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Rufus Wainwright, Out Of The Game (Decca/Polydor) ****
RUFUS proclaims this to be “the most pop album I’ve ever made” which may or may not be so: he has always dropped glittering jewels of pop into the operatic fizz.
The thoroughly addictive title track certainly fits the pop mould, and sounds like something his friend Teddy Thompson might have recorded, driven by a catchy tune and strong guitars, allied to wry lyrics. Nothing else is quite as pop, but there is much to enjoy here for new starters and long-time fans.
The stand-out Rashida ends in typical Rufus show-tune style, while Perfect Man opens with the line “After another production of The Flying Dutchman, I landed in Berlin…” – and who else could get away with such a lyric? Sometimes You Need, on the other hand, is a perfectly turned song that could be sung by anyone.
Throughout, Rufus sings as beautifully as ever, and the production by Mark Ronson respects his music while pushing it in interesting new areas. This is less melodramatically self-regarding than previous albums, perhaps, but undeniably classy.