Release The Stars
Released: May 2007
Though Rufus Wainwright consistently flaunts gifts for writing dramatic melodies, the bombastic horns and stings of Release the Stars make him seem like the bull in the baroque pop china shop. A relatively unadorned tune like "Going to a Town" is refreshing for its simplicity, though rare for its restraint. If there are times -- as with the Phantom of the Opera quote on "Between My Legs" -- that the theatrics are hammy, others, like "Sanssouci" and "Rules and Regulations," are best for balancing band camp flair (read: penny whistle) with a touch moderation.