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Sunday, December 16, 2007


ModMusic: Rufus and Judy

Of course it would be foolish to try to match or exceed the genius of Judy Garland...every drag queen from here to Pensacola knows that. At best, one can only emulate her...never surpass her. And it's a good thing Rufus Wainwright realizes that, too. Otherwise, his new 2-CD paean to her legendary concert recording, Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall -- where he recreates her 1961 concert song for song, in the original venue -- would have flopped before it even started.

Wainwright, instead, takes the position of a lifelong fan paying tribute to a major artist...and it's a marvelous conceit, because it allows the listener to share his space vicariously. And we all know how he feels, right? How many young gay boys sang songs into hairbrushes in the privacy of their childhood bedrooms, pretending they were Judy (or Barbra or Cher or Madonna or Whitney or Britney or Rihanna, depending on your age bracket)? Most of us, I'm guessing. (Those with a penchant for music, that is.)

So listening to the CD, suddenly it's not about the size of his voice or the timidity of his banter...it's his commitment to the material, his evident nervous passion, and his determination that gives an unexpected electric thrill to songs that have long been derided as cliche, including the two I've included here for download. Sure, you may laugh at their corniness...but I'll bet that by halfway through each track, you'll be bobbing and singing along. THAT's the Judy magic, come full circle.

Watch Some Videos:
"Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart (Live)", Rufus Wainwright
"Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk (Live)", Rufus Wainwright
"Oh What A World (Live)", Rufus Wainwright
Download (For One Week):
"You Made Me Love You/For Me and My Gal/The Trolley Song", Rufus Wainwright
"That's Entertainment", Rufus Wainwright
Visit: Official Site, Elbo.ws, MySpace, iTunes
Then Buy: Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, Rufus Wainwright

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Blogger jason said...

How wonderful it is to read the word "conceit" in a post about a pop singer and it not (have to be) sarcastic!

That's the genius of Rufus.

And you're right, of course.

12/16/07, 6:43 PM  

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