Elizabeth Stolfi
staff writer
June 14, 2007
Buy it at Insound!
Release the Stars Release the Stars
May 15, 2007
Geffen Records
Want One Want One
September 23, 2003
Poses [Bonus Track] Poses [Bonus Track]
February 5, 2002
Rufus Wainwright Rufus Wainwright
May 19, 1998
More Recent Album Reviews:
Chk Chk Chk
Ahab Rex
Alias & Tarsier
Arrah & the Ferns
Beach House
Beastie Boys
Black Lips
Brand New
Deer Tick
Dirty on Purpose
Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton
Fall Out Boy
Forgive Durden
Harley Poe
Isobel Campbell
Loch Lomond
Love Arcade
Modest Mouse
My Chemical Romance
Novi Split
Rufus Wainwright
Scissor Sisters
Scott Walker
Sean Lennon
Sonic Youth
St. Vincent
Straylight Run
Tech N9ne
Tegan and Sara
The Decemberists
The Good The Bad and The Queen
The Killing Moon
The Polyphonic Spree
The Rosebuds
The Shins
The Used
Under the Influence of Giants
Recent Soapbox:
Recent Live Reviews:
Recent Interviews:
Sponsored Advertising
Rock Music Reviews
Rufus Wainwright
Release the Stars

Rufus Wainwright may be an alien. His records may contain hidden messages from his alien race, and one day hundreds of thousands of classically trained pop singer-songwriter geniuses who play with full orchestras with countless brilliant albums may come down from the skies and take over the world.
That actually doesn't sound so bad.

Release the Stars is completely overdone and underdone in all the right places. The songs flow up and down, taking you exactly where your heart is in the mood for exactly when it's in the mood for it. The all frills Broadway, classical, and opera influences meet his Lennon/McCartney style songwriting somewhere right in the middle, creating something that is brilliantly original - yet familiar and comforting.

Waingwright's lyrics (also brilliant) paint very vivid images that are especially clear on Release the Stars; there are no stale love songs to be found here. "Who would have ever thought/hanging with a homo and hairdresser/you'd become the one desired in every woman's heart," Wainwright sings in the perfectly constructed "Nobody's off the Hook." The contradiction of the charming composition in the music and the blunt (and sometimes trashy) lyrics make a match almost too good to be true. It is most evident on the whirling Frank Sinatra esque strings of "Tulsa," accompanied by the opening line, "You smell of potato chips in the morning."

The album's first single, "Going to a Town" (and perhaps Rufus' most commercially friendly offering yet), features a simple Coldplay paino riff and in-your-face anti-American sentiments; "You took advantage of a world that loved you well/I'm going to a town that has already been burnt down/I'm so tired of you, America." It may be harsh, but it's sung with such sweet sincerity that even Dubya would love it.

"Between My Legs," the most romantic account of the end of the world imaginable, Wainwright laments over rather unRufus-like guitars about how himself and the person he loves will escape together through a secret underground river. The final lyrics of the song are spoken by Welsh actress Sian Phillips - whose addition to the track is epic, to say the least.
Speaking of epic, "Slideshow," an album highlight filled with more Lennon/McCartney, explodes with trumpets and violins; "And if I am not prominently featured in your next slideshow/I don't know what I'm gonna do." It's then brought down to mere whisper by the end, as Rufus repeats mournfully, "Do I love you? Yes I do." Another highlight, "Leaving for Paris No. 2" is a perfect Paris love song that sounds as if it is a 70 year old timeless classic (there is no No. 1, by the way. Doesn't matter).

The album's closing title track, though proclaims that "Old Hollywood is over," proves that it may only take one person to keep it alive. Wainwright has proved himself to be so much more then just a celebrity family product; probably a lot more then he had to to be successful. Release the Stars, though his fifth album, plays like most singers' fantasy Greatest Hits. We will happily await the invasion.

Release date: May 15, 2007
Label: Geffen Records
Rating: 9.0 / 10

On the web: www.rufuswainwright.com