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Rufus Wainwright

A consummate showoff, Rufus Wainwright has never had reason to doubt his gorgeous voice, his lush arrangements, his coy sense of romantic drama. Substance, however, presents a bit of a problem for him. Last year's Want One addressed that deficiency in bracing terms -- Wainwright celebrating his 30th birthday with vulnerability, candor, and a maturity he used to hide with soaring strings. Wainwright purportedly left his more extreme operatics for Want Two, and while the new album offers the expected aural delights, it lacks the great personal narratives that made the first volume more than just ear candy. That said, "The Art Teacher" might be the best thing he's ever attempted, a fictionalized first-person narrative of an unhappily married woman looking back to the childhood teacher who captivated her mind and soul. The song's simple piano figure belies much of Want Two's ostentatious orchestrations, its insistence on beautiful music over concrete meaning.
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Tim Grierson
Contact: Tim Grierson

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