don't miss out on this album. It really is a resounding triumph.
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on 30 June 2007
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 !!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 16 January 2016
key tracks..
going to a town
between my legs
do i dissapoint you
tiergarten

having first heard of rufus years ago now, from his appearance on jools holland with burt bacharach i had no idea about his previous albums. but as soon as i heard the first single from this album i knew that i needed to hear more...

'do i dissapoint you' opens the album and my answer is no...this fantastic album does not dissapoint. its a great track to kick things off, while 'going to a town' ups the anti, and really makes you think. the sweeping melody and heartfelt lyrics make this standout track get under your skin. 'between my legs' is another great track both musically and lyrically.

the album features an array of instruments, and the production from pet shop boy neil tennant is fantastic. but the strength of mr wainwrights songs come from his voice. the boy can really sing, hes managed not to become tabloid fodder in the UK and although i know little about him or his life, you just know that he means every word he is singing...
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on 10 April 2009
Having been introduced to Rufus Wainwright by 'Want Two,' I was initially intrigued and relieved by this album's similarly dense composition, and occasionally dischordant harmonies. In the early stages of a prolonged spate of listens, the album holds up well; even songs more spartan in their arrangement, such as 'Going to a Town' capture the mind temporarily. I love the grandiose, flamboyant aspects of Wainwright's work, and his tremendous vocal power. Musically, the album still appeals to me after listening to it regularly for months. However, the lyrics have begun to seem a little trite in places, particularly when compared to either of the 'Want' albums. Even so, there are still moments in 'Release the Stars' that make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Worth it.
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on 2 July 2009
I fell in love with Rufus Wainwright's music irrevocably listening to this, my first of Rufus' albums. I have played it solidly in the car, first thing in the morning, winding down of an evening and it is just a genius recording- love all the songs. I subsequently went out and bought all his other albums, very unlike me but was just blown away...I was completely hooked. I first saw Rufus on an interview with Johnathan Ross and his 'star quality' and enormous talent- rare performers have both!, struck me immediately that I was intrigued to find out more about him. So glad I did, he has become my favourite singer/songwriter of all time....no question- he is sublimely brilliant!
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on 18 June 2007
Well,this album has been eagerly awaited for by lots of people and it certainly was going to be a hard act to follow after the WANT project. Cards are laid on the table from the first track Do I dissapoint you, with the trademark lush orchestration and killer vocals. There are twists and turns all through the album with the vocals pushed to the front of the mix on most tracks. With Richard Thompson on guitar for a couple of tracks there is a feel of grit which gives the album an extra dimension and there are things here for everyone. You are certainly rewarded with repeated listenings. So I have to say, Rufus has pulled another one out of the hat and confirms his standing as one of the most talented singer songwriters of our generation and therefore the album is a must buy.
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