All Days Are Night: Songs For Lulu
This is more a philosophical question than anything else, but what’s the opposite of a work of art growing on you over time? Can we agree to use “shrinking”? If so, then Rufus Wainwright’s new album, All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu, shrinks on you. It shrinks on you until you feel confident you could fit it comfortably in your wallet or even use it as a toothpick.
It’s doubtful that if Wainwright were to read this review, it would hurt his feelings or affect him at all. By releasing All Days Are Nights, he’s already made it perfectly clear he doesn’t really care what anyone else thinks. This is a very personal album—the first since the death of his mother in January of this year. It’s Wainwright, a piano and nothing else. It’s naked. It’s bare. It’s just the essentials.
And it’s not very good.
Maybe the problem is that the album is too personal. The album cover is Wainwright’s eye staring out at you. The lyrics are written in his scrawling handwriting. There’s a song about his sister. There’s one sung in French. This album is a diary, though not a very interesting one.
Wainwright can do better than this—just look at past albums like Poses and Want One. Other than one two-minute long blast of ragtime—“Give Me What I Want and Give It to Me Now!”—there’s no variety to the album. There are no crescendos, no peaks or valleys. It’s a straight line all the way through, which, as we all know from watching medical dramas on TV, can only mean one thing—the lack of a pulse.