Rufus Wainwright

Youprobably haven’t seen him on MTV or heard him on the radio,but Rufus Wainwright was voted “Best New Artist” byRolling Stone magazine readers this past year. I found outabout him when I stumbled across his self-titled CD in themusic store and was transfixed by his deep, dark eyes andsolemn gaze. Surely his CD had to be as good as his PrinceCharming looks. I took a chance, bought the disc and found outI was right.

The first song I fell for was “AprilFools,” the most upbeat track on the CD. It has the sortof zeal you hear from a marching band in a parade as he beltsout, “You will believe in love/and all that it’s supposedto be” in his unmistakable, buzzing voice. Most of thesongs have a theatrical feeling, which the crooning Rufus saysare inspired by musicals and his passion for opera.

His work is unlike anything in the alternative sectiontoday. My friend described the track “Beauty Mark”as a Texan piano bar tune while “Sally Ann” and”Foolish Love” sound like nostalgic cabaret bits.The disc, overall, is slow and soft but has a few upbeatmelodies, such as the haunting “Matinee Idol” aboutthe death of River Phoenix and other Hollywoodstars.

Rufus, son of Canadian folkster LoudonWainwright III, lets his talent shine on this magical new CD.The multi-instrumental artist brings an old sound to newmusic, something that seems to be on the rise with the growingpopularity of swing and Celtic music. While most artists areconcentrating on redundant music they hope people will like,Rufus just plays what he knows best!

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