Rufus Wainwright - Want

Bill Cummings 28/11/2005

Rating: 4/5

Combining the two Want albums and re-repackaging them it could be viewed as a cynical ploy to cash in on Rufus Wainwright's new found jet set pop fame. But since Want One wasn't heard by much of the general populous it's probably fair that this material has a chance to shine.

Opener "Oh What a world" with its lavish wide eyed vocal arrangements and lush walls of orchestration created by Marius de Vries are delightful. The lyrics revelling in the worlds of show tune and touring. ("Why am I always on a plane or a fast train/Oh what a world my parents gave me.") Elsewhere there's the beautiful Beatles-esque melody and guitar strumming of "I don't know what it is" and the glacial dreamlike melodies of "Vicious World" hint at the sexual and drug fuelled demons that Rufus struggled with in his early twenties. ("Oh lord what have I done to myself/In this Vicious world.")

Upon The second disc, part two of the “Want..” sessions, Rufus Wainwright proves that he has the musical diversity and this time an ability to create pop melodies that would bring him to wider acclaim. There's the delicious choral epics of “Agnus Dei” the strumming summer harmonics of single “The One you Love” and the heart rendering “Art Teacher” replete with sexual frustration, powerful piano lines and vocals from heaven.

Rufus isn't a one trick pony either there's the jazz sway of “Peach Tree” choral tunes like “Crumb by Crumb” by way of the gorgeous Radiohead balladry of “Waiting for a Dream” where Wainwright delicately balances the personal and political( “There's a fire in the priory/There's a Ogre in the Oval Office.”)

So if you don't already have either "Want..." then buy this! If you do, then there's two bonus tracks to tempt you into getting this combined Want release. The Glorious live cover of the Leonard Cohen classic "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" is a song that suits Wainwright's eyes shut angel croon so well. ("You got away didn't you babe/You got away you turned your back on the crowd/I never once heard you say/ I need you.") Second track "With the Ladies" written with the Propellaheads own Alex Gifford is a Sinatra-esque stuttering 50's piano tune.

Its clear from the two "Want..." albums that if given time and a curbing of some of his extravagance Rufus Wainwright has the talent to one day match the emotive vocal power of Jeff Buckley, and the wealth of melodic musical potential to reach for the likes of Lennon, and Brian Wilson