Few artists manage the difficult feat of retaining a signature sound throughout a long career, all the while being diverse enough to be considered experimental. His last album – All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu, ventured into realms of familiarity with Rufus going solo behind a grand piano, and what usually represented some of the strongest moments in his past works ultimately wasn’t enough to hold an entire album together, sounding disjointed and unpolished, not the work people had come to expect from such an accomplished artist.
Out of the Game is thankfully an album title steeped in irony, as Wainwright delivers an album akin to his previous work, exhibiting maturity and confidence, resulting in highly focused album. There are moments within that are equal parts daring, yet familiar – such as Wainwright’s ability to meta-reference through his lyrics, like in the closing moments of Rashida (I’d like to thank you Rashida / For giving me a reason to call Miss Portman / And to write this song) – and the grandiose orchestral arrangements paired with modern instrumental styling, making use of fuzz laden guitar tones, and dreamy synthetic arpeggios.
Although there is something that seems oddly impersonal in Out of the Game, compared to past works such as Poses, Want One and Want Two, this is the trade-off one must pay in becoming a well-rounded and self assured; as with many great artists, their strongest work is usually the result of an inner turmoil, of which Wainwright’s was well documented. That being said, Out of the Game represents a passion and desire to create and be different, and in those respects, Wainwright has succeeded in making a palatable experience.
Tweeted Review score 3.5/5