Want Two

Want Two

4.7 4
by Rufus Wainwright

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While musicians have long tried to incorporate classical influences into rock -- with mixed results -- it's hard to recall anyone leaping as joyfully into the realm of opera as Rufus Wainwright does on this flamboyant, flighty disc. Being blessed with a remarkably elastic voice, the singer uses Want Two to push its boundaries at every turn, turning the…  See more details below


While musicians have long tried to incorporate classical influences into rock -- with mixed results -- it's hard to recall anyone leaping as joyfully into the realm of opera as Rufus Wainwright does on this flamboyant, flighty disc. Being blessed with a remarkably elastic voice, the singer uses Want Two to push its boundaries at every turn, turning the recording studio into a virtual cathedral for the hymn "Agnus Dei," which also showcases his grasp of Latin, and donning Maria Callas mufti for the nine-minute tour de force "Old Whore's Diet," on which he and Big Apple avant-crooner Antony flit from neo-gospel to discofied Kurt Weill. While the musical going can be a bit heavy at times, Wainwright's wit still floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, particularly on the gently shuffling "Waiting for a Dream" (a paean to human cloning that revolves around his wondering if the procedure would allow him to sleep with himself) and the self-explanatory, waltz-time "Gay Messiah," which runs religious imagery through a decidedly camp filter. And while it might seem like a stretch to believe that the songs here were really conceived at the same time as the much more direct and doleful Want One, the inclusion of a DVD featuring live performances of songs from that disc confirm that they are indeed twins, even if they're not identical.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Matt Collar
Picking up where Want One left off, Rufus Wainwright's Want Two is a deeply introspective, sometimes kinky, and often personally critical set of mini-operettas that ruminate on his various relationships, drug abuse, and image in the media. Metaphorically liturgical and often classical in sound, Want Two touches on such interrelated themes as love, loneliness, sin, and sacrifice. It's more focused than Want One and as such packs more of a wallop both musically and emotionally. On the cover of Want One, Wainwright appeared as a chivalrous knight in armor, bringing to mind the conquering crusader -- Sir Gawain the gay knight? Conversely, on Want Two he appears as a dark-haired maiden -- the suicidal Ophelia? The imagery not only speaks to the campy and loaded cliché of the male-and-female, yin-and-yang drive of the gay male persona, but more importantly how one's personal desires are often sacrificed because of public successes. Never one to shy away from personal issues, Wainwright deals explicitly with how his sexuality has affected his life and career, not merely as a gay man but as a burgeoning gay icon with a complex desire to both embrace and ignore all that entails. This is no more apparent than on the album centerpiece, the iconoclastic "Gay Messiah," in which Wainwright both mocks gay pop culture and laments his ability to live up to his fan base's desire for a artistic hero in the culture wars. He sings, "He will be reborn/From 1970s porn/Wearing tube socks with style/And such an innocent smile," and later, "No it will not be me/Rufus the Baptist I be." Similarly, on the opening track, "Agnus Dei," he croons, "Agnus dei/Qui tollis peccata mundi/Dona nobis pacem." Translated it means, "Lamb of God/Who takest away the sins of the world/Grant us peace." It's Wainwright's most direct plea for both personal and public absolution and helps leave the impression of an artist attempting to find emotional buoyancy in the often perilous waters of both the music business and the dating scene. Musically, Wainwright has never seemed more in command of his muse. References to Nilsson, Brian Wilson, and Randy Newman are a matter of course, but Wainwright's growth as a pop craftsman with his own unique lyrical voice -- both conceptually and literally -- makes such comparisons unnecessary. To these ends, lush string orchestras, cheery choirs, and piping horn sections decorate the impeccably scored album and perfectly complement Wainwright's swooning vocals. Taken as a whole, Want One and Want Two work well together as a sprawling and ambitious double album that is camp, serious, and utterly compelling.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Geffen Records


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rufus Wainwright   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Charlie Sexton   Electric Guitar
Gary Thomas   Performing Ensemble
Julianna Raye   Vocals
Sterling Campbell   Drums
Marius de Vries   Keyboards,Vibes
Roger Greenawalt   Banjo,Ukulele
Levon Helm   Drums
Julia Kent   Cello
Anna McGarrigle   Accordion,Background Vocals
Jenni Muldaur   Vocals
Suzzy Roche   Vocals
David Theodore   Oboe
Cenovia Cummins   Violin
Christopher Cardona   Violin
Jane Scarpantoni   Cello
Kate McGarrigle   Banjo,Background Vocals
Antoine Silverman   Violin
Martha Wainwright   Violin,Vocals,Background Vocals
Joan Wasser   Violin
Rob Burger   Hammond Organ
Gary Leonard   Guitar,Electric Guitar
Teddy Thompson   Vocals
Leona Naess   Background Vocals
Alison Gordon   Viola
Anja Wood   Cello
Maxim Moston   Violin,Concert Master
Jeff Hill   Bass
Alexandra Knoll   Oboe
David Sapadin   Clarinet
Daniel Shelly   Bassoon
Kathryn Lockwood   Viola
Lily Lanken   Recorder,Background Vocals
Danielle Farina   Viola
Matt Johnson   Drums
Sophie Solomon   Violin
Julieanne Klopotic   Violin

Technical Credits

Hector Berlioz   Composer
Van Dyke Parks   Orchestral Arrangements
Gary Thomas   Engineer
Guillame Bengle   Live Recording
Andy Bradfield   Engineer
Martin Brumbach   Engineer
Marius de Vries   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Orchestral Arrangements
Isobel Griffiths   Horn Conductor
Andy Taub   Engineer
Gavyn Wright   Orchestra Leader
Antoine Silverman   Principal
Rufus Wainwright   Composer,Producer,Orchestral Arrangements,Cover Art
Tom Schick   Engineer
Kevin Metcalfe   Mastering
Jacquelyn McKeever   Engineer
Alexis Smith   Programming
Rob Shearer   Live Recording
Anja Wood   Principal
Maxim Moston   Orchestral Arrangements
Danielle Farina   Principal

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Want Two 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was first introduced to Rufus Wainwright after listening to his song "Oh What a World" from Want One. After that I was hooked and I have not been able to stop listening to him. Want Two just continues to show his musical brillance and I recommend this ablum to anyone who appreciates great music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i've never heard anything even close to the music that rufus wainwright creates. it's beautifully original, and his voice is one of a kind. his music is mellow but still catchy and reviving. you'll find nothing but incredibly beautiful music on this cd.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago