Rufus Wainwright / Poses : 4 of 5
My pal Dae is a master mix-maker, and usually sends me a great mix-CD every year around Christmas. The CD from 2003 included Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk by Rufus Wainwright, and it's been popping up on iTunes so much lately that I had to buy the whole album to see what Rufus was all about. This is an incredible CD, although the songs are sometimes so tragic that I can't keep it in the car for more than a few days in the row. Rufus writes terribly beautiful lyrics, mostly about lost love, mistakes in life, dealing with inner conflict, and simply surviving as a flawed human. His words are completely poetic, and they are combined with some of the best orchestration I've ever heard on a "pop" album - fantastic string arrangements and woodwinds combine with keyboards and guitar to produce theater-quality music (indeed, most of these songs sound like they could have been in modern Broadway shows). This is one of those rare CDs that I had to take the time to listen to completely in one sitting, following the lyrics in the liner notes. The cuts range from the hauntingly sad title track Poses to the upbeat (but still slightly dark) California. Dae picked out the best cut, of course, but I think The Tower of Learning is a close second. I'm definitely going to check out more of Rufus' work, as soon as I can handle the emotional strain!