Regina Spektor delivers another pure piano pop record
Regina Spektor celebrates 15 years in the music business this year. The American singer-songwriter with Russian roots released her debut album 11:11 back in 2001, but only by 2006, when her fourth record Begin To Hope saw the light of day, she had her first commercial success. Singles ‘Fidelity’ and ‘Samson’ gained her a bigger audience and ever since there seems to be a steady interest in new Regina Spektor music. Four years after What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, three years after she delivered the soundtrack ‘You’ve Got Time’ for television series Orange Is The New Black and two years after she gave birth to her first son, Regina Spektor finally launches her seventh album Remember Us To Life.
Spektor started the campaign for her new album back in July when first single ‘Bleeding Heart’ came out. It has all the ingredients for a Regina classic: a sweet sounding chorus, emotive vocals, prominent piano, a dynamic build up and some quirkiness to top it all off. Although she did experiment with a more rocking sound on this single, it felt like a typical Spektor tune and that basically goes for every song on the album. Spektor sticks to what works for her in terms of sound, dares to play with the boundaries of her genre, but never fully crosses them.
Apart from the beats and ‘lalala’ hooks of the second single ‘Small Bill$’, ‘The Trapper and the Furrier’ might be the most experimental moment of the album for Regina, with heavy piano rhythms, haunting vocals and an overall dark vibe in the build up. Spektor impresses just as much on more subtle and laidback songs like the moving ‘Black and White’ and the mysterious glimpse of hope that is ‘The Light’. Although Spektor never needed much more than her crystal clear vocals and a piano to captivate the listener’s attention, it does help that at least half of Remember Us To Life is built with bigger productions, including a lot of strings and some guitars. This creates a more dynamic body of work that excites, moves and even relaxes.
Lyrically Regina has always excelled in a unique way of story telling and deeper layers. ‘Seller of Flowers’ dives in philosophical depths with big life questions over a gripping and dramatic chorus. The absolute hightlight of the record however, sounds a lot lighter. Recent single ‘Older and Taller’ is such a well written piece of piano pop! The track is incredibly catchy and lyrically it might be one of Regina’s most creative moments yet. The words rhyme and the flow during the verses is flawless. “And you retired just in time you were about to be fired, for being so tired from hiring the ones who will take your place”, is just an example of the lyrical playfulness in this song.
Regina Spektor does not cover a lot of new ground on Remember Us To Life, but sticks with what she does best and in some moments even does it better than she has ever done before.
Must listen: Older and Taller, Bleeding Heart, Sellers of Flowers, The Light, Black and White