Album: Poses (2001)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Poses" is the title track to Rufus Wainwright's second album, which he wrote in New York City while living in the Chelsea Hotel. Wainwright, the son of the singer-songwriters Kate McGarrigle and Loudon Wainwright III, first tried his luck in New York in the early '90s but ran headlong into grunge, which as a self-proclaimed "opera-loving dandy gay boy," didn't suit his style. He made his self-titled debut album, released in 1998, in Los Angeles, then moved back to New York with a heap of critical adulation and a musical landscape that had shifted to more eclectic, nuanced music.

    Wainwright took advantage of the cultural and social opportunities the city afforded, and also got into drugs, specifically crystal meth. In "Poses," he's singing about temptation and that feeling of being a few steps away from collapse.
  • Wainwright didn't write this song about himself - at least not consciously - but it ended up being on the nose. Speaking with Rolling Stone, he explained: "There was a friend of mine, sort of an acquaintance. Someone I was romantically obsessed with, this impossible love. He was pretty much a prostitute, and a drug addict, and gorgeous. I wrote the song about him, but it's fascinating how little it really is about him at all, and how much it is about myself."
  • Wainwright launched his first headlining tour in 2002 after the album was released, and later that year, the drugs caught up with him, as he feared. He ended up in rehab, which gave him material for his next album, Want One, in 2003.
  • Rufus did the string arrangement on this song and played the piano. His sister, Martha Wainwright, sang backing vocals.

Comments: 2

  • The R from Hoboken, NjActually, it's about the gay boys scene in NY. Everyone goes out and just "poses"
  • Chris from Philadelphia, Pai'd have to say my favorite line from this song is "theres never been such grave a matter as comparing our new brand name black sunglasses"

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