Rufus Wainwright: Also includes this song folkism, but that’s not why I gave it to you. However, I would like to say that when I was making the record, I thought it was strange that none of my songs were on it. Producer Mitchell Froome said, “Rufus, if I had to choose one song from yours that I believe will become a folk song in the future and go musically, I’d choose ‘Going’. Let’s go to town. And, sadly, it’s probably true. Because the subject of this song is kind of, in that this kind of frustration that people feel for the United States used to feel every ten years or so, but now it’s forever. because it is depressing.
That said, I don’t think “Going to a Town” is a negative song about America. I think it’s actually a love song. It’s like writing a letter to someone you really care about. You want them to get better and you really want to keep them in your life, but you’re just so frustrated. So I think there’s a sense of… not necessarily hope, but at least a positive dream.
I wrote this song very quickly, but it was actually inspired by the American invasion of Iraq. After 9/11, there was a brief period when the whole world banded together to help America and help us. Then, oh my God, we invaded Iraq, which was utterly ridiculous.
Best Fit: Did you ever imagine that it would become one of the songs you played most often and be such an important part of your career?
No, I couldn’t imagine it right away. But when I started singing for people, the song gradually got louder. I was definitely into the zeitgeist of the time.
The interesting thing about this song is that when Obama won the presidency, I still used to sing it occasionally, and suddenly the Republicans who hated Obama and the Democrats who hated Obama fell in love with it. That’s it. So I realized that this song can actually change sides, which is a little weird. Of course, I am more left wing.
You said earlier that the “city” in question was Berlin. release the stars So you originally planned to make a stylistically different album inspired by Berlin? what happened there?
Sure, I went to Berlin with the intention of making a cool, hip, avant-garde, dirty rock and roll record, something like Lou Reed and David Bowie, but I ended up with Potsdam and David Bowie influences. I received it more strongly. Sanssouci and Frederick the Great. This sort of bizarre baroque stuff made a huge impression, and as a result the album became more glamorous, more about parks, palaces, and so on.
I also found the music of [Italian popstar] Around that time, Mina was using herself artistically, and I think that was a big influence in shaping my ideas about production.
“Going to a Town” has been covered by some very notable people such as Salma Hayek, Mandy Patinkin and of course George Michael. How did you feel when you found out that George Michael was singing your song?
It was a great honor! I actually have an interesting story about it. I mean, looking back, it’s kind of a sad story, but it’s also a funny story.
I happened to meet George once, but I didn’t know him very well. I was told he would call me, and one night, around 3am, he finally called me. I was awake because I was on a tour bus or something, but it was midnight. I thought maybe he was in a different time zone, but it was midnight for him too.
Anyway, he just kept talking about how much he liked the song and so on. Of course, I wanted to thank him right away and join the conversation, but he was so high and rambling that he was too quick to say anything. It became clear. For an hour he kept talking this and that until it was just his stream of consciousness.and he fell asleep on the phone [laughs].
He later apologized for doing so, but it didn’t matter. See, it was charming, but it was also sad because I wanted to spend more time with him. We miss him so much.
Great story. he was a real gem. Back to what I said earlier about the new version. folkism, I did it with ANOHNI, who I have worked with a lot in the past. Can you talk a little bit about her involvement?
ANOHNI has been my friend for about 30 years. We basically started out as street urchins on the Lower East Side. I used to go see her shows like Black Lips at the Pyramid Club. She didn’t know much about me, but I knew who she was, so she followed her.
When I made my first record and came back to New York [in Los Angeles] We hung out at a lot of bars, clubs, etc. and had a lot of friends in common. And, you know, she had this meteoric rise at some point after winning the Mercury Prize, and it was really exciting to be a part of, let alone watch. Our shared love for Leonard Cohen and Lou Reed was also important.
Over the years we have gone through different intersections that are very deep and kind of on the same level. It’s been great to see her career blossom the way she wants it, and mine to blossom into mine, and we can celebrate each other. And, of course, it’s important to get together from time to time. folkism.
How did you incorporate this song as a duet? Have you done a duet before?
No, I was not and I cannot qualify this version as a duet. according to. I suggested she sing a bigger part and make it lead, but she added some of her lyrics and harmonies to give this song her own environment and perspective. I felt that I could bring I think there’s still quite a bit of separation in this version, but I think that’s what makes it so appealing. It’s not a run-of-the-mill duet. To be honest, I was a little confused at first because I didn’t quite understand what she was trying to do. But when she explained it and we mixed it up, it made perfect sense. We were able to maintain our lead, so I have no complaints.
She’s always been the type of person who would do something else as soon as you asked her to do something. that’s her. I think that’s how she does it and it comes from a true artistic place. She is drawn to the unexpected and she likes to have that element of danger. It’s just that she had to let her do it her way, and it’s not just swapping her verses, so maybe that’s what makes the song more interesting. By the way, I love it too. But yeah, we love her because she likes to make things unique.