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Release The Stars
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Avec « Release The Stars », Rufus Wainwright construit de façon artistique l'intimité qu'il recherchait,tout en créant une oeuvre d'envergure encore plus ambitieuse que l'album "Want Two", acclamé par la critique. Ses talents de compositeur et d'interprète, tout aussi brillants que caractéristiques, apparaissent de façon encore plus évidente. Des émotions sublimées, ses histoires plus vivantes, dramatiques, drôles, réelles et émouvantes : « Release The Stars » est un album franc et personnel. Il est produit par Rufus Wainwright et Marius de Vries (David Bowie, Björk, Madonna). Neil Tennant des Pet Shop Boys en est le producteur exécutif. Richard Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Martha Wainwright, Lucy Roche, Kate McGarrigle, Joan Wasser (Antony and the Johnsons, Joan As Police Woman), Gerry Leonard, John Medeski et l'actrice Siân Phillips ont également participé à cette aventure. Le premier single « Going To A Town » est un récit de voyage dans lequel il survole le paysage politique et social américain.
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Mon premier contact avec sa musique a été avec le fabuleux GOING TO A TOWN mais le reste de l'album est largement à la hauteur du reste de l'album. Je pense que Wainwright a un potentiel énorme. Son style est unique même si l'on a l'impression d'un déja-entendu. Son mariage de la pop, du rock et des arrangements orchestraux le placent à part dans l'univers musical actuel: un peu comme si Phil Ramone, Elton John et Brian Wilson (entre autres) s'alliaient pour faire un album.
Mes titres préférés sont TIERGARTEN, GOING TO A TOWN, SASNSSOUCI, RULES AND REGULATIONS et DO I DISAPPOINT YOU mais tout l'album fonctionne à merveille dans son ensemble et il n'y a réellement aucun titre faible, ce qui est de plus en plus rare.
C'est pour moi une réussite majeure de ces dernières années et d'ores et déja sans conteste l'un des 10 meilleurs albums de l'année.
J'ai écouté de nombreuses fois cet album, j'ai même vu Rufus en live sur Arte jouant ces nouveaux titres, mais rien à faire, ils m'ennuient.
Il a apporté de nouveaux instruments, il a fait des progrès en chant, ses arrangements sont plus complexes qu'avant, mais je trouve qu'il a en même temps perdu tout sens de la mélodie accrocheuse et originale, le pire étant au niveau vocal : il va haut, il va bas... et c'est tout. Je n'ai rien entendu d'intéressant dans ses lignes mélodiques.
Côté musique, c'est souvent du brouhaha sans direction, ou alors sans réelle originalité dès lors que la mélodie est clairement repérable.
J'avais fait l'effort d'acheter le double album "Want" parce que je l'avais trouvé à un prix correct, mais "Release the Stars" ne fera pas partie de ma collection tant qu'il dépassera les 5 €.
À mon sens, Rufus a perdu Wainwright.
EDIT du 19/03/2010 : j'ai acheté le CD à 5 €, comme prévu. Je ne sais pas si c'est la nouvelle écoute du double album "Want" (que je trouve toujours très ennuyeux) qui a mis en avant les titres de "Release the Stars", mais j'ajoute une étoile à ma précédente note, ce qui la fait arriver à 4. J'apprécie beaucoup plus certains titres, mais il me manque toujours la petite étincelle présente dans les deux premiers albums...
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On previous albums, Wainwright's melodies were occasionally thwarted by his ambition and a tendency to overwhelm the listener. His debut album, as well as "Want One" and "Want Two," struck me as stunning statements of overachievement. As luminous as they were, I ultimately felt lost in his musical vision, as if there were too many disparate elements fighting for my attention. "Release the Stars" can be just as demanding, but it is superior because it is wholly cohesive in its vision and message. Recorded during a hiatus away from America, Wainwright takes the time to ruminate on a multitude of relationships, and the results are often compelling, and occasionally stunning. "Rules and Regulations" contains the observation "I will never be as cute as you...These are just the rules and regulations, and I, like everyone, must follow them." In Slideshow," he debates whether it was worth the expense to fly his lover to be with him in Berlin. It's a simple thought, perhaps even base, but his delivery is wry and humorous, singing "I better be prominently featured in your next slide show, because I paid a lot of money to get you over here, you know." The dramatically intense arrangement is further heightened by the stunning accompaniment of Richard Thompson's gorgeously understated guitar solo. Without doubt, this is music made in the shadow of Richard Wagner.
I don't know if it's my imagination, but I also sense a slight difference in Wainwright's vocal delivery on "Release the Stars." In the past, I felt slightly put off by his oddly slurry enunciation - no, I don't mean `lith-py' - I'm referring to his tendency to somehow drench his words in ennui, even while soaring through a melody. Here, he sounds as if he cares much more about his subject, and the passion is visceral. "Between My Legs" is a quite funny and upbeat rumination on being sexually `absent'. "Going to a Town" is the album's emotional centerpiece, eloquently stating his purpose for leaving America behind, but the album's subtle climax comes during "Sans Souci," wherein Wainwright seems genuinely amused, if not pleased, with his predicament of being alone in Berlin. Throughout, "Release the Stars" is delivered in a voice that could only belong to one man, and this time around, I find it very easy to like Rufus Wainwright, just as he is. A Tom Ryan
Some of the songs were preceded by a short story or context.
"Nobody's off the Hook" is about Teddy Thompson, whom Rufus often performs with.
"Rules and Regulations" is written from the perspective of an obese man watching the Olympics. To quote an understatement from Rufus: "He, umm, thinks a lot."
"Tulsa" is sung to Brandon Flowers of the Killers. (In concert, he performed this one--including all the string arrangements you hear on the record--on the piano. As you can imagine, it's *incredibly* difficult to play, and for him to sing over the rather obscured accompaniment attests to Rufus's impossibly accurate pitch sense and musicality.)
That said: the recording is phenomenal. It's produced perfectly, which is to say it's not overproduced. Rufus is melodically and lyrically at his best. Though certainly some of the melodies are immediately memorable, none are by any means conventional. As poignant as he can be, he's also cheeky. "Between My Legs," for example, offers a fleeting, campy tribute the "The Phantom of the Opera," which, like Rufus's corpus, is instantly recognizable but only to a select and lucky few. "Do I Disappoint you" layers his voice in a harmonic wall. The effect is frightening: it's as if he musters up the strength to wail back at the force that condemns him, and the force that he's afraid of disappointing.
When "Slideshow" begins with the ironic, sad line "Do I love you because you treat me so indifferently? Or is it the medication? Or is it me?"--we're moved from sympathy, to humor, to silence. (Of course, Rufus's aching, haunting voice produces this tension by itself--he could sing the theme song from "The Facts of Life and have me in hysterical tears.) Far from being solipsistic, which he's sometimes criticized for, Rufus here offers expressions of intimate socialities that many of us--a select and lucky few--will "get," if only in private.
Up to now, there just hasn't been enough French horn in pop, and Rufus is the chap to put that right.
Of course, you cannot do stuff this big without help.
Executive producer is Neil Tennant - a man well used to crafting camp, glorious pop - and there is a small army of arrangers, as well as guests such as Richard Thompson on guitar and Rufus's mother and sister Kate McGarrigle and Martha Wainwright.
What this congregation of talents produces is something which refines yet further the formula of his Want One and Want Two (CD/DVD combo) albums.
Here we have a new millennial gay Edith Piaf baring his soul with rare elegance.
Standout tracks include "Tulsa", the Oklahoma city hymned with oh-so-European piano and strings, "Release The Stars", a peculiar big band affair concerned not with galactic goings-on but the contractual arrangements of Hollywood actors, and "Do I Disappoint You", a magnificent brassy overture which elevates self-doubt almost into something noble and celebratory.
But two songs make this a mini-masterpiece. "Going To A Town" is a wistful condemnation of his home country, distilled into the ennui-laden line "I'm so tired of America".
But there is a whole opera contained in "Between My Legs", which begins as a strange bubblegum rock song, mutates into something Phil Spector-ish, then features a dramatic spoken-word tract by Sian Phillips before a finale right out of Phantom of The Opera.
Do I DIssapoint You: 9.8 - one of my favorite on the album, i love the arrangements and the climax is up lifting and amazing.
Going To A Town: 9.4- one of the easiest to digest, and a great song. people seem to be misunderstanding it as an anti-america song. which it is not. it's more like rufus feels betrayed by a love of his. great lyrics. besides the main melody, the lyrics is what makes me really like this one
Tiergarten: 7.7- one of the better openings on the album, immediately catchy, but the rest of the song isnt as good for me. kinda meandering. has a few moments where it sounds like brian wilson
Nobody's Off the Hook: 8.4: a good song. you might pass over it as first, but i really like it, it's quiet but it seems to go somewhere which a lot of his slower songs don't
Between My Legs: 9.8- i love this song. it's everything i love about rufus. very climatic and also catchy.
Rules and Regulations: 7.8- this is like the "11:11" of the album. a good pop song, but not as good.
Not Ready to Love: 7.6- this one is a grower i think. i like it the more i listen.
Slideshow: 9.2:- another great song. i like the pace, i loove the chorus, and the guitar solo stuff is really good too.
Tulsa: 8- haha, i enjoy this song a lot. it's about brandon flowers i'm sure you guys know
Leaving For Paris No.2: 6.9- probably my least favorite so far. it doesn't go anywhere. meanders foreever
Sanssouci- 8.6: great song. poppy. very fun, it's not very deep, so i might get tired of it. we'll see
Release the Stars: 9.4- great way to end the album. i love the baroque/jazz swing to it
Almost every song here works but of course there are his stand outs: "Not Ready to Love" is all heartache and pain until it swirls out of control into a heartbreaking mantra. "Release the Stars" sounds as if Judy Garland would have knocked it off right after she sung "The Man that Got Away." And "Leaving for Paris no. 2" is haunting with its rambling piano and Wainwright's whispering vocal.
I have always loved his decadence and flair for wearing his emotions on his sleeve. His vocals have caught up to his brilliant lyrics, and I was lucky enough to catch his reimagining of Judy Garland's concert now if only he would have treated his fans to the ultimate Spring with a one two punch of two classic albums.