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Release The Stars [Import]
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  • As the son of confessional singer-songwriters Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, it isn't exactly surprising that Rufus Wainwright's previous albums have read like diaries set to music, but the sometimes almost embarrassing level of personal detail in his lyrics set a new standard for lyrical intimacy. RELEASE THE STARS continues Wainwright's open-book approach to songwriting, but where his previous epics WANT ONE and WANT TWO were concept albums about addiction and emotional frailty, this album is considerably more hopeful.
  • Recorded in Berlin with the Pet Shop Boys' Neil Tennant, whose unambiguously gay-themed lyrics and musically expansive ambitions were an obvious inspiration for Wainwright's own music, RELEASE THE STARS finds the singer-songwriter in a mood of wary optimism, balancing love songs with rueful social commentary and a few playful looks back at his dissolute past. Musically, RELEASE THE STARS is Wainwright's most ornate, operatic album yet, with a use of musical theater and modern classical music not seen since Van Dyke Parks' heyday. And yet Wainwright's often overlooked gifts as a melodicist are on full display, too, giving the over-the-top arrangements a sturdy underpinning that keeps the album well-grounded.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.102) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[He] surrounds his piano with delicate strings, keyboard flourishes and other instrumental touches without sounding too big or fussy."

Spin (p.97) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he songs are actually strong enough to hold the weight of the over-the-top arrangements."

Q (Magazine) (p.87) - Ranked #10 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "[M]ore rich in emotional drama and sumptuous orchestration than any other record this year."
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