April Fools (song)

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"April Fools"
Song by Rufus Wainwright
from the album Rufus Wainwright
Songwriter(s)Rufus Wainwright

"April Fools" is a song written and performed by American-Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. It originally appeared on his eponymous debut studio album, released by DreamWorks Records in May 1998. The song's music video was directed by Sophie Muller and features cameo appearances by Gwen Stefani and Melissa Auf der Maur.

"April Fools" appears on two other albums in Wainwright's discographyAll I Want (2005) and Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright (2014)—as well as multiple compilation albums.


Rufus Wainwright performing in 2008

"April Fools" is an approximately five minute long pop song written and performed by Wainwright. The track features Wainwright's vocals and a "powerful" piano performance over a drum track by Jim Keltner. AllMusic's Matthew Greenwald described "April Fools" as "essentially a love song" that can be interpreted as being "about people in general, or a simple, two-person relationship".[1] In a 2010 interview published by The Daily Telegraph, Wainwright said of "April Fools" and his songwriting process in general: "April Fools came to me when I was in the bath. I stood up naked and sang it. Songs come to me at odd times. The only thing they have in common is that, when they do come, the moment has to be theatrical."[2]


"April Fools" originally appeared as the third track on Wainwright's eponymous debut studio album, released by DreamWorks Records in the United States on May 19, 1998.[1] The song has appeared on other albums in Wainwright's discography, including the DVD All I Want, released by Universal International in 2005,[3] and Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright, a greatest hits album released in 2014.[4][5]

Compilation albums featuring "April Fools" include CMJ New Music, Vol. 59 (1998),[6] Los Angeles Independent Film Festival: 1998 Music Sampler (1998),[7] and Live at the World Cafe: Volume 9 (1999), which features a live recording of Wainwright's performance on WXPN's radio program World Cafe.[8]

Music video[edit]

Gwen Stefani and Melissa Auf der Maur make cameo appearances in the music video for "April Fools", which was partly filmed in Stefani's house.

The music video for "April Fools", directed by Sophie Muller, was the first promoting Wainwright's debut album. It features the singer in Los Angeles "amidst a clique of classic opera characters" such as Madame Butterfly, attempting to prevent each of them from committing suicide. However, in each instance he arrives too late.[9]

No Doubt's Gwen Stefani, a friend of Muller's, and Hole bassist Melissa Auf der Maur, a high school acquaintance and former roommate of Wainwright's, make cameo appearances. Part of the video was filmed in Stefani's house.[1] Wainwright said of their involvement:

I grew up with Melissa, in Montreal. We went to high school together, we were actually in love, when we were young, but we never consummated, we were always too shy to get together. But I thought she was fascinating when I was a kid and I still think she's fascinating. So that was that connection. We lived together for a long time in L.A. right before we made the video, and Gwen [Stefani] was friends with the director Sophie Mueller [sic], and Gwen very graciously let us use her house, that's her house that it's filmed in, just cuz, whatever, she's a sweet, sweet girl.[9]


Matthew Greenwald of AllMusic described "April Fools" as "the most accessible song and recording" on the album, and "possibly one of the catchiest and most hook-filled choruses in contemporary pop memory".[1] Furthermore, he wrote: "As with many of [Wainwright's] songs, the wordplay here keeps the listener's attention, making this one of the most unique singles of the modern pop era."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ankeny, Jason. "Rufus Wainwright: Rufus Wainwright". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  2. ^ Farndale, Nigel (June 30, 2010). "Rufus Wainwright interview". The Daily Telegraph. London: Telegraph Media Group. ISSN 0307-1235. OCLC 49632006. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  3. ^ "Rufus Wainwright: All I Want". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  4. ^ "Rufus Wainwright: Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  5. ^ Cooper, Leonie (December 9, 2013). "Rufus Wainwright to release 'best of' collection". NME. London: Time Inc. UK. ISSN 0028-6362. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  6. ^ "Various Artists: CMJ New Music, Vol. 59". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  7. ^ "Various Artists: Los Angeles Independent Film Festival: 1998 Music Sampler". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  8. ^ "Various Artists: Live at the World Cafe Vol. 9". AllMusic. Retrieved October 1, 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Rufus Wainwright Kicks Off Tour, Explains Video Cameos". MTV. March 2, 1999. Retrieved October 1, 2017.

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