Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Entertainment Weekly
    If Sondheim had been reared on old Van Dyke Parks records, he might sound like this. [26 Sep 2003, p.94]
  2. Q Magazine
    The musical scope is breathtaking. [Dec 2003, p.139]
  3. Uncut
    Takes his lush, orchestrated pop to staggering new heights. [Nov 2003, p.124]
  4. This is a record of breathtaking, eccentric opulence.
  5. More scattered than his past works, Wainwright's skills bubble to the surface here only after repeated listens.
  6. Want One blows his music up to Cinemascope size.
  7. It's a staggeringly ambitious album with an emotional complexity the like of which is rarely seen in pop music of any era, never mind this one.
  8. Mojo
    Despite such flamboyant touches, the songs here are more caustic than camp. [Oct 2003, p.120]
  9. Whether you listen closely, for the sonic textures, or in a cursory fashion, scouting out the allusions galore, with each listen you'll likely appreciate something different.
  10. Painful as the backstory gets, the work itself remains lovely and luxuriant.
  11. Wainwright’s powers of observation recall both Morrissey and Cole Porter.
  12. Rufus is self-effacing and clever enough to keep the music from becoming totally insipid.
  13. A top-heavy album, with his best material-- the more operatic and unconstrained works-- all unfolded within the album's first half hour.
  14. Want One matches the eclecticism of Poses and his eponymous debut, but suffers from a lack of memorable songs.
  15. Unlike his previous two releases, Wainwright's musings seem less focused and a little meandering on a handful of the songs.
  16. Spin
    The arrangements are so ponderous, the vowel-masticating vocal languor so excessive, you almost wish he'd go whole hog and cover "Ave Maria." [Nov 2003, p.117]
  17. Blender
    He lays it on so thick, the music all but drowns in pretty surfaces. [Oct 2003, p.129]
  18. It would seem Wainwright has traded his operatic sensibilities for Broadway flair, which is as tired as swapping stilettos for orthopedic loafers.
  19. All but a couple of tracks here are dipped in the melodramatically thick strings of the opener- and the sum result is that it’s almost too much to take the whole LP in one sitting.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 42 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 37 out of 42
  2. Negative: 2 out of 42
  1. DaveV
    Dec 4, 2009
    If it were not for a couple of clunker tracks, the album as a whole would have been a perfect work of art.
  2. GeorgeC.
    Jul 16, 2009
    There are moments of brilliance and moments of mediocrity on this album. Unfortunately the mediocre tunes trumpet their own brilliance, while There are moments of brilliance and moments of mediocrity on this album. Unfortunately the mediocre tunes trumpet their own brilliance, while the brilliant ones are self-effacing by comparison. The orchestral arrangements are gloppy and tawdry, and are applied luxuriantly, like stage makeup, where they are most sorely needed. Unadorned gems like "Vibrate" and "Natasha" compare extremely well. Full Review »
  3. RobbieC
    Nov 10, 2007
    Grandiose, tragic, dramatic, beautiful, and HONEST. A wonderful achievement.