Mandatory Music: Rufus Wainwright Returned to LA For ‘Unfollow the Rules,’ His First Pop Album In 8 Years

Rufus Wainwright has music coursing through his veins. Born to folk singers Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, he became a musician just like his sister Martha Wainwright and his half-sister Lucy Wainwright Roche. Known for his audacious lyrics, operatic vocals, and masterful arrangements, Wainwright has wowed listeners since his self-titled album dropped in 1998.

But for someone who has lived his whole life immersed in musical talent, he took an awfully long time in between albums – eight years to be exact. And he returned to Los Angeles, where his music career took off, to record his latest LP, Unfollow the Rules.

“I’ll always love it here because they accepted me at the outset,” Wainwright told NPR. “And this record, I decided to make again here; it just sort of created a bit of a bookend to my first record and complete a circle of sorts.”

The themes on Unfollow the Rules are surprisingly domestic. Wainwright honors his longtime marriage to Jörn Weisbrodt in the hummable “Peaceful Afternoon,” in which he prays his partner’s face is the last one he sees.

He serenades his daughter in the sweet and short “My Little You,” telling her, “Don’t let anybody out here / Tell you what you gotta do here.”

And he pokes fun at the fashion industry in “Trouble in Paradise.”

Despite its title suggesting a break from form, Unfollow the Rules sticks to the classic Wainwright sound. It’s less of a departure from previous recordings and more of a return to the style that made music lovers fall in love with him. Put it on at your next dinner party or anytime you need a little audible elegance (with a side of sarcasm) in your life.

Cover Photo: Presley Ann / Stringer (Getty Images)

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