Wednesday, June 30, 2010

album of the day: Begin to Hope

Regina Spektor is not allowed in the house, mainly for her own protection.

People use words like "quirky" and "idiosyncratic" to describe Regina Spektor ad nauseam, and possibly also ad nauseum, at least, her own. She takes a unique approach, especially to singing, but those terms sound like diminutives, like pats on the head of our little weird Russian singer-songwriter chick.

She's more badass than that, for one thing. She started out anti-folk, and the vaguely punkish roots of that musical influence still pop up, in both her penchant for repetitive lines of lyrics and in some of the earthy and goofy imagery of the lyrics. For instance, on one of the more intriguingly written lyrics on the album, for "20 Years of Snow," (which seems to be about trying to maintain some degree of innocence), she is concerned that:

This place is full of dirty old men
And the navigators with their mappy maps
And moldy heads and pissin' on sugar cubes

This is the song following the gorgeous piano and vocal on "Apres Moi," and is succeeded by "That Time," which develops a series of scenes of odd youthful urban behavior (to wit, cultivating strange habits for fun) before letting you know the song is actually about drug abuse. She has range, is my point. In fact, the best song on this album is one of the most conventional stylistically - the heartbreaking song of love's destructive power, "Samson" (it begins "You are my sweetest downfall/I loved you first, I loved you first").

We first encountered Regina Spektor at the annual Bridge School benefit concert a few years back, and after we got over our initial sense of "whathe? Did she just say "loogy"? (which she did), we were thoroughly enamored. Still are. Good eats!

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