Me and Liza

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"Me and Liza"
Single by Rufus Wainwright
from the album Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright
Released January 20, 2014 (2014-01-20)
Format Digital download
Genre Baroque pop
Length 3:21[1]
Label Universal
Writer(s) Rufus Wainwright

"Me and Liza" is a song by American-Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright for his greatest hits album, Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright (2014); it appears as the third track on the album's standard issue, serving as its lead single.[1] The song is about Wainwright's relationship with Liza Minnelli, who was reportedly upset by his 2006 tribute concerts to her mother, Judy Garland. It premiered on BBC Radio 2's Weekend Wogan on January 12, 2014 and was officially released on January 20. "Me and Liza" reached a peak position of number 59 on Belgium's Ultratop singles chart.

Background and composition[edit]

"Me and Liza" is about Wainwright's relationship with Liza Minnelli,[2] who was reportedly upset by his 2006 tribute concerts to her mother,[3][4] American actress and singer Judy Garland.[5] Wainwright re-created Garland's concert album Judy at Carnegie Hall (1961), later releasing his own live album Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall (2007).[6] Wainwright said of the song: "I have to be very diplomatic with the track. Let's just say it's about legend and arson. It's very playful. A playful jab. Oh, and you know, possibly a hit?"[7] In a March 2014 interview published by Radio Times, Wainwright went into more detail:

Liza Minnelli, the subject of the album's lead single, in 2011

"I'm trying to be as chivalrous as possible here. I'm a big Liza fan and a big Judy fan and I can't say that Ms Minnelli has been too thrilled by my ovations. When I performed the Judy Garland show, she really didn't really get it. I could not tell you what's wrong, I suppose anything to do with her mother makes it very difficult for her. My dad grew up with Liza for a couple of years in Beverly Hills, so they were friends as kids. I think I've become her recurring nightmare."[8]

Chris Coplan of Consequence of Sound described the song as a "sultry, Bowie-esque pop-rock ballad".[9] The song begins with a bass drum and cymbal rhythm, accompanied by acoustic guitar; David Whiteway of Renowned for Sound wrote that the song's beginning is "saturated in a sense of hesitance and tenseness, a parallel to how his relationship with Liza stood at the time".[5] As a driving bass line emerges, lyrically Wainwright references his father's "connection" to Minnelli years ago. The chorus describes the "perils" that come with fame and being members of well-known families.[5] Wainwright sings that he and "Liza" are now friends, that he looks forward to their next reunion, and that they will be "famous til the day that [they] die".[5] An "uplifting" horn section accompanies the final chorus. Whiteway noted that "Rufus leaves it until the final lines of the song to correct the inherent syntax errors, singing “Liza and I” as his iconic vocals fade out."[5]

Promotion[edit]

Wainwright in 2010

On January 12, 2014, BBC Radio 2's Weekend Wogan premiered "Me and Liza", the lead single for Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright.[10][11] Wainwright's official website made the song available for streaming, via an embedded YouTube video, around the same time.[10] Universal Music UK also made it available to stream on SoundCloud.[12] The single was officially released on January 20, 2014.[13][14]

"Me and Liza" was heavily promoted in the United Kingdom. On January 17, BBC London 94.9 included the song on its "Three Track Review".[15] Weekend Wogan aired the track again, one week following its premiere.[16] It also aired on BBC Radio Wales,[17] Graham Norton's BBC Radio 2 program,[18] and BBC Radio 6.[19] In Canada, the single was included in new music rotations for CBC's radio networks and streams from January 29 – February 9, including the CBC Radio 2 roster and the "Adult Alternative" and "Canadian Songwriter" streams.[20] Rock 95, an independent radio station based in Central Ontario, included "Me and Liza" on its "New Rock Hour" program.[21] The Chilean radio station Duna 98.7 highlighted the song on their website.[22] An official lyric video was released for the song on February 24, 2014.[23][24]

Reception and charts[edit]

Clash's Robin Murray called "Me and Liza" a "glamorous show tune, harking back to the glory days of the West End".[25] Contactmusic.com said the song "kicks off with an understated almost bare driving beat before Rufus's trademark vocal comes sweeping over the top, building into a sumptuous, soaring chorus and climactic end".[26] Gigwise's Andrew Trendell wrote that the track has an "addictive bassline and confident swagger", and categorized it as one of the "poppier tones" on the album.[27] David Smyth of the London Evening Standard called the song "perky" in his round-up of the week's "best new music".[28] David Whiteway of Renowned for Sound awarded "Me and Liza" four out of five stars and said that, "set amongst the cream of his 16 year, 7 studio album career", the song could "reaffirm [Wainwright's] status as one of the great songwriters of his generation."[5]

In Belgium (Flanders), "Me and Liza" entered the Ultratop singles chart at number 98 and reached a peak position of number 59.[29][30] For the week of January 24, 2014, the song entered CBC Radio 2's "Top 20" chart at number 20.[31] The following week, Wainwright's rank on the chart increased by eight positions to number 12; he was named the "hot shooter" for having the greatest leap.[32] In the two weeks following, "Me and Liza" jumped to number four, then fell two positions to number six.[33]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[34] 59

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[35]
  1. "Me and Liza" – 3:21

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Rufus Wainwright: Me and Liza". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved February 10, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Tom Power's picks: Rufus Wainwright, Tinariwen and Blue Highway". CBC News. February 7, 2014. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  3. ^ Kaplan, James (April 4, 2011). "Q&A: Rufus Wainwright on Judy Garland’s Enduring Appeal". Vanity Fair (Condé Nast). ISSN 0733-8899. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Liza Minnelli – Rufus Wainwright Has a Dig at Liza Minnelli Onstage in Texas". Contactmusic.com. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f Whiteway, David (January 20, 2014). "Single Review: Rufus Wainwright – 'Me and Liza'". Renowned for Sound. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved January 25, 2014. 
  7. ^ "The World According to Rufus". Gay Times (Millivres Prowler Group) (428): 58–63. January 2014. ISSN 0950-6101. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ Mitchell, Pete (March 7, 2014). "Rufus Wainwright: I'm Liza Minnelli's recurring nightmare". Radio Times (Immediate Media Company). ISSN 0033-8060. OCLC 240905405. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  9. ^ Coplan, Chris (January 13, 2014). "Rufus Wainwright announces best-of collection, stream new song "Me and Liza"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ a b "Me and Liza Premiere This Sunday". RufusWainwright.com. January 8, 2014. Retrieved January 10, 2014. 
  11. ^ "BBC Radio 2: With Eddi Reader and Gregory Porter: Music Played". BBC Radio 2. January 12, 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Rufus Wainwright – Me and Liza". SoundCloud. January 10, 2014. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ Ellwood, Pip (January 10, 2014). "Rufus Wainwright confirms new single". Entertainment Focus. Little Pip Digital. Retrieved January 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Me and Liza Available at iTunes Now!". RufusWainwright.com. January 20, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Taxidermy, Tim Rice, Robert Lonsdale and The Three Track Review". BBC. January 17, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Chris Norman and the Stephen Ward cast". BBC. January 19, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Bethan Elfyn: 25/01/2014". BBC Radio Wales. January 25, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Graham Norton: With guests Russell Tovey and James Fleet". BBC. January 25, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Beaty Heart, King Tubby, Husky, Coves and Alton Ellis". BBC Radio 6. February 2, 2014. Retrieved February 6, 2014. 
  20. ^ Korosi, Mary-Anne (January 28, 2014). "Rufus Wainwright to Bastille: new adds on CBC Music (Jan.27- Feb. 9, 2014)". CBC. Retrieved January 28, 2014. 
  21. ^ Ross, Craig (January 2014). "New Rock Hour Setlist Jan 19/14". Barrie, Central Ontario: Rock 95. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  22. ^ Hernández, Javiera (February 7, 2014). "Rufus Wainwright – Me and Liza" (in Spanish). Providencia, Santiago de Chile: Radio Duna. Retrieved February 8, 2014. 
  23. ^ "Rufus Wainwright – Me and Liza". YouTube. February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  24. ^ "Me and Liza Lyric Video Premiere on Facebook". RufusWainwright.com. February 24, 2014. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  25. ^ Murray, Robin (January 13, 2014). "Listen: Rufus Wainwright – Me and Liza". Clash. ISSN 1743-0801. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Rufus Wainwright Releases New Single 'Me and Liza' January 20th 2014". Contactmusic.com. January 2014. Retrieved January 15, 2014. 
  27. ^ Trendell, Andrew (January 13, 2014). "Listen: Rufus Wainwright unveils new single 'Me and Liza'". Gigwise. Giant Digital. Retrieved January 13, 2014. 
  28. ^ Smyth, David (January 24, 2014). "Listen to this week's best new music". Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  29. ^ "100 ULTRATIP: 01/02/2014" (in Dutch). UltraTop.be. Retrieved March 7, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Rufus Wainwright – Me and Liza" (in Dutch). UltraTop.be. Retrieved March 19, 2014. 
  31. ^ Bailey, Garvia (January 24, 2014). "Radio 2 Top 20: Broken Bells groove on up to top spot". CBC. Retrieved January 29, 2014. 
  32. ^ Bailey, Garvia (January 31, 2014). "Radio 2 Top 20: Rufus Wainwright's royal ascent up the chart". CBC. Retrieved January 31, 2014. 
  33. ^ Bailey, Garvia (February 14, 2014). "Radio 2 Top 20: Blue Rodeo are back in the saddle and back on the top 20". CBC. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  34. ^ "Ultratop.be – Rufus Wainwright – Me and Liza" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  35. ^ "Me and Liza". Amazon.com. Retrieved February 3, 2014. 

External links[edit]