Skip to content

Rufus Wainwright – Want Two (2004)

April 22, 2020

[Album 755/1001]

How long does it take for you to get from one syllable to another?

Maybe a second?

Kudos to Rufus Wainwright for setting the new 1001-list standard for most time elapsed between 2 syllables.

With Agnus Dei, he obliterated the record previously held by Kid Rock (who, on Bawitdaba, managed to stretch his stage name, Kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiid Rock, into double digits).

A noteworthy achievement though that may have been, Kid Rock was only holding 1 (screamed) note for 10 seconds.

On the opening lyric of Want Two, Rufus manages to extend the Latin word, Agnus, into an astonishing 16 seconds, taking the listener on a meandering note journey along the way!


Agnus Dei


Meandering journey likely describes the voyage from track-to-track on this album as well.

It jumps from the Hymn-esque opener (Agnus Dei), to somewhere approximating a meeting of Radiohead’s Exit Music for a Film / Modest Mouse’s Dashboard (The One You Love), before arriving at something resembling a gentle musical theatre number, not unlike Funny Honey from Chicago (Peach Trees).220px-Rufus_Want_Two

And that’s only the opening 3 tracks!

More impressively, throughout the genre-hopping, the performance level is consistent & he always sounds unmistakably like Rufus Wainwright.

David Bowie notwithstanding. I can’t think of too many artists that can consistently sound so different from album-to-album (let alone track-to-track), yet somehow always sound like themselves.


Verbalize the Positive

When someone is explaining something, I tend to appreciate when they make their points efficiently.

However, when someone is singing something, I tend to enjoy when people take their time arriving at notes (like Bing Crosby swooping into seemingly every note in White Christmas).

Rufus’ fabulous vocal wandering here makes Bing look relatively succinct!

From → 2000s

  1. jprobichaud permalink

    I loved Rufus Wainwright’s self-titled debut, even the next one, but sort of lost interest after that. Don’t think I ever listened to Want two. Amazing voice though.

    • He’s likely one of those artists (George Michael’s another one that comes to mind) where even if you don’t care for the songs, you can’t help but admire those soaring notes!

  2. I got this out of a cutout bin, I always think I need Want One to complete the set. Also shares the penchant for dress wearing with Bowie.

    • Both of them made the original version of the 1001 list – and both are good in my books!
      It’s been ages since I’ve listened to Want One, some strong standout tracks on that one. I don’t know if it’s one of those doubles I’d want to listen to back-to-back in one sitting though

  3. 16 seconds for time elapsed between a syllable. Mighty impressive. I think you should try that when school resumes! haha. Make sure you put it up on Zoom.

    • Have you seen Brooklyn 99, Deke?
      There’s a good episode where to show you’re in charge of a meeting, the advice was to pause dramatically mid-sentence. I have a feeling if I paused/held one syllable for 16 seconds, if I still held anyone’s attention, that would be a modest success!

  4. Tool have one in Tge Grudge that lasts about 25 seconds

    • That would set the new standard, Jimmy!
      I’m surprised Tool doesn’t have an album on the 1001, they’re sort of their own genre & with the creative videos, I would have thought they’d be acknowledged

  5. I like your thinking here Geoff. How about the way Axl elongates his vowels? Heaven’s Door is the track I’m thinking about.

    • Hay, hay , hay hay hay!
      Yes, he would be a contender too – I’d also give Liam Gallagher credit for adding several vowels to the word ‘sunshine’ by singing it ‘son-sheeeeeeeeine’

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. 191 albums in 1 year! | 1001albumsin10years
  2. 2000-2005 | 1001albumsin10years

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: