>> Featured Artist: Rufus Wainwright
Every time I put it on for people who have never heard the Rufus, I get antsy. His voice isn't made for modern pop music, and it grates at first listen - even though his voice is spectacular. As I heard somebody put it, he sings like a string instrument.
That said, I've been in a Want One mood lately, and I couldn't get "I Don't Know What It Is" out of my head today. With the upcoming release in two weeks of his fifth full-length, Release the Stars, it's good timing. After taking a pass on Want Two, I'm actually leaning toward picking up this one.
The track released, "Going to a Town," isn't shy about its politics. The words aside, the melody structure and arrangement sounds like one of Paul McCartney's darker numbers. At times, he even takes on a little Elliott Smith's phrasing. And, of course, he piles it on - especially at the end - as Rufus is wont to do.
It's a tough life decision, to be sure.
Honestly, I'm not a Wilco-head. I've enjoyed about half of what the band has put out, but never seeing the second-coming in Jeff Tweedy that everyone else sees. As long as we've established that, and you're still with me, we're going to be fine.
"What Light," the first single from the band's follow-up to 2004's A Ghost Is Born, caught me a little off guard at first - as Wilco's spiritual illusions have apparently climbed to the next rung. I can even get past Tweedy's mostly harmless Bono-esque hopeful preaching, because the song's musicianship and structure is top-notch. The chord changes and bright melody lifts are reminiscent of The Band, which usually means Wilco has hit its stride. And it bodes well the band's six album.
The Lovin' Spoonful is a weakness. The apparent ease of John Sebastian's pop melodies and the feel-good nature of the band's sound strikes some sort of chord in my musical palette, and it's exactly how I want to feel this time of year.
"You Didn't Have to Be So Nice" is a little heavy-handed in the last verse's backup vocals, but everything else is just so dang pleasant.