Release The Stars
REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/06/2007
“Slow Grower” is defined as a work most commonly found gathering dust at the bottom of one’s CD rack that grows on you once you finally begin to play it.
I fear for the future of Release the Stars; this is not an album along the lines of Maroon 5’s new record, It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. Whereas that record is appealing from the very first spin, Release the Stars reveals its beauty and depth slowly but surely. That fact alone could drive some with short attention spans to toss the album aside.
Were this situation to occur, the listener would miss out on an excellent record. Release the Stars is a major statement by one of the leading singer-songwriters. Each lyric is delicately worded to express Wainwright’s exact sentiment, while the music is lush and rich.
The “hooks” of Release The Stars do not make themselves readily apparent; hence the difficulty upon first listens. Once one has acclimated to Wainwright’s unique style, they come in droves. A chord there, a slight affectation of the vocal there; so many of these subtle moments are more rewarding than half the music out there today.
The incredibly exotic beat of the opener “Do I Disappoint You” echoes the experimentation of The Beatles and Stones in the Sgt. Pepper era. “Tiergarten” plays out as an outtake from Pet Sounds, with its distinct instrumentation. Wainwright also demonstrated a clear love for Broadway in the charming closing title track.
Whether it’s the vitriol directed towards the United States in “Going To A Town,” or the pure poetry of “Nobody’s Off The Hook,” Wainwright clearly demonstrates skill as a lyricist unfettered by the use of clichés and simple rhymes. Just examine this short passage, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. “I'm going to a town that has already been burnt down / I'm going to a place that has already been disgraced / I'm gonna see some folks who have already been let down / I'm so tired of America.”
Whether or not Wainwright ever becomes popular is a moot question. His work stands out above his peers, setting the bar very high. We’re looking at a potential album of the year candidate here.