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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mature but accessible
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...
Published on 20 May 2007 by BobOxford

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars release the second generation wainwright
I am a great admirer of this guys Mum and Dad - particularly his Mother and Aunt -the wonderful mcgarigle sisters. The boy Rufus is a good act BUT he is very monotoned and (dare I say it) is becoming boring. An entertainer of this unquestioned quality needs to break out of his straight jacket (no pun meant) and be more upbeat about life the world and himself
Published on 31 Dec 2009 by Mr. D. J. Smith


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mature but accessible, 20 May 2007
This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It took me a few listens, but now I love it as much as Want 1&2, 20 Jun 2007
By 
C. Mitchell (S. Oxon, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rufus does it again!!, 17 May 2007
This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars sublime, 9 July 2007
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This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the pinnacle is reached, 30 Jun 2007
By 
H. Ogilvie "blue aeroplane" (london, england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably buy this album, 10 April 2009
By 
C. E. Foster (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Brilliant Album....Rufus is a genius for our time!, 2 July 2009
By 
Susannah (West Midlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars STILL RIGHT ON TRACK., 18 Jun 2007
This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baby Steps to the Brink of Greatness, 24 May 2007
By 
Sordel (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
Steeped in the compositional language of the great composers and songwriters of the past, Rufus has a gift for draping things (some mundane, some less so) in a timeless mystique. In "Memphis Skyline" from Want Two, he visualised the death of Jeff Buckley as that of Orpheus, scored by Debussy. Here, on "Slideshow", he transforms a hissy fit about an inconsiderate friend into a poignant, transcendent love song, capped by a brass ensemble that sounds like the trumpets of angels bursting from a cloud. One cannot help but wonder whether there are any small events in Rufus's life.

The aching, yearning vibrato is just as powerful as ever on Release The Stars, but this isn't (quite) as good as some of the earlier albums. Personally, I find that one tends to remember the best tracks from his albums and to forget the weaker tracks that have become more plentiful since Want One. Here, there are three songs that rise to the standard of his very best work: "Slideshow", "Going to a Town" and "Nobody's Off The Hook". Two other tracks - opener "Do I Disappoint You?" and closer, "Release The Stars" - are also standouts, but exhibit a tendency to over-egg his material that is becoming wearisome. With the latter, an argument can be made for a musical presentation as grand and cinemascope as the films that it references, but on "Do I Disappoint You?" a fairly slight song is forced to support an unendurable weight of orchestration.

It would be unfair to describe any of the other tracks on the album as "filler": the songwriting is too crafted and meticulous for that. The brass arrangement on "Rules and Regulations", for example, includes prominent piccolo trumpets and recorder, and is another of those ideas admirable in concept but rather grating in execution. There's nothing lazy about it - if anything, it is too fastidious - but it is also a weak point in the album. Readers of this review will probably find favourites in songs such as "Tiergarten" (redolent of the last songs of Freddie Mercury) or such slow, enervated fare as "Not Ready For Love" and "Leaving For Paris", but for me they are lesser examples of styles that were explored more effectively on earlier albums.

At his worst, Rufus is still interesting, and there's an extent to which the failure of one experiment is paid for by the success of another. The chamber string orchestration on the beautiful "Nobody's Off The Hook", for example, incorporates to better effect what was merely pastiche on Want Two's "Little Sister". Nevertheless, there is a sense that Rufus's work progresses by trial and error, leaving one to question whether he will ever produce the earth-shattering masterpiece that so many people expect and hope for when breaking the cellophane on his latest disc.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Star Release!, 23 Sep 2007
By 
Andy Sweeney "music was my first love" (Brighton, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Release the Stars (Audio CD)
This has probably been my most eagerly awaited album this year so far (with the possible exception of Arcade Fire) and anyone who owns Poses, Want One and Want Two will know why. Rufus is a genuine artist who oozes talent from every pore, whose music eminates melancholy wit, flamboyant modesty and tentative confidence. However, listening to a new release for the first time by an artist you love is always a nervous experience - will it live up to expectations or will it change your perception of them?

Well, it's my great pleasure to reassure any current Rufus Wainwright fan that they definitely won't be disappointed by this album and that there are 12 gems to discover and, if you're anything like me, probably eventually adore on Rufus' gorgeous fifth album Release The Stars. Like a cross between Poses and Want One, there is little here which moves away from the typical Rufus fan's comfort zone, but it's steeped with originality, with beautiful melodies and lyrics to fall in and out of love to.

This isn't an instantly gratifying listen, although the first listen isn't without pleasure, but instead slowly burns itself into your soul - songs get stronger with each playback and, simply put, there isn't a bad song on this album. Hell, there isn't even an average song on Release The Stars and I suppose the only reason that anyone could find fault with this recording (apart from very patriotic Americans listening to Going To A Town) is if they were expecting something truly different from Rufus. I, however, am exceptionally happy with a continuation of his very successful and individual brand of hopelessly romantic music.
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