Out of the Game - Rufus Wainwright

Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31
  1. Apr 19, 2012
    It's full of breathtakingly beautiful harmonies and spiralling narrative lyrics that balance complex emotional subject matter with pitch-perfect delivery and hummable melodies
  2. 91
    If Out of the Game sounds old-fashioned, Wainwright's words feel like postcards from now.
  3. May 1, 2012
    On Out of the Game, Wainwright does not disappoint: whirling string sections and a chorus of women exhale grief behind the brash songwriter who knows no shade of blue that eludes him.
  4. 88
    This ability to maneuver through complex emotions is one of Wainwright's strengths and makes "Out of the Game" an essential recording.
  5. Apr 24, 2012
    Out of the Game is melodically smart and consistently rewarding.
  6. May 1, 2012
    Out Of The Game is one of the latter, joining Poses and Release The Stars as the Wainwright album most likely to disarm listeners less inclined to appreciate his occasional forays into the operatic, theatrical, or maudlin.
  7. May 15, 2012
    Not every moment is seamless, but the results are fascinating and, more importantly, enthralling from beginning to end.
  8. May 3, 2012
    This album is one of his most classicist, not classical, pop records and in that sense, Out of the Game is definitely a winner.
  9. 80
    He's got it all here: fun pop trifles, moody love songs, masterful opuses of mourning and love.
  10. May 1, 2012
    Masterful... this new album marks a return to the pop chops and killer hooks that initially made Wainwright so celebrated.
  11. Apr 30, 2012
    It's his best since 2003's ornate Want One.
  12. Apr 25, 2012
    At 38, Rufus's star moment appears to have finally arrived. [May 2012, p.108]
  13. Apr 24, 2012
    A surprisingly effective 21st century take on the Seventies singer-songwriter album, with tight band performances from the likes of the Dap-Kings and sympathetic production from the king of the trumpets.
  14. This is jouncey, mostly R&B-derived pop with a keen ear for what supports a melody. It's good.
  15. Apr 20, 2012
    Rufus reins in his extravagant tendencies for a subtly shaded, seductive album that radiates warmth and contentment. [May 2012, p.84]
  16. Apr 20, 2012
    Ronson and Wainwright have dressed these songs to kill, not just to impress. [May 2012, p.84]
  17. Apr 20, 2012
    It seems churlish to complain about songwriting and production as madly ambitious as this – filled with nuance and detail, sweeping and dizzy in its self-absorption, it builds at moments to an operatic grandeur.
  18. Apr 19, 2012
    The tracks where he and Ronson contribute equally can be stunning. Rashida, for one, is a gem, in which Ronson's Dap-Kings horn section finds perfect, sleazy symmetry with Wainwright's louche vocal.
  19. Apr 18, 2012
    Wainwright and Ronson come together with a well-mannered tightness and proficiency that, at best, astounds.
  20. May 1, 2012
    Thanks in part to retro-modern producer Mark Ronson, it never feels too arch.
  21. Apr 19, 2012
    Out of the Game is very much a master class in restraint. Rather than straining for the big choruses, here Wainwright intones over smooth backings, horns and the gospel harmonies of Brooklyn soul-stirrers The Dap-Kings.
  22. Apr 18, 2012
    When Wainwright falters, it's for familiar reasons, usually some combination of overindulging and oversharing.
  23. Oct 9, 2012
    Mark Ronson's production keeps the theatricality tight, surfacing in the skittered beats of "Perfect Man," but Out of the Game presents Wainwright shedding some of the foolishness of youth, even if somewhat reluctantly.
  24. May 30, 2012
    Wainwright shows that his pop legs, while shaky, haven't lost their footing. [No.87 p.60]
  25. Jul 9, 2012
    Out Of The Game is a pretty mellow affair, and although it's hard not to miss Wainwright's "ponderous, pseudo-genius" extravagance, one can't help but be charmed by how lucid and relaxed he sounds. [Jun 2012, p.156]
  26. Apr 23, 2012
    The results are undeniably classy.
  27. Apr 20, 2012
    It's audaciously hit and miss, inevitably, but 'Out Of The Game' is anything but shy and retiring.
  28. 60
    Rufus Wainwright believes this to be "the most pop album" he's ever made, and he's probably right, so long as you're thinking 1970s pop.
  29. Apr 19, 2012
    A record that leaves no seam un-burst in its insatiable quest for mainstream adoration and success.
  30. Jul 31, 2012
    What really makes this album the disappointment that it is is not the songs that wallow in the background. It's relistening to his earlier work that puts it into perspective.
  31. Apr 30, 2012
    His most ridiculous and worst album to date.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Jun 16, 2012
    Rufus Wainwright's Out of the Game is a great album that echos 70's pop music but with a very modern feel. Easily his most accessible album Rufus meshes fun melodies with beautiful lyrics. It is a ray of sunshine after his previous entry Songs for Lulu, but toned down from Release the Stars which is right where Rufus needs to be. He is emotionally exposed but still letting the music be fun and expansive. This is easily his best album since Poses and proves that Rufus is certainly not out of the game...terribly corny. Full Review »
  2. May 12, 2012
    The marriage of Rufus Wainwright and Jon Ronson is inspired. This is Rufus' most complete, and most accessible album. Jericho, Rashida and Montauk are instantly catchy and hummable, however after a few listens (as with all great albums), the other songs reveal themselves as individual marvels - "Song of You" and "Candles" bringing the album to a wonderfully touching close. The influence of Mark Ronson is strong - the cleanest production of a Rufus album yet, coupled with much clearer enunciation of the words (overcoming his occasional tendency to drawl), highlight not only the incredible range of Rufus' voice, but also the simple beauty of the lyrics. My only disappointment was that the Guy Chambers-produced bonus track WWIII is only available on iTunes - it would have been nice to have included it on the album (or at least on the deluxe version). It is a wonderful tune and sits perfectly in with the overall feel of the album. My re-burnt version of the CD, has this song nestled in cosily between "Montauk" and "Bitter Tears".
    It will be wonderful to see these songs performed live at his concerts over the coming months - I've got my ticket, go get yours!!
    Full Review »
  3. May 2, 2012
    A Wonderful record and honestly, my best since 'want 1'! He has cut down on all the flamboyancies of his previous efforts and has produced a beautifully melodic album!! Ive picked up hints of Abba, queen, elton John...but all with that Rufus wainwright twist!!...this is a grower.... Full Review »