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I was excited to pick up Rufus Wainwright’s new album, Release the Stars, which came out today. As soon as I got up, I opened iTunes to download it so I could listen to it as I wrote this morning. I’ve been listening to the first single, “Going to a Town” (the video for it is above), for a couple weeks now and liked it.

The full album, I’m pleased to say, lives up to the promise of that single. Wainwright has a knack for building complex, dramatic melodies that can just sweep you away. Songs like “Do I Disappoint,” “Between My Legs” and “Slideshow” sound like they should be part of some Rufus musical, and I love that. “Between My Legs” even features a bit of The Phantom of the Opera overture, which just adds to the dramatic flair.

Fans, of course, will flock to this album (I’ve been a fan since his self-titled debut came out in 1998… all it took was to hear “Imaginary Love” and I was hooked). Those who aren’t familiar should find this album to be a good introduction to all things Rufus.