As much of a pop junkie as I am, I can still be brought to my knees by a stirring piano piece and dreamy harmonies. “What’ll I Do” is an Irving Berlin cover that was featured on The McGarrigle Hour, an album put out by Kate McGarrigle, her friends and family. On this track, you’ll hear Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Kate’s children, and Loudon Wainwright III, her ex-husband.
MP3: Rufus Wainwright – What’ll I Do (Irving Berlin)
A good friend of mine remarked that Rufus sounds “listless” during his sections. I agree, but in a completely different way than what she intended. “What’ll I Do” is supposed to be performed in a manner which implies that the person singing it has been emotionally destroyed. In that respect, yes, it does seem that Rufus has drained any semblance of happiness or passion from his voice. Both he and his father seem to be just shadows of themselves. They’re heartbroken, and there’s no point in trying to hide it.