Spektor's Album Anything but 'Cheap'
Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 31, 2012 20:05
Although Regina Spektor is one of the most talented vocalists and writers on the music scene today, she isn’t packing arenas like other artists can. But with the release of her first full-length studio album in three years, “What We Saw From the Cheap Seats,” her raw talent will continue to find a place in the mainstream.
Spektor’s unusual background and training in classical music contribute to her style of writing and singing. Armed with a vocal range unexpected from such a small, demure-looking woman, Spektor sings with great depth and emotion. Her voice is uniquely her own, and her lyrics are disarming in both their sentimentality and their wit.
This 11-track effort is her sixth studio album and continues in Spektor’s distinctive fashion. The music itself pulls from a variety of influences and bends genres, sometimes even creating its own. Her characteristic plucky piano melodies are present throughout, as are her signature vocals, which flow so freely on this album that sometimes it sounds like she’s improvising as the music moves her. One of the great surprises on the album is the lack of consistency and how that adds to her sound, rather than detracting from it as one might expect with other artists. Each song is a unique piece, telling its own original story and delivering its own message.
The album tackles a variety of topics, ranging from growing old to romance, but Spektor puts her own spin on it and has a subtle way of reaching out to the listener. In no way is her music ordinary or predictable; each song sounds new and different. There are surprises throughout, whether coming as vocal changes or abrupt swerves in the melody. She fills the songs with unusual instrumentals, different manipulations of her voice, foreign languages and various sound effects.
“Oh Marcello” is one of the quirkiest tracks on the album, with the music swelling up and down and Spektor singing in a thick Italian accent and showcasing her impression of a drum. In “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas),” Spektor treats the listener to a Caribbean-style beat and instrumentals while crooning in both French and English. The first single from the album, released in February, “All the Rowboats” is one of the most intense on the album, a track that really showcases her storytelling abilities through song.
Spektor’s new album is classically her own style, one that cannot be squeezed into any single genre. She keeps you on your toes and is able to create 11 perfectly tuned and crafted songs, each with its own flair and charm. This album is anything but boring and predictable. And although her sound isn’t for everyone, the album is definitely worth a download.
Song to Download: “The Party”
Song to Skip: “Ballad of a Politician”