The 2014 compilation Vibrate: The Best of Rufus Wainwright brings together many of the singer/songwriter's best cuts, as chosen by him, from his various studio albums. Included here are songs off his 1998 self-titled debut all the way through to his 2012 album, Out of the Game. Also included are several cuts Wainwright recorded for the 2001 soundtrack to Shrek. That said, missing here are cuts off his intimate 2007 album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, as are any tracks from his several concert albums, most notably his 2007 Judy Garland-themed performance Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall. Perhaps Wainwright viewed All Days Are Nights, which was recorded during his mother Kate McGarrigle's illness with cancer, as too much of a personal statement to single out any of its tracks for inclusion here. Similarly, maybe Wainwright felt that as a show largely built around American Songbook standards, his Judy Garland concert simply worked too well as stand-alone conceptual entity to cherry-pick from. Nonetheless, some fans may miss their exclusion from Vibrate, which is not to say that Vibrate isn't a substantial window onto Wainwright's oeuvre. On the contrary, rather than simply presenting a chronological set of songs from his first album to his most recent, Wainwright attempted to present this career-spanning overview with an ear to creating a dramatic flow for the listener, the same way he does with all his albums. The result is a beautifully curated mix of songs, each of which offers a chapter in the story of Wainwright's life and career.
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AllMusic Review by Matt Collar