Album Review: Rufus Wainwright – Unfollow The Rules

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Rufus Wainwright’s Unfollow The Rules is his first pop album since 2012.  He has one of the most beautiful voices of our times, and vocally this may be of his best albums.  But between the quarantine and gloomy weather, it was very hard to listen and really enjoy it because it was rather melancholic.

As I listened to Unfollow The Rules for the 4th time, the thing that stuck with me is that it’s really nothing new.  He has mentioned being influenced by Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen   (Cohen is the grandfather of Wainwright’s daughter) in several interviews and the album does feel dated in that sense. ‘Romantical Man’ was basically Billy Joel in the 70’s.  In his own words, the track ‘Alone Time’ is an old school record, but that could be said about the entire collection, consistently old-timey. 

Not to say there weren’t any gems.  The title track is haunting and will probably become a personal favourite. But much of the album is unfortunately forgettable (and in the case of ‘You Ain’t Big’, inane). 

Unfollow the Rules isn’t necessarily something that will excite anyone who is on the fence or draw listeners who haven’t heard of him before. But if you already love Rufus Wainwright, this will not disappoint.

Best: Unfollow The Rules,  Peaceful Afternoon 
Worst: You Ain’t Big,  This One’s for the Ladies (that lunge) 

The album originally scheduled to be released on April 24th has been postponed until July 10th.

Tara Carson

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