Rufus Wainwright, "All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu"

81 Billboard Rating

Less than a year after the premiere of his first opera, "Prima Donna," Rufus Wainwright embarks on a simpler musical journey with his sixth studio album, "All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu." With nine original songs and three adaptations of Shakespearean sonnets, Wainwright's solo piano accompaniment highlights his extremely adaptable voice in a different manner from previous efforts. On "Sonnet 43," where Shakespeare's narrator longs for his absent lover, Wainwright reaches the lowest range of his rich tenor over gentle chords. But "Give Me What I Want and Give It to Me Now!" recalls a raunchy vaudeville number. the calm accompaniment of the track "Les Feux D'artifice T'appellent" involves Wainwright thumping on the piano's sounding board and plucking its internal strings to simulate fireworks, while occasionally ascending into falsetto. Some fans may miss Wainwright's more complicated orchestral numbers, but a single piano is all that's needed to show off his immense vocal talent.-Erin Clendaniel

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