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Rock - Released January 1, 1998 | DreamWorks

What separates Rufus Wainwright and the other second-generation singers who sprang up at the same time (Sean Lennon, Emma Townshend, and Chris Stills the most notable among them) is that Wainwright deserves to be heard regardless of his family tree; in fact, the issue of his parentage is ultimately as immaterial as that of his sexuality -- this self-titled debut cares little for the rock clichés of an earlier generation, instead heralding the arrival of a unique and compelling voice steeped most solidly in the traditions of cabaret. Like his folks, Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, he's a superb songwriter, with a knack for elegantly rolling piano melodies and poignantly romantic lyrics; while the appearance of Van Dyke Parks and his trademark orchestral arrangements hints at an affinity for the pop classicism of Brian Wilson or Randy Newman, the vocals come straight out of opera, and although Wainwright is unlikely to be starring in La Boheme anytime soon, he conveys the kind of honest emotion sorely lacking in the ironic posing of many of his contemporaries. Maybe the kids are alright after all. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2001 | DreamWorks

Talented chamber pop troubadour Rufus Wainwright followed up his startlingly fresh debut album with the 2001 release Poses. While his self-titled first album was very much a work by Wainwright (aided by his contributing producers), Poses seems to be more of a group effort, with the young composer allowing the other performers on the album to lend their talents, creating an even fuller, more "live" sound. Both Wainwright's younger sister Martha and son of British folk near-legends Richard and Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson contribute harmony vocals which soar above Rufus' affecting moan like the choir he must hear in his head. Produced by Pierre Marchand (Sarah McLachlan), the album continues the same outstretched, enveloping sound established by Wainwright's earlier work, but contributors like contemporary composer Damian le Gassick and Propellerheads' Alex Gifford push in different directions, adding understated drum loops and gritty beats in unexpected places. Above all of the studio gimcrackery and pedigreed guest stars floats Wainwright himself, whose introspective, wry, and heart-wrenching songwriting remains his true strength (although his leisurely operatic tenor is not far behind). The clunking, loping "Greek Song" evokes the sprawl of an impossible Ingmar Bergman spaghetti Western, while the swaggering "California" shows a sunny exterior masking the song's satirical sneer. Amidst this sonic barrage, a high point comes in the cover of patriarch Loudon Wainwright III's "One Man Guy." Performed by Rufus, Martha, and Teddy Thompson's simple acoustic guitar, these three grown children of the '70s folk movement embrace the song faithfully, basking in their own harmonies and offering a respite from the blissfully lush orchestral pop that surrounds it. While Poses shows growth and worthwhile exploration, the album's "group" feel suffers only slightly from being less intimate than Wainwright's first album. Although his contributors add much, there was something blushingly personal about his debut that may have gotten a little buried this time around. That being said, Poses is still a spectacular album, brimming over with Wainwright's trademark popera and young romantic wishes. At times the album is beautifully discordant and sonically chilling, but often hints at warm grins with mischievous winks. © Zac Johnson /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2005 | Geffen

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Pop - Released March 3, 2014 | Artists Den Records

Rufus Wainwright's 2014 concert album Live from the Artist's Den features the acclaimed singer/songwriter performing at the historic N.Y.C. church turned theater space on May 17, 2012. Backed by a live ensemble replete with keyboards and horns, Wainwright runs through a hefty cross section of material from throughout his discography. Much of the material on Live from the Artist's Den is drawn from Wainwright's '70s-influenced 2012 studio album, Out of the Game. However, he has crafted a nicely flowing set list that includes songs from as far back as 2001's Poses. Joining Wainwright here are several notable guest artists including longtime friend guitarist/vocalist Teddy Thompson (son of Richard & Linda Thompson), vocalist Krystle Warren, and producer/vocalist Mark Ronson. Wainwright's distinctive, resonant voice is in fine form here, especially on such emotionally charged tracks as covers of his father's (Loudon Wainwright III) "One Man Guy" and his mother's (the late Kate McGarrigle) "On My Way to Town." This is an organic, gorgeously produced concert with full arrangements of Wainwright's often classically influenced compositions. © Matt Collar /TiVo