Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

Obviously not much! j/k lolol

I think this is an outtakes album (finding out would require a whole Wikipediaing), and I hope so. It’s far, far better than the overly sincere garbage of the last album, but it only somewhat reclaims Spektor’s personality.

Here’s the deal with Regina: Thing is – Spektor is, despite her flailing with her identity, is great. ridiculous pop sensibility, voice with personality, still more creative than 90% of other singer/songwriters. That is, the recent flailing with identity are far from done. The cover of the album has her looking as hipsterish and alabaster as possible, which is weird, because she isn’t a 22 year-old recent graduate. Instead, she seems unsure about how to mature. The last album was a cohesively miserable exercise, but here, probably because it’s a compilation, she goes after quite a few directions, and some are definitely better than others. But when she’s on the right path – whee! Few others can do good-weird and citygazing-without-being-pretentious as well as she can.
Also, she’s still a pianoeuse, so there are few attempts to rock out, which is good, because she’s not good at that one. The other problem is that while quirkiness is good, the tendency to vocal tics can seem like an affectation at times. Plus she mangles two languages (Italian and French), and that’s on consecutive songs! Sounds extremely fluent in Russian, though.
Let’s have a looks at my song notes:

Small Town Moon – Nice piano song – but then becomes weird stadium rock thing with 80s drums and a hundred hands clapping.
Oh Marcello – actually kinda good switch between baroque spoken-word and a cover of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
Ne Me Quitte Pas – Successful reimaging of her New-York-hipsterified version of Jaques Brel into pop songs, that works because it’s INTERESTING. Weirdly tuned pianos, unexpected horns that play a variant of the tune instead of just tooting’ around, memories of what a great lyric this song has.
Firewood – Boring winter-in-the-Northeast slow piano blah.
Patron Saint – About a guy who buys her a lot of expensive Tequila, nice half-waltz piano intro, but becomes part of the background soon enough.
How – Disgraceful slow schmaltz “romantic” crap with not an iota of personality. How did this song come to exist, and can I burn that reason? And hookless! Jesus god this is crap.
All The Rowboats – Seems self-conscious attempt to write a hit for fine arts majors. Blah about how great paintings in museums, but with this douchey suspenseful insistent tone that I can’t buy. If you’re going to say things like “God I pity the violins” you’d better be winking, not sounding like Jincy Willett.
Ballad of a Politician – Blah hookless bit about politicians being sad empty suits. You’ve gotta have a point, son.
Open – more soft slow hookless piano cheese.
The Party – An okay love song.
Jessica – Nice acoustic guitar song for a young girl….but still hookless.
CTB – Cool emo-ish acoustic guitar song, but eh.
TPoFV – See OJ
OJ – Hey, Russian! Nice enough, but what’s with all the Russian? Better that the first.

As you can no doubt see, I am a talented reviewer, and should be handed several jobs, instead of the zero I currently enjoy. From the notes you’ve no doubt gathered as well that while there’s little out-and-out failure, the most enjoyable song on here is a self-cover, and to that end I still like the original better. Why can’t people just age with grace? All you need is love and honest communication!

6 / 10

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One thought on “Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

  1. Pingback: Regina Spektor – “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” Official Music Video | euzicasa

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