Puremusic: We haven't spoken in this way since 2003, so it's really great to have you on the phone again.
Rufus Wainwright: Thank you.
PM: Release the Stars, another triumph. You're in top form.
RW: Thank you so much. Yeah, I'm definitely going for something--
RW: God knows what it is, but it's something.
PM: How are you doing personally? How is your health, your spirit?
RW: Everything is really going well. I definitely feel like I'm in my prime, in terms of being 33, same as Jesus' age, Alexander the Great at his peak. So it's all downhill from here.
PM: [laughs] But yeah, unlike a couple of those, you know it.
RW: Yeah. Yeah, I know it. And I definitely think that I have been fortunate, in this business especially, to kind of get my house in order and kind of realize what my priorities are. I know that the most important aspect of my career is the music, and on this album I've been able to fully focus on that.
PM: If I may presume to ask, how is your love life?
RW: [laughs] Everybody's so curious about that. It's going great. I mean, I have a boyfriend, which is sort of new territory for me. We're living together and kind of spending a lot of time in parks, doing normal, legal things. [laughs] It's great, because he has sort of an executive job in the arts. He's on the other side of the footlights. And he's German, which is very interesting, because they have a lot of tenacity, those people--
RW: --which is required with my personality and lifestyle. So he's holding on.
PM: Perhaps on that topic, help me with something--my first listen to Release the Stars found me squirming just a little bit because a few of the love songs were kind of explicitly gay, you know?
PM: And I found that as a hetero guy that I was squirming a little. So I wonder, is that just a "get over it, dude" kind of thing--
PM: --or what would you say about that reaction from a fan?
RW: Well, I don't know. It depends on which song you're talking about. I mean--
PM: Say, "Between My Legs" or "Slideshow," even.
RW: Right, right. I mean, "Slideshow" isn't actually a love song. That's about a friend of mine. But "Between My Legs" is definitely forward. I guess that, in a way, I don't know, I have never been able to kind of doctor my message--
RW: --for the public. And whether it's about my love life or my political views or my fascination with high culture, I mean, I kind of feel like it's better for it to cause an effect than to be--than to just not even pay attention to it. I think, in this culture it's almost better to cause a stir than to just fit into the box, only because the box has become so formulaic.
RW: And if you don't sort of follow the rules in that department, and try to make it too subtle, and not actually cause an effect, basically nobody notices.
PM: That's true.
RW: So I mean, I don't think all the songs are like that.
PM: Not at all.
RW: But I do have that tendency at times to perk up your ears, I guess.