Luckily for Rufus Wainwright, George W. Bush has won a second term. You might be wondering, how can four more years of a gay-bashing Born Again Christian be good for a homosexual Canadian singer-songwriter? Well, for starters, his new album Want Two, the companion to last year’s Want One, won’t sound outdated when it hits stores on November 16th: “There’s a fire in the priory/And an ogre in the Oval Office,” he sings on the song “Waiting For A Dream.” (Okay, so that might be the only good thing, and I’m sure the diva Wainwright would have gladly sacrificed a small bit of lyrical relevance for a new American president, but it’s been a rough few days and I’m trying to find some solace here.) The songs on Two were largely recorded during the same sessions as One, and you get the sense that the best of the bunch were cherry-picked by Wainwright and producer Marius DeVries for the first installment. Still, Two is a stalwart effort. Though One was anything but ordinary, its sequel puts the spotlight on Wainwright’s more classically-arranged compositions, some more indulgent (the nine-minute closing number “Old Whore’s Diet”) than others (the opening track “Agnus Dei,” the sprightly “Little Sister”). The album is also more of a family affair, as Wainwright’s sister Martha has a bigger vocal presence throughout and their mother and aunt make a guest appearance (on harp and accordion, respectively) on the quaint “Hometown Waltz.” Two is also—how should I put this?—gayer than its predecessor: “Gay Messiah” speaks of a savior who will drop from the flyspace of Studio 54 and sunbathe on the beaches of Fire Island; “Waiting For A Dream” flaunts the twisted self-love (or lack thereof) of the gay community (“Yesterday I heard they cloned a baby/Now can I finally sleep with me?”); and never has the pleasure of “cruising” been extolled in such a tasteful context as it is on the gorgeous yet sad “This Love Affair.” There are some things (like self-loathing) another four years of oppression will only serve to bolster.
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