It's been four years since this cynic-at-large's last album, but with the opening cut, "People in Love," Wainwright quickly reassures anyone who might be worried that he's growing soft as he grows older: "Love's a disease," he snaps, "and I'm glad I ain't got it."
Wainwright said he wanted to call this record "Family Album" but discovered that the Partridge Family beat him to the title in 1970. In any case, "History" has to a lot do with the way those pebbles tossed into the familial pond create ripples that last a lifetime. Some songs are poignant, such as the open letter to his famous father, the Life magazine columnist who died in 1988. Others are stabbingly funny (Wainwright lampoons the onus placed on him and other singer-songwriters with "Talking New Bob Dylan"). "History" lessons should always be this engaging.