Rufus Wainwright

Out of the Game (Decca)

ACL Music Fest Saturday Reviews

Rufus Wainwright

Out of the Game (Decca)

Following the sparse piano poetry of 2010's All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, Rufus Wainwright's latest reclaims the dramatic with at times bombastic pop arrangements. And yet, the portrait of Wainwright as he pushes 40 is necessarily different from the young, Byronian recklessness of his early work, even as it retains the same gasping romanticism. The opening title track sets the stage for mature reckoning, balancing nostalgic longing with experienced disdain: "Let me smell you for one last time, before you go out there and ruin all of the world, once mine." Likewise the realizations of "Respectable Dive" and disillusion of closer "Candles" anchor the B-side balladry of "Sometimes You Need" and "Song of You," which counter the exceptional, first-side Seventies soul-pop of "Jericho." Mark Ronson's production keeps the theatricality tight, surfacing in the skittered beats of "Perfect Man," but Out of the Game presents Wainwright shedding some of the foolishness of youth, even if somewhat reluctantly. (2pm, Bud Light stage)

***

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