Album: Rufus Wainwright, Out of the Game (Polydor)
Wainwright believes this to be "the most pop album" he's ever made, and
he's probably right, so long as you're thinking 1970s pop.
The title-track, addressing maturity and the desire for "something that can't be found on the main drag", has a genial country-pop tone that recalls Bread. There are echoes of Elton and Abba in "Bitter Tears", and Queen in the stodgy pomp-rocker "Rashida". But Rufus can't prevent his inner cabaret crooner taking over on "Barbara" and "Montauk", a cute song anticipating the day his daughter will visit her daddies in civil-partnership bliss. Mark Ronson's production has some interesting touches, notably the Van Dyke Parksian tootling brass on "Welcome to the Ball", and the cowpoke lilt of "Respectable Dive", where twangy guitar – by Wilco's Nels Cline, perhaps – lends it the retro feel of Richard Hawley.
DOWNLOAD THIS Out of the Game; Montauk; Respectable Dive; Candles
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant