This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
“So what if I like pretty things?” Rufus Wainwright pouts midway through his through album. So what, indeed.
After all, that’s not going to come as a surprise to anyone who’s familiar with Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle’s little boy. His first two albums were filled to the brim with lush, theatrical pop ballads and languid crooning. Not surprisingly, Want One — the first half of a set — offers another profusion of musical prettiness. As the band vamps, the orchestra swells and the ballroom dancers twirl in the background, Wainwright swoons over his grand piano perched atop a cloud, putting the back of his hand to his forehead and spinning grandly melancholic tales of lost love, lost years and lost opportunities, performed with the sort of flamboyant romanticism and playful creativity last heard from in mid-’70s classics from Elton John and Harry Nilsson. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure what Rufus is so continually bummed out about. But as long as his misery produces music as intoxicating and beautiful as this, I don’t really give a damn.