I saw Rufus Wainwright in Oxford last year where he performed this album in full before playing another set of songs from his previous albums. It was fantastic. The entire album was played from start to finish and the crowd were asked to remain quiet throughout without applauding in between songs, instead applauding at the end of all of them. I hadn’t experienced that before and I felt like I had been transported back 200 odd years. It was a great experience and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the album.
‘All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu’ consists of Rufus singing while playing piano. That’s all. No band, nothing else. Fantastically minimalistic.
- Who Are You New York?
- So Sad With What I Have
- Give Me What I Want And Give It To Me Now
- True Loves
- Sonnet 43
- Sonnet 20
- Sonnet 10
- The Dream
- What Could I Ever Do With A Rose
- Les Feux D’artifice T’appellent
The first track is probably my favourite on the album and it flows beautifully. ‘Saw you on the corner, saw you in the park, saw you on the platform of Grand Central Station’ are the opening lyrics which are simply sublime. Both the vocals and piano wind fantastically together from start to finish, you can’t help but be pulled into the magnificence. ‘So Sad With What I Have’ strikes you with wonderful melodies sung over a piano that starts and slows down, then as you think it’s about to stop it starts all over again. ‘Martha’ is a tune that contains lyrics that are like a letter to his sister about their mother who was ill at the time of writing the number. Just like the previous two songs, the piano work is absolutely divine and some of the best you’ll ever hear.
The next track ‘Give Me What I Want And Give It To Me Now’ is a more upbeat track with a faster tempo which only makes the piano playing seem more impressive, if that’s possible. It does slow down a minute or so into the track but then it builds up again and you really wish the song would go on for longer than it does. 2 minutes and 9 seconds is far too short for something this good! ‘True Loves’ is a song that returns to the slow and tenderness feel of the first three numbers on the album.
The next three songs are sonnets, adapted from works by William Shakespeare. The lyrics are all by Shakespeare if you’re familiar with the writings, however Wainwright composed all of the music to go with them. The piano in all three sonnets are fantastic by themselves, so put with words by Shakespeare truly make them a work of art. ‘The Dream’ is the longest track on the album, and like every single song previously (and after), the piano is wonderful. The theme is one everybody can relate to, having woken up from a fantastic dream and being back in the real world where things don’t seem to be as good.
With ‘What Would I Ever Do With A Rose’ you can go back to the previous songs title. When listening to this song it feels like you could be in a dream floating around a park. Or that could just be me, it’s a lovely feeling. ‘Les Feux D’artifice T’appellent’ is just as dreamy as the previous song. It’s taken from his opera ‘Prima Donna’ and in the background you can hear tapping which is meant to represent fireworks in the sky. A great effect. ‘Zebulan’ is the final track and it’s a stunning way to end the album. Slow, yet full of melody and emotion.
I’m glad I got to see the entire album played out from start to finish. I doubt it’ll happen again which is a shame, but you can still buy the album to witness it for yourself.