Review: Wainwright goes pop with help of Ronson

Associated Press
In this CD cover image released by Decca, the latest release by Rufus Wainwright, "Out of the Game," is shown. (AP Photo/Decca)
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In this CD cover image released by Decca, the latest release by Rufus Wainwright, "Out of the Game," …

"Out of the Game," Rufus Wainwright (Decca)

Prolific singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright proclaimed after the release of his last album that he was dying to have a pop hit. Who better to team up with to achieve that goal on his latest album "Out of the Game" than Grammy-winning producer Mark Ronson, whose had pop success with artists like Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duran Duran and a string of others.

The change of musical direction seemed like an obvious choice as Wainwright has literally explored every other avenue, from opera and singing Shakespeare's sonnets to covering Judy Garland's classics.

Wainwright achieves his pop dream from the start of the album with the title track. The song is brilliantly jazzy with a catchy riff strummed on an electric guitar and it sounds like Wainwright is really enjoying the song.

"Jericho" uses a range of harmonies infiltrated by blasts of Wainwright's powerful voice to lament a doomed relationship: "Darling I believe you are too sad to cry/Well believe it or not, so am I."

"Montauk" seems more in keeping with Wainwright's previous material. It could have been taken straight from "Want One" or "Want Two." The song is an ode to his daughter Viva, and Wainwright dreams of the day when she will visit his house in Montauk. The song is touchingly personal, mentioning the quirks of Wainwright and his fiancée Jorn Weisbrodt.

CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: "Songs of You" is a highlight, using synth coupled with Wainwright's beautiful lyricism: "There are so many lyrics to choose from/But there is only one of you."

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