Hi folks! You know, I’ve never been a happy person, but I value lots of things in this world. Things make me happy. Things like my friends, my music collection, and scotch bonnet peppers. I also really like all of Regina Spektor’s earlier albums. I have lots of her songs on my computer and on my shelf. The problem, amigos, is that, with this album, being a fan of early Regina feels like being a fan of the Weimar Republic. This album blow. This album sucks. This album is an insult, and it should never have been made. Or it should have been made explicitly so we could all light it on fire and send it to hell. It’s not so bad it’s good. It’s just boring, and fails at being cute. Over and over. It’s not that it’s the worst album ever…It just sucks, and has no significant redeeming features, unless you really like listening to Regina’s voice and thinking “say, that voice could go well with some good songs!”
This second album has literally caused me to drink, so I’ll try to calm down enough to delineate what’s wrong here. Okay. Okay.
The best I can say for any song is that a lot of them are bouncy and poppy. It’s the most self-consciously “commercial” album, and yet it may well spell the end of her commercial success forever. It’s 100% fluff. There’s nothing insightful here at all, unless you count insight into Regina not being as cool and talented as you thought she was. There’s annoying bullshit everywhere, in nearly every song there’s something interminable, but in no song is there a saving grace. As the album goes on it only gets worse, though also sort of better, because the last few songs lapse into overproduced versions of the filler tracks from the last album. Only worse, because there’s still all sorts of irritating trills and at least it sounded like she was trying last time.
There isn’t a single good idea on the entire album. Here are some of the bad ones:
1)Overproducing every song to hell, so there isn’t a single moment of genuine songwriting left without cheesy fake drums and string sections for no reason. For the WHOLE ALBUM. But more specifically:
2)The needless rising bass trill to end “The Calculation” on a bad note.
3)Making “Eet” completely meaningless, and underlining this by making the entire chorus a repetition of a nonsense word.
4)AWFUL “underwater” noises to ruin the chorus of “Folding Chair,” and never recovering. Oh, also for writing and rehearsing and recording the line “don’t make frowns / you silly clown” What is that?
5)Having a stupid “Russian” “hooked into machine” chorus on “Machine,” with the stupidity emphasized by her adopting a stupid accent for most of the song.
6)Making lead single “Laughing With” actually be about how people laugh at God when things are going well, but when they go badly they turn to God. Yeah, bad people! Told you there are no atheists in foxholes, right? Got me pegged, Reggie! Whenever bad things happen to me I start praying, because really I’m a religious person in disguise, like every other person “laughing at God.” Zing, right? But it’s okay, because God has a sense of humour! Fuck you.
7)Drawing out every word in the first verse of “Dance Anthem of the 80s” for no discernable reason.
8)Also having an African-sounding guy saying “Solo!” during the instrumental break of same song. It’s the little things that portend a complete loss of competence.
9)Ending the album with a bunch of Jewel-esque songs that are the most tolerable ones here but would…eh, said that already.
10)Abruptly ending the insubstantial “Wallet” with a weird ascending vocal word.
Look, it’d be a lie to say I don’t have time for this, but I hate this. It’s so sad and upsetting. This is bad. Not Linkin Park bad or anything, just “I thought you were cool but you started dating a douchebag and you don’t see anything wrong with this” bad. I’m done here.