Some critics say that gone are the days when musicians created their own music, dreamed up their own lyrics and provided their own accompaniment. Songs are now mainly produced for mass culture, with a songwriter inventing lyrics to hand over to a production company which creates a melody that will end up in the hands of a popular music group. This leads to the manufacturing of a fun, but repetitive, song. They might even say that music has lost its personal touch.
Regina Spektor breaks the trend of monotony in the music industry through her ability to transform her imagination and exceptional piano skills into a soulful and spell-binding album, which is the basis for her latest U.S. tour, “Remember Us to Life.”
One of Spektor’s latest stops on her tour was at the DAR Constitution Hall, a spacious concert hall that hearkens back to the times of our Founding Fathers, featuring Greco-Roman columns and patriotic American symbols along the walls. The stage was set with a simple black background that would suddenly burst into color from the lights behind the band. Spektor’s accompanists featured a drummer, a cellist and a keyboardist, who backed her up as she sang and played a black grand piano center stage.
The acoustics in the room are one of the venue’s best assets, something Spektor quickly discovered after she first came out and noticed that the audience could hear her trying to whisper to her drummer about the first song, “On the Radio.” Starting off on a light note, Spektor excited her audience with her amazing range and steady vibrato. Spektor’s audience featured a wide range of fans: young adolescents coming with their parents to their first concert, young women in their twenties who could sing all of Spektor’s songs by heart and middle-aged couples coming to listen to the raw voice of the vocalist.
Spektor herself projected a sense of calmness, quietly thanking her audience each time a person would yell out, “We love you Regina!” This was in stark contrast to her powerful voice, which belted out, “Everybody’s time has come /it’s everybody’s moment except yours,” in one of her more contemplative songs, “Tornadoland.” Featuring the music of a full orchestra, the indie-pop singer brought together prolonged pauses and the prominent cello sounds to create an upbeat song that entranced the audience.
Spektor then moved on to the song, “Ballad of a Politician,” but not before capitalizing on the moment to share her feelings about inclusivity. “This is everyone’s America; this is everyone’s Washington D.C.,” she said as the audience applauded. Spektor, originally from the former Soviet Union, sometimes even incorporates Russian, Latin and French into her music which can be heard in her album “Soviet Kitsch.”
Moving through her set list with the occasional small pause, Spektor gracefully sang each of her songs, some more recognizable than others. Spektor is widely known in the anti-folk world; her broad array of songs ranges from silly, nonsensical pieces to more pop-influenced ballads and appealed to everyone in the audience.
“I just like her because she inspires me to have fun and to not look at the world so seriously,” said a 25-year-old woman named Julia attending the concert. “She’s who I was in high school: that awkward kid looking for a way to express myself.”
It seems that Spektor can appeal to her audience by giving those who feel like they do not belong hope that, one day, they will be heard. As the concert went on, many of the audience members settled into their seats to listen to Spektor speak about her life as an immigrant and the music that formed her journey as a young singer.
After leaving her audience with the song “Us,” from her 2004 album “Soviet Kitsch,” Spektor quickly came back for an encore and finished the night with “Samson,” a melancholy and serene song alluding to Samson and Delilah from the Bible. While filing out of the concert hall, many of the spectators commented on how well-balanced the concert was, leaving them content and even more enamored with the singer.
Spektor has been a part of the music scene for 16 years and certainly knows how to move her audience. Although EDM and rap music rule the music charts today, artists like Regina Spektor maintain the practice of complete personal involvement in the music process, bringing together a diverse group of fans to share in a fun night of musical talent and true art.
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