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Rufus Wainwright Sings Stevie Wonder, Because Why Not?

Rufus Wainwright has always been keen to tackle the classics — this is, after all, a guy whose most recent album, 2016's Take All My Loves, reinterprets Shakespeare sonnets — and his stylistic palette has remained broad enough to encompass, among many other things, an opera. So it's not a huge surprise to hear that his latest song, released today, is a cover of Stevie Wonder's indelible 1970 all-timer "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)."

Released to support an L.A.-based charity and artistic endeavor called , Wainwright's cover — and the accompanying video, which features Wainwright and dancers John Corso, Malachi Middleton, Ryan Page and Sam Wentz — is part of a project in which assorted artists and performers tackle the Wonder classic. (Wainwright's take is dubbed "Chapter: Love," with visuals that reference Federico Fellini's 8 1/2.)

Even without the video, Wainwright's version of "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" is worth hearing for its expert mix of jauntiness and melancholy. Accompanied by pianist Thomas Bartlett (a.k.a Doveman), Wainwright takes a perfect song and finds a new angle on it, while never losing his air of reverence toward the source material.

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Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)