Regina Spektor is fucking weird. My God. What is wrong with her.
I downloaded her newest album, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats, based on hearing a snippet of “All The Rowboats” on NPR. Being the pretentious asshole I am, there was no stopping the wide-eyed anticipation for its summer release.
However, to steel myself for the “greatness” that would be this album, I listened to her highest critical effort, Soviet Kitsch, which had a really cool cover of her downing a brew while creepily surrounded with matryoshka dolls (she was born in the USSR.)
Turns out the damn thing was full of spartan piano ballads featuring the most crass excuses for kooky experimental singing ever. I don’t know, maybe there’s a certain time, place, and mindset for such music, but how do I vibe to this?!?
Some songs benefit from a more supple arrangement, and the rowdy bar chant “Sailor Song” stands out for the “Marianne’s a Bitch!” line repeated ad nauseum, but yo… how is she famous.
Whatever. I’m a helpless music junkie. I bought the album. And it seems slightly more palatable than the first due to a more involved sound, but even more offensive to my being at the same time. “No Me Quitte Pas” and “All The Rowboats” pretty much define the good of this album: they both have inventive instrumentation, and her weirdness channels itself THROUGH the music, unlike on “Open” where it up and gives listeners a heart attack.
She comes across as the unbridled Kate Bush. Bush is able to be odd and off-putting, but she incorporates that into the theatrics of her work, whether it be Aborigine-inspired production, a song about pseudo-scientific theories, or how she emphasizes her lines. The song “Wow” represents her style quite well, and clearly shows a greater control in wielding the wand of “weird” in her music.
Sure, Spektor’s voice is cutesy-wootsy and she’s beautiful. Yeah, that’s true. But sometimes it feels like she just wraps up these half-assed concepts in musical bacon, but the bacon is actually avocado, so I get hives and throw up for a whole day.
This is what I get for wandering away from hip hop, right? The universe wags its celestial finger at me as I type this. Here’s another epic Kate Bush tune to wrap this up, and then a bomb ass Killer Mike record to get me back on track.