|Photo by: reginaspektor.com|
Key Tracks: “Firewood,” “Patron Saint,” “All the Rowboats.”
The reigning queen of semi-bizarre indie pop, Regina Spektor, is back after a three-year hiatus with a new album titled What We Saw From the Cheap Seats. By flexing her classically trained piano fingers, astounding vocal range and unusual, yet deeply affecting lyricism, Spektor has managed yet again to present to the masses something, to lift a lyric from the ninth track “Open,” “Potentially lovely / Perpetually human.”
What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, like its predecessor Far, is an eclectic compilation of super-catchy upbeat pop songs, introspective piano ballads, love songs, disturbing songs, surrealist artistic statements and the just plain weird--or as the thick-framed boys who take one look at her dark curls, pale eyes and red lipstick might label it: “the delightfully quirky.”
Her vocal stylings range from a pseudo-Italian accent to a human drum machine on “Oh Marcello,” a dark tale of an innocent woman whose unborn child is destined to become a killer. Not to be outdone, she becomes a human kazoo at the end of “The Party.”
Whether it is “Patron Saint,” the catchy tale of a self-destructive manic pixie dream girl trope who breaks more hearts than just her own, or “All the Rowboats,” a surrealist metaphor likening paintings in a museum to detained prisoners, punished for being timeless, Spektor's tunes are, to lift another phrase, “A little toast / For all the ones that hurt the most.”
That shines most of all on “Firewood”--the defeat and beautiful sadness of that which we call humanity, as told through a sensitive piano ballad circa “Samson” (from 2006's Begin to Hope). Though it ends with the lyric “There’s still no cure for crying,” this song might come close.
As all of her previous work has shown, Spektor is more than capable of merging the odd with the beautiful. What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is no exception and fans of her work will be pleased.
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