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Rufus Wainwright's new album, Want One, is quite apart from the norm these days. The first track, "Oh What a World," is a slow, lilting, horn-driven song that incites images of an oompa band parading down a Bremen road. But aside from that, Want One is quite a collection of well-crafted songs from a talented songwriter.
As each track plays, you can distinctly tell how every one is different and unique. "Vicious World" is a heavily-distorted piano song, quite soft yet abrupt in its far reaching sound. The next, "Movies of Myself," is more-guitar driven, heavy yet light at the same time. And Rufus has a good voice - he explores every limit of his vocal abilities. For being someone who's not really familiar with his work, I can honestly say this is a solid record.
"Pretty Things" is a vocal and piano only song, a very nice break form the loud and full songs before it. It is strictly a solo performance: it sounds as though he is right in front of you on a stage, taking his time to play each chord. And "Vibrate" is a sting-only song, again very apart from the rock- or pop-oriented structures. It's quite refreshing.
As an album, Want One is a collection of great songs, yet they do not jump out at you as songs that are standouts or bona-fide hits. It does show Wainwright's willingness to try everything and anything, and how he puts together things that work in a good melody. You can hear with each track the promise and continuing talent.
Tom Fraher is a Contributing Writer. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.