The last decade has been one of turmoil and success for Canadian born singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright
: from his critically acclaimed 2005 album Want Two
, his mainstream angled Release The Stars
and his performance of Judy Garlandâ€™s concert album, to the loss of his mother, folk singer Kate McGarrigle, to cancer earlier this year. The death of his mother had a very deep impact on Wainwright, who described his 6th
studio album as â€œessentially my mourning for my mother while she was still alive.â€ All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu
is certainly as stark and sincere as that comment, and equally as inaccessible as someone elseâ€™s mourning process.From album opener â€˜Who Are You New Yorkâ€™ to the breath taking honesty of the stunning track â€˜Zebulonâ€™, Wainwrightâ€™s aching vocals sound very much alone in their grief as he sings â€œMy mothers in the hospital, My sisters at the Opera, Iâ€™m in love, but lets not talk about it.â€
The isolation in Wainwrightâ€™s arrangements makes this a challenging album to listen to, particularly through the middle where he places three Shakespearean Sonnets set to subtly brushed keys, and thundering crescendos. Patience and perseverance are rewarded with some of the most avant-garde and beautifully stripped back melodies. The disdainful and desperate bereavement in â€˜Marthaâ€™ is perhaps one of Wainwrightâ€™s most heart breaking songs to date as he begs his sister to pick up the phone and come home.All Days are Nights
becomes almost suffocating at points as the exuberance of Wainwrightâ€™s bruised and battered emotions seep into every harmony and every sigh.Â Even the light cantering piano keys of â€˜Give Me What I Want and Give it to Me Nowâ€™ (which with all the patience in the world is the low point of this album, seeming to me as nothing more irritatingly tempestuous show piece), are tinged with melancholy.Complex and ambitious, Rufus Wainwrightâ€™s latest collection of songs verge on the inaccessible but, to those who are familiar with the trials and tribulations of his life, and can dedicate the time to really listening to this album, there are tracks such as 'Les Faux D'artifice T'appellant' to discover, which are as beautifully accomplished and vulnerable as ever.