Rufus Wainwright

Release the Stars | Geffen
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  June 11, 2007
3.0 3.0 Stars
Rufus Wainwright says that when he went to Berlin to record his fifth studio album, he was after a stripped-down, bare-bones sound. What he came back with might be his most expansive, lavishly appointed disc yet. On Release the Stars (with Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant in a telling executive-producer role), Wainwright embroiders plaintive acoustic laments (“Do I Disappoint You”) with pealing horns and swirling string arrangements and juices up-tempo rockers (“Between My Legs”) with lush post-glam guitars and complex vocal harmonies. Since his wide-eyed 1998 debut, his writing has begun to curl at the edges with a weary big-city cynicism; “Going to a Town,” one of this album’s hushed piano-ballad highlights, finds him admitting (or perhaps bragging), “I’m so tired of you, America.” Yet his music always offers an emotional complexity to mirror its melodic sophistication. In “Nobody’s Off the Hook,” a chamber-folk tribute to pal (and sometime bandmate) Teddy Thompson, he contrasts jokes about homos and hairdressers with a simpler-times nostalgia so pure it hurts.

Rufus Wainwright| True Colors Tour | Bank of America Pavilion, 100 Northern Ave, Boston | June 16 | 617.931.2000

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