Montauk musical artist Rufus Wainwright released his ninth original studio album, Unfollow the Rules, on Friday, July 10, 2020, his first since Out of the Game in 2012.
The new pop record features 12 tracks, which have been described as a return to form for Wainwright and are intended to serve as a distillation of his 21-one-year-long career. The title song was originally written at the request of Wainwright’s friend Sarah Jessica Parker, a fellow Hamptonite, who wanted him to write an original song for her to sing in the 2018 film Here and Now. The rendition on Unfollow the Rules is a new recording performed by Wainwright.
A lot has changed in Wainwright’s life since Out of the Game came out in 2012—he got married at his Montauk home, became a father, turned 40, produced his second opera and released an album of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Reflecting on these exciting experiences, he is “ready to tackle new challenges, yet compelled to confront his past,” the press release writes. “He’s taking stock of two decades of running riot with rules, making sense of how he has matured as a musician and celebrating the contended family man he has become.”
“At my age—40s, we’ll say—you start to re-evaluate the past you’ve been shackled to for so long,” Wainwright said in the release. “You can’t walk away from it, discard everything and create a new life. You’re now too old to skip town. Instead you have to go back and examine the forces that brought you here. In my case, that meant crawling through a minefield of drama, regret, wounds and so forth. To move forward required embracing those injuries, knowing that I’m in a good place now because of them, not despite them.”
Unfollow the Rules is Wainwright’s first album with the BMG record label. It was produced by Mitchell Froom and includes contributions by Matt Chamberlain, Jim Keltner and Blake Mills. Listen to the album’s closing track, “Alone Time,” below.