This is a track from Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets, a studio album by Rufus Wainwright featuring adaptations of a selection of William Shakespeare's sonnets. The tribute record commemorates the 400th anniversary of the great bard's death.
Sonnet 29 is part of a collection of 154 Shakespeare sonnets, which were first published in 1609. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man; the last 28 to a woman. In Sonnet 29, the depressed speaker bemoans his status as an outcast and failure but feels better upon thinking of his beloved.
This was the first of Shakespeare's sonnets that Wainwright took on. It dates back to the when the late Michael Kamen asked him to write a version of Sonnet 29. Over the years that followed similar requests came in and three of the resulting sonnets appeared on Wainwright's 2010 album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu.
This song is a collaboration with Florence + The Machine's Florence Welch. The English singer supplies the main vocals while Wainwright and Ben de Vries are the backing vocalists.
Rufus Wainwright knew straight away that he wanted to work with Florence Welch on the project. "The minute I looked at her, I was like, 'Wow, she's a Shakespearean character in high heels.' So she was a definite, he told Jam! Music. "I wanted people with a lot of attitude and a lot of edge with a theatrical bent."
The metal group Deafheaven derived their name from a lyric in this sonnet ("And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries").