In 1998, Rufus Wainwright released his debut album, which he named Rufus Wainwright. By 2011, he had released six studio albums, so naturally the time was right for a box set. House of Rufus contained 19 discs. It included each studio album, two previously-released live albums, collections of songs performed with other artists, songs from soundtrack albums, DVDs of concerts and a documentary about the opera he wrote. It also included a hard cover 90 page book.
Rufus seldom does anything small. His motto seems to be “Go big or go home.” Sometimes I find that off-putting the first couple of times I hear a song of his, but after repeated listenings the melody and the lyrics sink in and I no longer notice the ornate production.
His first album didn’t grab me on my initial listen. Some months after I bought it, MTV was having a special weekend during which they showed music videos. They showed Rufus’ “April Fools” video a handful of times that weekend, and it hit me. I put the album back on and its magic came through. It was practically glued to my CD player for months to follow.
Today Rufus Wainwright turns 41 years old. To celebrate, Tunes du Jour presents a Rufus Wainwright playlist, focusing on his debut album, my #39 album of all-time.