Writing this while listening to Rufus Wainwright’s version of ‘Bewitched, Bothered, Bewildered’. Although I think he’s a terribly interesting character, like something out of a fantasy, I have trouble liking his usually rather whiny and drawled delivery but for some reason, the way he slows this down really works and it seems totally heartfelt.
The lyrics seem to encapsulate his personality and personal trajectory in the same way that ‘Yesterday When I Was Young’ (hmm never thought I would like Charles Aznavour) seems to describe Helmut Berger (surely the ‘German film star’ from the Passions song). And when Frank Sinatra sings this, it’s about the girl rather than Frank but not so with Rufus. When he sings, it’s all about Rufus. Definitely.
The thing is every time I hear it, it makes me want to cry because I quite envy Rufus. His experience, his emotions, his lessons, his tireless charm, his mercurial spirit.
The soft confessional tone of ‘I’ve sinned a lot etc’, the self-awareness and arrogance of ‘But I’m like sweet seventeen a lot’, which he is, make my heart melt.
However, just watched Pal Joey and can't quite believe that they made a film, with Frank Sinatra, with these songs that he delivers like no one else (‘My Funny Valentine’ and ‘Bewitched’ – God bless Rodgers and Hart) and wasted an opportunity to have him sing them. It’s criminal.