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on May 8, 2010
In his sixth album, "All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu", Rufus mourns his mother's death. He descibes his mourning "earie", while she was still alive". Earlier this year Rufus said the album isn't directly about his mother but she does hold a 'looming force' over the album for him personally.
His mother, the Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle, was diagnosed with cancer in 2006 and died this January, with her musical family harmonising around her.
Here Wainwright sounds very alone with his raw grief.
The orchestral arrangements on his previous five albums had grown increasingly extravagant, and he scored his 2009 opera, "Prima Donna", for 70 musicians.
All that opulence has been stripped away here, to leave the 36-year-old singer with only his piano and his swooping, soaring, sighing emotions.The follow-up to 2007's commercial breakthrough "Release the Stars", "All Days Are Nights" is Rufus literally stripped back to just piano and voice.
Intimate, intense and up close with the openly flamboyant Wainwright as he offers up himself with no full band to hide behind.
The album includes three of Shakespeare's sonnets set to music, an aria in French from his opera, and several personal depictions of recent family life.
Much of this album sounds not unlike material from his triumphant "Want One" and "Want Two" sets: the elegant fluid opener "Who Are You New York?", the playful cantering of "Give Me What I Want and Give It to Me Now".
However, with the three sonnets (written for a Shakespeare production in Berlin), the graceful "Les feux d'artifice t'appellant" (the final aria from his Prima Donna opera), and opulent closer "Zebulon", is very arty and just opposite of current pop.
"That said, pop still does shine at times: "Martha" is a continuation of the Wainwright clan's tradition of airing their dirty laundry in public, with Rufus berating his sister for not answering the phone". Ian Wade
In fact the song takes the form of an answerphone message to his sister. "Time to go up north and see mother/Things are so much harder for her now", he sings in his slurred, bruised voice.
Also the track "The Dream" is just pleading for some big orchestral to crash in along side it and bring it to the forefront.
For sure it is sombre, a little theatrical and depressing.
"The pleasure of Rufus lies in the balance he strikes between complex texture and warm gush. Here you get the gush. Rufus and piano. No orchestration; form dictated by the expediencies of cod-Romantic self-accompaniment; a determination to expose his inner poetry, and outer voice, to as much light as possible. The three Shakespeare sonnets benefit from, well, being Shakespeare. The rest, with one exception, "Zebulon", is an essay in pianistic histrionics with dull supporting melody. You can see what he's getting at. It's called showing off" . - Nick Coleman
It may be not you favourite cup of tea. In fact it is not for the occasional listener.
Still it's very "Rufus".
Please, give it a spin.
Kate & Anna McGarrigle
Release The Stars
I Know You're Married But I've Got Feelings Too
2006 Rufus Does Judy At Carne
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon June 14, 2010
It's hard to put down an artist trying to do something different, especially when they are well-established artists such as Rufus Wainwright. But "different" should equal "interesting" - something that, unfortunately, "All days are nights - Songs for Lulu" fails to achieve.

This album features twelve songs of love, grief and desire recorded solely by Rufus at the piano. On paper, that concept should have worked wonderfully - anyone who has attended a Rufus Wainwright concert knows that these elements are fundamental to his music, and that he's at his best when he's sitting at the piano. But the problem on "All days are nights" is the songs themselves. They sound, well - flat. The usually gorgeous melodies expected from Rufus are gone, and their place has been taken by a collection of grim, monotone and unmelodic compositions that weave in and out of each other without much distinction. If it weren't for their strong lyrics, most of these songs would sound as though Rufus hit the "Record" switch, sat at the piano and recorded whatever happened to come out. There are a few exceptions, and they happen late in the album - "The Dream" is not only the album's best song but one of his strongest songs ever, "Les feux d'artifice t'appellent" is simply brilliant and "Zebulon" concludes the album on a truly beautiful note. But they are not enough to sustain the entire album; the remaining songs lack the emotional appeal of past masterpieces such as "The art teacher", "This love affair", "11:11" or "Going to a town" - which is odd, given the depth and intimacy of the lyrics collected on "All days are nights".

Maybe this was something Rufus just had to do, a creative outlet to help him through some emotionally difficult times (he lost his mother, Kate McGarrigle, in the process of writing and recording this album). And one can only applaud his willingness to release one of the most uncommercial propositions ever. This is a superbly executed album and it will certainly take the listener on a different journey. And it should have worked, because the format of the album is not that different from what has earned Rufus his many fans. Still, one can only hope that the next time he returns to the studio, he will come up with songs that can also appeal to the rest of us.
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on June 16, 2010
I am a die hard Rufus fan but was very unhappy with this album. I have tried to give it a few listens but just can't get into it. No where near as rich and exciting as many of his previous endeavours so, hopefully, this is just a snag.
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on April 19, 2010
I'm another hardcore Rufus fan. Really. I more than willingly paid $11 extra to get this album imported from Canada to Oregon (US) a month before it is available here.

That being said, I didn't love love love this album the first time through. I didn't really understand what I was listening to for the first three songs, which were totally new, never heard before (by me). By the fourth song, I really knew that I was listening to a completely different type of album. Something more personal.

I purposefully didn't study up on the record before I got it, so I didn't even know the song lineup, and had a hard time reading the song list on the back of the cd box. Song 5 (True Loves) felt more like classic Rufus, and with misty eyes I hoped that there would be more gut wrenching beauty. Of course there was/is- songs 6-8 are Shakespearean sonnets. All are absolutely gorgeous, but like many of Rufus' songs, they have grown on me the more I listen. I did wish that the another sonnet (When In Disgrace) was included on this album, just to have them together. It is on a compilation album "When Love Speaks".

The ninth song, The Dream, is another strong song, and I really like it except for one tiny moment when he sings the word "corrupted". I shouldn't even mention it, except that his delivery of the word sounds loungy (ok, that's not even a word, but it reminds me of a lounge singer for that one moment). The moment isn't a deal breaker by any stretch of the imagination, and I may end up loving that part of the song in another 50 or 100 listens.

That's the thing with Rufus, for me anyway. His music has this way of changing and melding into my very DNA over time. Some songs that I didn't grab me at first end up being my favorites over time. I just keep finding new things in the music, even after listening almost daily for the past seven or eight years.

Anyway, I do need to mention the last two songs, because they are the icing on the cake. Song 11, Les Feux D'Artifice T'Appellent is an aria from Rufus' opera Prima Donna. I was totally thrilled to find it on this record. What a wonderful surprise. On about the third or fourth listen to the album, I was listening through headphones, and realized that the thuds in the background during the song were the sounds of the fireworks. Duh! The last song, Zebulon, is so beautiful. I heard Rufus perform it in concert last year, and it really stuck with me. It is haunting, and so filled with longing... a perfect finale.

Rufus Wainwright is a musical genius, and has made what feels like a very personal record. All Days Are Nights won't be for everyone, and I'm not sure that people who aren't already fans will get it. Whether a seasoned fan or not, this album doesn't reveal all of itself on the first listen. Rufus composes complex music, and it just takes time to grow and flower in your brain. Such a delicious process. Thank you Rufus!
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on April 23, 2010
I bought this album for the three Shakespeare sonnets recorded from the series of 24 that Wainwright set to music for the 2009 Robert Wilson production "Sonnette" that -- as far as I can discover -- has never been recorded, although many clips are available on YouTube. The only other recorded sonnet from Wainwright's series is "Sonnet 29" -- "When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes . . ." that appears on the 2002 composite album, When Love Speaks.

Wainwright chose "Sonnet 20" -- "A womans face . . .", "Sonnet 43" -- "When most I wink . . .", and "Sonnet 10" -- "For shame deny . . ." for the All Days are Nights album. The title is a quote from "Sonnet 43":
"All days are nights to see till I see thee,
And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me."

I find Wainwright's sonnet music mysterious, compelling and altogether wonderful. The poet bleeds afresh with every jangling chord of "For shame deny . . ." and 400 years of longing fills "A womans face . . ."

Our notions of Shakespeare and his work are erupting, and Wainwright's artistic elucidation of the sonnets provides the anthem for a new understanding of the mysterious William Shakespeare. I wish he would record them all.
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on March 23, 2010
Rufus has been a favorite of mine for many years. He basically can do no wrong in my book.
But listening to him play the piano like he does on this album (pure magic!!) and singing like only he can reminded me of why it is that I love him so : he is quite possibly the most talented artist/musician out there today.
He blows my mind.

All Days Are Nights is a thing of beauty. Pure beauty.
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on March 24, 2010
With album #6 given to us, Christmas has come again in March. Rufus, you are unmatched. In your musicality, composing, piano playing, singing, harmonizing with your own melodies. Unmatched. Lulu would be proud. This album is 100% perfection in ever which way. Thank you for sharing it with us.
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on March 30, 2010
it's quite simply, his best album yet. every track is worth a thousand listens. so far I'm up to about 12 listens. and I look forward to the next one as soon as I finish the one before.
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