Devils And Angels (Hatred)

Album: Unfollow The Rules (2020)

Songfacts®:

  • Rufus Wainwright is a huge opera buff, and has written two of his own: Prima Donna (2009) and Hadrian (2018). "Devils And Angels (Hatred)" was inspired by the 1777 opera Armide by Christoph Willibald Gluck. Wainwright saw it around 2000 with his mother, the folk singer Kate McGarrigle.

    "It was a bit slow-going at first, but at a certain point, it all sort of clicked," Wainwright told Songfacts. "The opera is about a sorceress who wants to rid love from her heart because it's too cumbersome, shall we say, and it gets in the way of her evil-doing. So, at a certain point, she summons hate. Then there's this wonderful scene where hate personified rises out of the ground and tries to expunge love from her heart. It just really stuck with me. And of course, with what we're dealing with today, all the gods have to gather in these moments! So, we're definitely in a 'baroque' period."
  • Wainwright got help from his sister, Martha, who sang background on the track. His producer, Mitchell Froom, added keyboards. The rest of the personnel is:

    Piano: Thomas Bartlett
    Guitar: Blake Mills
    Drums: Matt Chamberlain
    Violins, Violas: Rob Moose
    Trombone: Nick Daley
  • The video was directed by Wainwright's husband, Jorn Weisbrodt. It finds Rufus wearing an elaborate costume with lots of plumage as he sings on a grey day from a rocky beach.

    "That video, in my mind, will go down as one of the great triumphs of the COVID-19 period, for me, personally, because we shot it the day before lockdown," he told Songfacts. "We had scheduled two days to do the video, but after the first day was done, it was fairly obvious that the world was shutting down and we had to let everybody go. But thankfully, we got a lot of footage on that day, and it was a very ominous day. It was raining, cold, and windy, which in Los Angeles, isn't common. So there was me dressed in that outfit, walking through the streets of LA and on the beach as the pandemic was taking hold of the country."

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