Unfollow the Rules, Rufus Wainwright's ninth studio LP and first new pop album since 2012, finds the artist at the peak of his powers, entering artistic maturity with passion, honesty, and a new-found fearlessness while remaining as creative, bold, and mischievous as ever. Produced by Mitchell Froom (Crowded House, Paul McCartney, Richard Thompson, Suzanne Vega, Randy Newman) at a variety of legendary Los Angeles studios - including Sound City Studios, United Recording, and EastWest Studios - the album serves as both bookend to Act I of an extraordinary career which, like Unfollow The Rules, began in the studios of Los Angeles, but also now as the first lines of a remarkable new chapter.
Inspired by middle age, married life, fatherhood, friends, loss, London, and Laurel Canyon, songs like "Only The People That Love" and the spirited, symphonic "Hatred" find the gifted singer-songwriter ready to tackle new challenges, yet compelled to confront his past by making sense of how he has grown both as a musician and the contended family man he has become. "What I would like this album to symbolize is a coming together of all the aspects of my life which have made me a seasoned artist," says Wainwright. "My aim is to emulate the greats of yore whose second acts produced their finest work - Leonard Cohen when he made The Future, when Sinatra became Sinatra in his 40s, when Paul Simon put out Graceland. Pop music isn't always about your waistline. Many songwriters improve with age. I'm flying the flag for staying alive!"
Unfollow the Rules is preceded by the romping first single, "Trouble In Paradise," a rhythmically complex track which was greeted by unanimous acclaim, with Rolling Stone enthusing, "Over lush pop rock orchestration reminiscent of Billy Joel, Wainwright saunters through a vocal performance that lends a lavish edge to his wry lyrics." "The new song dazzles, dances and blossoms into something altogether delightful," declared Cool Hunting. "Wainwright fans will be pleased." The Times of London hailed "Trouble In Paradise" for its "soaring harmonies and woozy romanticism," while the Montreal Gazette simply raved, "steeped in lush, soulful harmonies and backed by slow, steady, country-tinged beat, it's a classic Wainwright torch song."
Wainwright calls fellow single "Damsel In Distress," - "an homage to Joni Mitchell in some ways, particularly the structure. My husband and I now live in Laurel Canyon. I wasn't that familiar with Joni's music but Jörn became obsessed and took me on a journey into her music. We ended up hanging out with her and I get now why she's one of the greats. So it's part Laurel Canyon, part a song about a personal relationship that I'm trying to come to terms with, but mostly my Mitchell virginity being broken."
- Trouble In Paradise
- Damsel In Distress
- Unfollow The Rules
- You Ain't Big
- Romantical Man
- Peaceful Afternoon
- Only the People That Love
- This One's For The Ladies (That Lunge!)
- My Little You
- Early Morning Madness
- Alone Time