Rufus Wainwright: Want One

Song: “Vibrate

There are two camps in the Rufus Wainwright debate among my friends. Those who love him, and those who love the idea of him. I’m in the latter half.


Adam said, “I love his songs, but I wish someone else was singing them.” I understand that. A little Rufus goes a long way. But there’s a mood he hits, when everything feels horrible and overwhelming, that you can take the sound of his mourning over and over and over. That’s when you know Rufus has it way worse than you, somehow. Even though his family is all famous and talented, they’re apparently all also crazy. And you can hear it in his voice, the sound of so many nights awake and tearful, where the only true anxiety you can focus on is fretting over if you’ll run out of cigarettes and wine before you pass out.

This is one of his songs that I appreciate for its humor, for the way he’s laughing at the pain of it all. Because when things get so bad, sometimes there’s no alternative but to force yourself to laugh. I learned this yesterday from someone, who was giving advice on dealing with emotions. She said to first feel everything, do whatever it is you need to do — cry, laugh, scream, eat something, whatever (Example: Turn it into an entry about Rufus Wainwright). Then find the truth in it — what part really happened (ex: i fell off my bike when riding back to the building because the wind blew up my skirt and I was trying not to flash everybody on the ER set, so I hit the curb and fell). Then, find the part that’s probably not true (ex: The guy in the truck who asked me if I was okay laughed at me for the rest of the day, went home and told his family about the girl who ate shit by the emergency bay, and I became known as “Bike Girl” to everybody on the set). Then, find something in it that’s funny (ex: The entire moment was pretty hilarious, me trying to hold my skirt down as my bike careened into the curb, sending me and my skirt flying. But the best was that I was wearing sunglasses. So cool.) Then: figure out a way to make sure that doesn’t happen again (Today I tied my sweater around my waist so I had something to weigh down the front of my skirt. I looked silly, but nobody saw my goodies.)

But then Rufus Wainwright is really for the times you’re in the kind of pain that laughs at a four-part healing process. All you can do for that misery is listen to music, loudly and constantly, identifying with every word, wondering how you’re going to stop feeling like you’re lying at the bottom of something cavernous.