Friday, March 9, 2012

Another love-him-or-hate-him musical act, Rufus Wainwright isn't for everyone. I, for one, am eagerly anticipating the new album (his seventh) and spending some time knee-deep in his back catalogue, though it never really leaves regular rotation.

He sings about all the things that I like: his Dad, his sister and love-in-general. On the new track "Montauk" it's about his new role as the Dad. (In an attempt to produce the world's most artistic baby, he and his partner Jorn Weisbrodt co-parent with Leonard Cohen's daughter, Lorca.) He sings "One day you will come to Montauk and see your Dad playing the piano. And see your other Dad wearing glasses. Hope that you will want to stay for a while. Don't worry, I know you'll have to go."

Produced by Mark Ronson, he promises much of the album will be upbeat and dancey, though this track feels like his more-recent offerings, swirly and carnivalesque.

Enjoy this primer, or a walk through some songs you might already adore. It's fairly perfect for today, when Toronto skies are filled with snow. March: The calendar's asshole.

The Essential Rufus Wainwright

  1. Dinner at Eight
  2. Martha
  3. Not Ready to Love
  4. Leaving for Paris No. 2
  5. The One You Love
  6. Sad With What I Have
  7. The Consort
  8. The Art Teacher
  9. I Don't Know What It Is
10. Nobody's Off the Hook
11. Montauk


Essential Fiona Apple
Essential Antony and the Johnsons
March Madness

This clip of Wainwright singing "The Art Teacher" on Jimmy Fallon makes my hands cramp. If I could do one thing well, it would be playing the piano. Damnit.

BONUS DOWNLOAD: Rufus Wainwright appeared on the BBC program Secrets of the Pop Song, where he co-wrote (something he describes as "dentistry" for him, a not altogether pleasant experience) a song in an effort to produce a pop hit. Here is the recorded version of "WW3". Enjoy. And watch the clip on YouTube for context. Interesting to hear his voice against music not entirely created by him.


  1. OMG, I love it, thank you for the download. I haven't heard music this raw and touching in a long, long time.

  2. I've never commented before but now I feel compelled! I love him. Last year around my birthday he came to Boston. At the last minute I decided to walk downtown to the venue where he was playing. He was well into the first song when I asked the box office if there were any seats left. There was a single ticket front row center.

    One of the best concerts I've seen.

    I'm a huge fan of him, his family and his crazy circle of musical friends (Antony, Martha, Teddy Thompson et al.) Great tribute!

  3. Serendipitous! I was on iTunes last night wondering which Rufus Wainwright album to purchase first. Maybe this will help me to decide. Also, I think the term "swirly and carnivalesque" is fantastic. Thanks!

  4. I adore Rufus Wainwright! The Art Teacher is one of my favorite songs ever. Period. Gets me every time!

  5. Thank you so much for this one!!! ANy chance of an Essential Loudon Wainwright too? Do you love him too?

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