Exclaim Yourself!

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Milwaukee At Last!!!
Rufus Wainwright
Decca Records

F. SCOTT FITZGERALD famously remarked that over-using the exclamation point is like laughing at your own jokes. If so, singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright is often guilty of such self amusement: On the heels of his 2007 DVD Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy!,Wainwright’s latest is another live album entitled Milwaukee At Last!!!

The exclamation points are quintessentially Wainwright: exuberant, provocative, over-the-top. Who else, after all, would plunk himself smack down in the middle of the Midwest and perform a song like “Going to a Town,” in which he decries American culture as hypocritical and homophobic? “Tell me, do you really think you’ll go to hell for having loved?” he asks. “You took advantage of a world that loved you well/ I’m so tired of you, America.” Wainwright might also be the most important gay musician at work today, not withstanding Elton John and George Michael. John himself, removing the modifier “gay,” has praised Wainwright as the “greatest songwriter on the planet.”

Milwaukee At Last!!! was recorded in 2007

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