Magazine article Newsweek

Little Boy Blue: Bohemian Poet Wainwright Sings the Life of a Damaged Dandy

Magazine article Newsweek

Little Boy Blue: Bohemian Poet Wainwright Sings the Life of a Damaged Dandy

Article excerpt

If you love listening to the sensitive singer-songwriter who taps your deepest feelings in so many heart-wrenching lines, Rufus Wainwright is not your man. The pouty-lipped son of folk royalty Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle is far too self-absorbed to care about reaching the inner you. Instead, he's the witty scenester spotted bantering with celebrities at the most fabulous parties. The foppish, tortured artist who looks like a Kenneth Cole model. Frankly, the dashing 27-year-old is not interested in speaking to you because he's busy looking over your shoulder for something, or someone, far grander.

That's why his second album, "Poses," finds Wainwright in his element. Appropriating the spirit of a Broadway musical, he spins the tale of a creature very much like himself: a handsome gay man who comes to New York to be recognized as the star he knows he is. But the character soon becomes lost in his own desire and ego, his lofty aspirations melting into a swill of alcohol and self-loathing. He hits the city in a "red fetching leather jacket," degenerating into the tousled mess who's "drunk and wearing flip-flops down Fifth Avenue." His love for excess eventually finds him living a life sustained by cigarettes, chocolate milk and the company of down-and-out drag queens.

Wainwright's quavering, melodramatic voice adds cabaret-style highs to "Poses," while his weary, lilting moments keep the album grounded. His lyrics are literate, witty and biting, making him a writer more in line with Oscar Wilde or Cole Porter than any of his guitar-strumming contemporaries. …

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