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Around Christmas time you always get a bunch of ‘modern day’ crooners rearing their bland heads, proclaiming they ‘do’ Sinatra, Cosby et al with a new twist on things - think Jamie Cullum with his Converse All Stars and his Strokes-like suits. But we all know this is all wrong. Like most recent exploits in R’n’B, these whippersnappers simply pale in comparison to what has gone before. They seem to just be cashing in.
"What," you may holler, "has this got to do with Rufus Wainwright?" Well, sod all really, because he takes all of what has gone before, shoves it in a cocktail shaker and shimmies it into his own brand of music hall gorgeousness.* ‘Want One’* is like taking a bite of Snow White's big red apple and enjoying the juicy poison as it slips down your throat.
Commenting on his recent drug exploits and the ‘gay hell’ of his rehabilitation, Wainwright shifts his lyrics around the grandiose orchestral manoeuvres, slapping on cultural references for good measure and playful obscurity.
“My phone’s on vibrate for you, but still I never feel from you”
Sometimes Wainwright slips into over-the-top territory, but then swiftly reels his senses back in with the contrast of seemingly one dimensional words of love (or generally the lack of), before shifting the sand slightly by observing that maybe its hard to ignore what’s going on in the world and asking what can I take to help me through this life. Well that’s how I see it anyways.
“Sick of looking around at friendly faces
All declaring a war on far off places
Is there anyone else who is through
With complaining about what's done unto us”
Maybe I’m just an old romantic, dreaming of big showy numbers that you can sing while your heart is fit to burst with the sheer effort of it all. Maybe I am slightly disillusioned about/with the world and dream of happier times in my own naïve (Evian) pure way. Whatever, I love ‘Want One’. And I love Rufus and I am prepared to shout that from the rooftops as the orchestra in my head swells.
“Still I think I'm doin' fine
Wouldn't it be a lovely headline:
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL
on a New York Times”
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