Rufus Wainwright's fourth album, "Want Two", is so much more than a similarly-themed follow-up to the "Want One". In fact, taken as a distinct entity, it succeeds even better than its predecessor.
This album is a triumph of substance over style. Wainwright is a master at melody and moods, and his voice is unique - although some people may find it off-putting, you have to admit that he sounds like nobody else. The album features so many brilliantly written songs that it's hard to keep count; "The art teacher" is all subdued passion, "Hometown Waltz" and "Little sister" are melancholic and memorable, "Peach tree" and "This love affair" are longing put to music, and "The one you love" is easily one of his catchiest songs ever.
The album's production (handled by Marius DeVries) is both subtle and lush, ranging from piano-vocals introspection to multi-layered vocals and orchestral arrangements ("Agnus Dei", "Little sister", "Old whore's diet") without losing its focus in the process. In fact, it's the strength of the album's material, coupled with Wainwright's unique delivery and with his producer's gifted approach, that make this album so appealing. Let's hope this collaboration will bear many more fruits in the near future.
For the record, the special edition of "Want Two" (including two live recordings of French songs) is very worth looking for. The album is so good, that getting two more songs (not to mention a cool DVD concert) is certainly a welcome treat.