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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do I stop listening....?
It's funny, I've heard of Rufus Wainwright before, but never considered myself a fan in any sense. Not a single track, much less CD; I've spent the last 24 hours listening to this album 3 times. This is quality music. And I'd better stop soon; but it's one of those albums, when listened to over again, yields new things you didn't hear the first time. I'm now going back...
Published on May 2, 2012 by Pen Dave

versus
10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a few more listens to grow on me
POSES and WANT ONE represents Rufus' best work and since the latter came out, I've yet to completely dive into a Wainwright piece and become totally enthralled. I think Rufus is a unique talent with a keen eye for arrangements and melody, but OUT OF THE GAME contains only a few momentary sparks of brilliance. Despite a return to pop music, his songs lack the hook in...
Published on May 8, 2012 by J. Jenkins


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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How do I stop listening....?, May 2, 2012
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This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
It's funny, I've heard of Rufus Wainwright before, but never considered myself a fan in any sense. Not a single track, much less CD; I've spent the last 24 hours listening to this album 3 times. This is quality music. And I'd better stop soon; but it's one of those albums, when listened to over again, yields new things you didn't hear the first time. I'm now going back to his old albums, and there are quite a few, to enjoy those.

I'm not one to post over the top reviews, but I feel compelled here.

Congratulations Mr. Wainwright, on differentiating yourself from many of the plastic one hit wonders of the world. The world needs more artists like you.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very much in the game, May 1, 2012
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This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
Listening to the opening pair of songs on Rufus Wainwright's new album "Out Of The game" and "Jericho", one could be forgiven for thinking this is seventies Elton John.

The album is produced by Mark Ronson who brings his trademark lush horn-peppered sound on board, as well as a few guests, Wainwright's sister Martha, Sean Lennon, a few Dap-Kings, Wilco guitarist Nels Cline and Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner.

"Rashida" channels Queen. "Barbara" is groovy breezy seventies Soul. "Welcome To The Ball" mixes strings and horns charmingly against an ornate harmony backdrop. "Montauk" is a doleful ballad, followed by the gently pulsing "Bitter Tears" (with a lovely wall of harmonies), the slow shuffle of the Country-tinged "Respectable Dive", the upbeat Funky "Perfect man", the ruminative acoustic "Sometimes You Need", the Blues/Pop ballad "Song Of You", and the closing epic ode to his late mother "Candles", almost hymnal in parts with sprinklings of accordion.

A charming collection of songs that grow and grow with repeated listening. Should broaden his fan base introducing more to his spectacular tenor.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique as Rufus has always been, May 2, 2012
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Here's the thing about Rufus - he's a clever song writer with a singing style all of his own. I sometimes think Wainwright was born too late for his musical abilities because I can see myself listening to him while sipping a 20 year old brandy in front of a fireplace with my golden retriever at my feet in a 1920's mansion. Thankfully we get the opportunity to enjoy this unique songwriter with the instantly recognizable voice in his Out of the Game album. With all of the cookie cutter music industry singers now in the music biz it's nice to know that individuality can still be found in the music world and Wainwright provides that with Out of the Game.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rufus Wainwright Back In The Game!, May 1, 2012
This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
Considering Rufus's much flaunted genetic musical pedigree he's always been one of those people I paid more attention to than you might think. I was very much exposed to his early releases such as Rufus Wainwright and Poses when they came out. But they were my mothers CD's,not mine. These albums were very orchestrated cabaret influence baroque pop. One thing I instantly appreciated about him was openly and candidly discussing his homosexuality,with all his youthful and lustful blitzes intact. As he grew creatively as a person he began exploring this music and lyrical subject matter more broadly on his Want 1 & 2,where he had a more mature and sometimes saddening outlook. I must admit while he released other albums after,by 2007 I admit I sort of lost track of him. When I heard he was making an album that not only included the Dap Kings but a more 70's rock and soul type direction I was very excited. In the end the album is far better than even my wildest expectations.

From the opening title track on it's just impressive. The first part that struck me is Rufus's singing,once a rather whiny and slow drawl I honestly never got too into now has simmered into lyrical and very versatile croon. That opener plus the bouncy "Jericho" and "Rashida" definitely where that California pop/rock sound in it's sleeve. The lyrics and songwriting style though are still...Rufus. The soulful "Barbara" and almost polka pop styled "Welcome To The Ball" both benefit from the fluttery synthesizers and strong cinematic productions. "Montauk" is one of the more symphonic tunes here. And the lyric is presented in such a way where you cannot tell if it's about a step father or...a man having a same sex extra marital affair. Well at least I wasn't sure which one. On "Bitter Tears" the Eurodisco,late 70's ABBA concept is laid on thick but the dance beats don't show up until the send of the song. On the slower and more singer/songwriter type numbers "Respectable Dive","Sometimes You Need","Song For You" and the bag pipe powered "Candles" Rufus goes from exploring one his his sinning/redemption themes. Probably with some tongue in cheek on the redemption part a bit but it's there. "Perfect Man" a a great combination of soul and pop/rock as this album has too.

Believe it or not this is the first Rufus Wainwright album I ever bought. This has nothing to do with any dislike of him. It's just that even with people I generally always like,there are some stylistic ventures that appeal to me more than others when it comes to music. Upon previewing this and reading descriptions it was clear this album would be the ideal first Wainwright album for someone with my tastes. Is that a little self serving?Sure maybe. But everyone is guided by their own musical tastes to a degree. To say otherwise would be lying to oneself. Anyway I digress. This album has a big 70's pop/soul/rock type production but it's not the theatrical and occasionally over the top cabaret type orchestral productions that were common on some of Rufus's earlier recordings. He's generally chosen to view his musical career as a journey. He'll go through a specific phase and move onto another influenced to a degree by the one before. There's a lot of progression from his beginnings fifteen years ago to what people will find here. Yes he still has a songwriting,lyrical and vocal style you can always tell from a mile away. But he likes to make it go in different directions. His music has basically been liked subdivided parts of one self. And if so I'm liking where this little division is taking him.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rufus Rediscovers Pop, May 3, 2012
This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
This is near as perfect a match between artist and producer as 2012 has seen. Mark Ronson nudges Rufus Wainwright into Ronson's retro-world just as Rufus writes his most melodic material since his wonderful "Want One." The end result, "Out Of The Game," is just as it's title states; Rufus has reined in his last couple CD's worth of extravagance into a listenable and highly enjoyable album.

He's also as unconventional as ever. "Look at you, suckers," he snorts at the newly out character on the title track, with soul-backing singers. It sounds like conventional pop-soul, but that dark streak subverts the meaning. Same with songs that are self referential ("Rashida," "Barbara"), yet the swirling ABBA synths of "Montauk" change the game completely. Rufus sings to his new daughter about her two dads, in a sly and somber hopeful song about her future, along with a bittersweet, heartfelt verse about his late mother and growing older without her. It's easily the best and most reflective song he's written since "Poses," and made me a fan of Rufus once again.

I have to admit, his last few albums had left me cold; the redo of Judy Garland, the overt arty "All Nights are Days" and I was feeling "Release The Stars" was the artist reaching past his grasp. "Out Of The Game" proves me wrong. Despite all the diversions - and the way he now draws upon them for this album - Wainwright has kept his touch as a masterful singer-songwriter. That's something I wasn't expecting to say, but I'm more than happy to eat my words this time around.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thing of Beauty, May 15, 2012
This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
Most fans of Rufus Wainwright will agree, much as I do, that he has one of the most beautiful voices in music. To me, he has the most beautiful voice in music period. With that said, don't expect this subjective review to look at anything with much objectivity. All I can do is discuss what I hear and how I respond to it. His last album, the somber and stripped down All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, made in the wake of his mother's death featured just his voice coupled with his piano. It was a great showcase for his vocal talent, but the songwriting was lacking and it emerged as one of his weaker efforts. Last year he announced he was working with Mark Ronson (whose producing credits include Adele and Amy Winehouse) and was working on his "poppiest, most danceable" album. After years of loitering in relative obscurity it seemed like Rufus was prepared to be a pop star...But I wondered if the album would be a new, modern sound for him and I questioned how well it would work. Not that "pop" is very far from Rufus' trademark sound in the first place. Well, Ronson's influence is apparent but this is thoroughly a Rufus Wainwright album that happens to feature some of the poppiest songs of his career without going anywhere near "selling out." Rufus may have spoken too soon when he called it his "poppiest, most danceable" album, but if any record in his oeurve makes him a pop star, this would be it. While his sadness over his mother's passing reflected clearly in his last record, his happiness over the birth of his daughter is quite apparent here. This is Rufus rejuvenated.

Out of the Game does not sound like modern pop music or a modern pop record. It sounds like it was lifted straight from the 1970s and Rufus has cited Elton John, David Bowie, and Queen as the album's main influences. It's undeniably Rufus' most accessible album, but it's just poppy enough to attract new fans without alienating old ones.

Like all of his records, it's incredibly eclectic. The title track (also the album's opener) has a country tinge to it, with Rufus crooning the verses before bursting into an operatic chorus. I love this song; my only complaint being that the chorus doesn't fit the song as fluidly. Even Rufus seems to trip over the "look at you, look at you, look at you, look at you suckers" line. My apprehensiveness to this has waned and Out of the Game is a great track, a good choice for a single, and not a far departure from what we typically expect from him.

Jericho is one of the best songs on the record, catchy but not in an overly poppy way. It's somewhere between classic Rufus and this new poppier version. The song's bridge is a thing of beauty vocally, lyrically, and musically. If you want to convince someone to listen to this album, this is a good song to use to help your case. It's hard to listen to this track only once.

Rashida is a Queen-tinged song with soaring, hypnotic vocals. Barbara has a great `70s vibe. Welcome to the Ball recalls the songs of his first album and also stands as one of the best tracks here. Once again, the bridge beginning with "Something in your eyes has made this room a much more brighter place..." is well, quite stunning. Montauk has a swirling, Wizard of Oz-esque melody with lyrics about his daughter one day visiting him and his fiance at their home in Montauk. Bitter Tears is the closest to Rufus' description of the album and is the poppiest song on the record. Heavy on synthesizers, oozing pop it's one of the catchiest songs he's ever done and would be a wise choice for a future single. He follows this with Respectable Dive, a quiet and gorgeous tune with a heavy 1940s atmosphere. You can almost picture him wearing a fedora, singing this song in a smoky club.

Perfect Man may be my favorite tune on the record and one of my favorite Rufus songs ever. To me, this song is pure, unadulterated perfection. From the funky opening chords, to the "thinking over it, over it, how can I get over it..." refrain, to the perfect juxtaposition of the music and vocal prowess of Rufus and Martha Wainwright on the song's haunting chorus. Everytime I listen to this song, the chorus sends shivers up my spine. Will you have the same reaction, or even necessarily like the song? No. But I can't stop raving about it. It's a masterpiece.

Sometimes You Need is a breezy little track; neither particularly special nor forgettable. Song of You took me awhile to appreciate, but is now a standout. Written for his fiance Jorn, the song is a slow jam with a show of vocal gymnastics from Mr. Wainwright. It's a lovely track with humorous, self-aware lyrics. The final track Candles is a nearly 8-minute track for his late mother, with backing vocals from his father Loudon Wainwright III. It's a bit indulgent and I didn't fully appreciate it until seeing Rufus open his San Diego show with the song, performing it acapella while his band slowly filled in the music as the song progressed. Seeing him standing in the dark belting out this song with no musical accompaniment really helped me appreciate it fully.

The iTunes version of the album features a bonus track called WWIII, which can also be purchased separately. It's a song that's been floating around for about a year, only with a few added production flourishes. It's equally as lovely as the more simplistic earlier version and definitely worth acquiring. Out of the Game has also been released in a deluxe edition that features a DVD with Rufus breaking the album down track-by-track, a conversation with Rufus and Mark Ronson, and a performance of what Rashida sounded like in its original form. I can't vouch for the rewatch value of this DVD, but if you're a fan it may be worth it to grab this version.

This is Rufus' seventh album and is certainly his most accessible. I've listened to it countless times since its release and I imagine I'll be listening to it consistently until I temporarily burn myself out on it. This is a huge achievement for Wainwright on a musical, lyrical, and vocal level. Ronson has done a wonderful job producing the vocals and Rufus himself agrees that this is his highest achievement vocally. It's hard to disagree that he's never sounded better. Lyrically, he's always been a mixed bag. His lyrics scarcely rhyme and flip-flop between genius and overdone. That trend is mostly the same here, but I don't think any other album in his discography has such consistently well put-together lyrics. Musically, it's one of his most eclectic. Forgive the teenage vernacular here, but musically it's a total eargasm throughout.

I can't recommend this album highly enough. While I'm rarely interested in more than a few albums released each year, this is my personal favorite of 2012 thus far. It's another piece of brilliance from Rufus Wainwright that has brought joy and beauty to my life and I hope it can do the same for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quality Easy Listening..., July 13, 2012
This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
I bought Rufus's first album in 1998 and fell quickly for his in-love-with-being-love, expressive, operatic style. After that Rufus made some more expressive, if eccentric, albums showcasing his outstanding song-writing talents and great singing voice.

Now, with 'Out of the Game' Rufus seems to have settled completely down to the cosy style of easy listening. At first I was disappointed. However, this is not rubbish easy listening, this is high quality Burt Baccharach kind of easy listening. Most of the songs are well crafted but sound simple relative to his back catalogue. The arrangements are ok but not great. Some songs I like, some I don't. This album is not as expressive as his old albums. There do not seem to be any problems to solve anymore. The singing is relaxed and flawless. The balmy song 'Candles' is the most expressive song on the album and it is the one which got to me first and remains the best song on this album in my view. It is a gem which clearly carries greater weight than the other songs.

In short, with this album I think Rufus reinforces his reputation as an uncommonly clever singer-songwriter but at the same time the distinct loss of his earlier edge (which is absent on this album) will probably disappoint some of his prior followers. For me, the way his musical style has developed is logical. He has matured well.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs a few more listens to grow on me, May 8, 2012
This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
POSES and WANT ONE represents Rufus' best work and since the latter came out, I've yet to completely dive into a Wainwright piece and become totally enthralled. I think Rufus is a unique talent with a keen eye for arrangements and melody, but OUT OF THE GAME contains only a few momentary sparks of brilliance. Despite a return to pop music, his songs lack the hook in either lyrics or melody that draw you in the way that "I Don't Know What It Is" or "Vibrate" still do. These songs beckon and command your attention while the songs on OUT OF THE GAME rarely reach a musical crescendo of any kind; they simply wallow along until they're done and then forgotten. I think he still has it in him to produce an amazing piece of work; this set of tunes just doesn't have the driving sense of urgency or artfulness relfected in his earlier works.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rufus has a mesmerizing voice, and memorable songs, July 10, 2013
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This review is from: Out Of The Game (MP3 Music)
The songs are written well, catchy, yet pensive in ways. He seems meditative and playful at the same time.
His voice is one that demands my attention, has such quality and is smartly sensuous and mood inspiring. "Song of You" is so beautiful in parts, it takes you away... like a kiss.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As usual, magical lyrics & notes!, February 10, 2013
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Andi (reston, va United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Out of the Game (Audio CD)
Not much to say, except Rufus W. has a plaintiff tone to all of his "songs"--wonderful, emotive, empathetic and very comforting/rewarding lyrics and sound.
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Out of the Game
Out of the Game by Rufus Wainwright (Audio CD - 2012)
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