Review: Rufus Wainwright, ‘All Days Are Nights’

Review: Rufus Wainwright, ‘All Days Are Nights’: Aidin Vaziri | For a moment, it felt as if we’d lost Rufus Wainwright. It’s hard to pinpoint the precise moment it happened – was it the full-scale Judy Garland tribute at Carnegie Hall? Or the waltz he wrote about meeting the singer of the Killers that opened with the line, “You taste like potato chips in the morning”? But reality brings the 36-year-old singer-songwriter back from the brink on his sixth studio album, “All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu.” Written, produced and performed entirely on piano by Wainwright, the disc arrives just three months after the death of his mother, Canadian folk icon Kate McGarrigle. Unlike the showstoppers that filled out “Release the Stars,” the songs here are intensely personal, uniformly sober affairs. From raw, unblinking laments such as “Martha” and “The Dream,” to a run through three Shakespeare sonnets and one track from his opera “Prima Donna,” Wainwright’s reedy voice has rarely sounded so vulnerable or poignant. But even as he navigates total emotional upheaval, Wainwright’s wit remains undiminished. “My mother’s in the hospital/ My sister’s at the opera/ I’m in love, but let’s not talk about it,” he sings on the album’s closer, “Zebulon,” letting us know he’s only waving, not drowning.

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