RECOMMENDED: RUFUS WAINWRIGHT

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Rufus Wainwright is a hardworking musician who has earned undying love from his fans in a short career of brilliant songwriting and performing. His latest effort finds him rising to a new kind of starry height with his characteristic panache for melody and clever lyrics, all once more adeptly delivered by able hands on a piano and his languid tenor. “I’ve got the outfit for the party, but you’ve taken away the invitation,” he carelessly croons in the track “Rashida,” which builds like a track off of Queen’s Sheer Heart Attack, while the follow up track, “Barbara” is a placid lounge track. As usual, the most compelling tracks on Wainwright’s new album are the more intimate snapshots of his personal life.  In “Barbara” he describes the loneliness of a moment drinking rose in the rain, while in the sultry country sway of “Respectable Dive” he calls to a lover for a moment of indiscretion. Out of the Game is perhaps a bit of a statement piece for the artist, enlisting the talents of guitarist Nels Cline, Sean Lennon, and The Dap Kings, among others, but none of these guests outshine the songwriter here, but rather add tasteful textures to an already elegant ensemble.

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