Rufus Wainwright's 'Out Of The Game'
- Article by: Katie Wiley/Erin Manning
- Posted: 05/15/2012
For those with an affinity for the theatrical, Rufus Wainwright has failed to disappoint for the seventh time with “Out Of The Game.” True to form, the new album is overflowing with metaphorical stories, lover’s ballads and tragic emotionalism. The collection of songs is unified by Wainwright’s intensely honest and prudent observations on life and heartbreak in its many forms.
Enlisting the help of famed producer Mark Ronson, (who in previous years has worked with musicians such as Amy Winehouse and Adele), has proven to be worthwhile, and has impeccably directed Wainwright’s newly-focused sound. Theatrical pop elements and orchestral arrangements harmoniously coalesce to create a directionally retro take on Wainwright’s inventive music, although paradoxically, the production and subtle use of electronic instruments makes for a very modern approach to his traditional songwriting.
Wainwright demonstrates an amazing ability on the piano--an essential part to every album he releases. With such an array of instrumentation, sometimes it’s hard to even notice the more simplistic side to the album, and that’s Wainwright himself. His outlook is papered all over his lyrics and it’s clear to anyone listening that his messages are personal and meaningful to him. After all, Wainwright is notorious for sharing personal stories. His mother’s illness, his adored adopted daughter and fiancé, his interesting childhood…He even includes his publicist in a track appropriately named, “Barbara.”
This personal element is evident from the beginning of the album with the title track, “Out Of The Game”--a playful lament of youth and how age brings exhaustion. Other tracks on the album hint at this same longing and envy of youth, while others are ballads about mixing love with loss.
The album ends on a spectacular note with “Candles,” which was written about his mother, Kate McGarrigle, and her terminal diagnosis. The story reflects on his personal experiences with her and the beautiful, yet tearful time after her passing. The moral of the story is to be grateful--grateful for everything you have, and every moment you’re blessed with those you love.
What the album occasionally lacks in original sound diversity--(referring to the standard that Wainwright has set for himself)--it more than makes up for in lyrical content and soulful inflection. “Out Of The Game” makes exceptionally difficult experiences easy to relate to, and although the melodies are consistently playful, it brings a solemn message at the end that demonstrates even the hardest heart can be touched.