Ironic Clown


Regina Spektor – Far

Regina Spektor - Far

Track list:
1.The Calculation
2. Eet
3. Blue Lips
4. Folding Chair
5. Machine
6. Laughing With
7. Human Of The Year
8. Two Birds
9. Dance Anthem
10. Genius Next Door
11. Wallet
12. One More Time With Feeling
13. Man Of A Thousand Faces
14. Time Is All Around
15. The Sword & The Pen

Far is Regina Spektor’s third album since signed to a major label, however fifth album overall. It was released on the 23rd of June, 2009 and reached number 3rd on the American Billboard charts.

Regina Spektor has come a long way over the years, from being a girl who sung and played the piano while self releasing her albums to becoming one of the growing talents in the music industry. I didn’t really know what to expect for Regina’s new album, her previous album Begin To Hope was starting to edge on mainstream however Regina has informed us, yet again, that she belongs in the “alternative” category.

Much like Spektor’s previous album the songs with a more “mainstream” sound are placed at the beginning, as if to ease her listeners into her wacky music. However, we are soon thrown headfirst into what Spektor does best, kooky songs that are skilfully deep, however at the same time don’t make much sense.

Spektor is a skilful writer in every sense, musically and lyrically. Musically this album was a masterpiece it was subtly simple. Piano arrangements can be seen in every song, and man has Regina refined her piano over the years. Lyrically this album is quite frankly AHMAAAAZING. From dolphins squeaks to emotional wails… it’s all there.

As well as have political and deep lyrics Spektor also manages to make them catchy. Eet is a song about forgetting our favourite songs; “it’s like forgetting the words to your favourite song, you can’t believe it you were always singing along. It was so easy, the words so sweet. You can’t remember, you try to feel the beat.” Spektor provides a scary insight of what the future may make of us in Machine where we are “hooked into machines” and “downloaded daily”.

While most of the songs have piano as the main instrument, each song has its own individuality. Songs are easily distinguishable, which can sometimes be hard to find these days when artists have found their niche. The only consequence that can be seen here is that the transitions from one song to another aren’t very smooth and there is less closeness in each of the songs, but nevertheless as I think the style that Regina has presented on Far suits her perfectly.

The majority of the songs on Far are not ballads as such, but emotion pieces, however Regina provides a pit stop every now and then with light hearted songs such as Folding Chair and Dance Anthem Of The 80’s. Contrasting to this Spektor provides haunting ballads such as Human Of The Year, Man Of A Thousand Faces, The Sword & The Pen and Genius Next Door which takes my pick as the best song on the album, hands down.

Far returns to Spektor’s anti-folk ways. Whilst Begin To Hope showcased lyrics which focused more on feelings rather than fictitious stories, Far delves into anti-folk which Regina has clearly mastered. Anti-folk suits Spektor, because it gives her more opportunities to let her extraordinary imagination run wild. Far seems almost like a story book where we meet all kinds of mystical characters such as Karl Projectorinski from, who unknowingly won the title of Human Of The Year. We meet the Man Of A Thousand Faces who sites down at the table and smiles to the moon, and speaks words as quiet as stains. We meet the Genius Next Doorwho believes that the antidote is orgasm and gets high while mumbling German fables.

Far is an advancement, while returning to her old and best anti-folk style. It showcases many sides of Regina Spektor, from humorous to pensive, while telling us about her life as well as the fictitious characters of this album. Spektor has mastered this album with superb albeit minimalistic arrangements while presenting ideas about everything from God’s sense of humour to how dolphins should sing. Spektor is on a mission and is a force that is not to be reckoned with… for after all, her eyes are bifocal.

_______________

Hits:
The Calculation | Eet | Blue Lips | Folding Chair | Machine | Laughing With | Human Of The Year | Two Birds | Dance Anthem Of The 80’s | Genius Next Door | Wallet | One More Time With Feeling | Man Of A Thousand Faces | Time Is All Around | The Sword & The Pen

So-so:
N/A

Misses:
N/A
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Overall Rating:
5 Stars
5 stars

Regina Spektor - Far

Joshua



Regina Spektor – Begin to Hope [Special Edition]
July 25, 2008, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Regina Spektor | Tags: , , ,

 Tracklist:
1. Fidelity
2. Better
3. Samson
4. On the Radio
5. Field Below
6. Hotel Song
7. Après Moi
8. 20 Years of Snow
9. That Time
10. Edit
11. Lady
12. Summer in the City
[Bonus Tracks:]
13. Another Town
14. Uh-merica
15. Baobabs
16. Düsseldorf
17. Music Box

Begin to Hope is Regina’s fourth album, but second since being on a major label. It debuted at 20 on the Billboard, and was certified Gold in America, Australia and New Zealand.

Shake things up with the hit single Fidelity. From the first note you can tell that Regina is not your average singer. Her voice is soft and relaxed, but very powerful and emotionally charged. This song talks about – you guessed it, Love, and how she never fully commits. This song is likable, but honestly I can’t see why it was the major single of the album, there are better songs on this album, but still a catchy song.

Opening Better are some soothing piano chords; however the piano soon turns into an electric guitar and the tapping of a high-hat. The song sounds pretty average. The lyrics are quite fun though, but nothing stellar.

Regina changes vocal styles in Samson and from the first minute, you can tell. This ballad is so calm, but Regina’s voice showcases a lot of emotion, which I think is vital in a ballad. The lyrics are slightly quirky, but extraordinary and poetic. Regina is an amazing lyric writer!

Catchy beats open On the Radio followed by some sweet “Ah’s” by Regina. From the moment Regina sings you can tell that these lyrics will be wonderful. The piano isn’t as prominent as some of her other songs, instead it is replaced with synthesised beats, which are extremely catchy. An excellent song!

Field Below is a mysterious song, with a mysterious opening, mysterious (not the mention poetic) lyrics, and mysterious vocals. I don’t really know what this song is about, but I can tell you that it is beautiful.

Come in and listen to Hotel Song, I’ve got to show, show, show you. This catchy song is clever and definitely shows Regina’s eccentric style. The soft backing drums, bells and Regina’s voice create a sad, but at the same time happy atmosphere, something I can’t really describe.

One of the highlights on the album is definitely Après Moi. This dramatic track has very deep and extremely poetic. It is quite repetitive, but in this case it really adds to the overall atmosphere. This song is one of the most dramatic songs I’ve ever heard, (perhaps not as much as Destiny -Taiyou no Hana – by Hitomi Shimitani, which I have to say is a probably the most dramatic song I’ve ever heard, anyway I got a bit sidetracked then didn’t I? – moving on…) which is a real treat because not many songs are emotionally dramatic. I can’t get over how good this song is, it really just is amazing.

20 Years of Snow is another mysterious song, right from the beginning to the end, you don’t know what to expect. I have a vague idea of what Regina is talking about in this song, the lyrics are really deep. I love it towards the end when Regina sings “Feel the waltz”. It really is epic!

The opening of That Time is possibly the most catchy opening I have ever heard, and the lyrics are equally catchy and very quirky, so if you’re not into weird music then this is definitely not for you, but if you do (like me) then you’ll love this song and I highly recommend it to you.

Edit opens with a fuzzy sounding amplifier/speaker and then moves into a catchy piano tune. The lyrics are quite short for a full length song. The lyrics for the whole song is as below, and as usual, this song is very quirky and clever.

“White lines on your mind
Keep it steady
You were never ready for the lies You don’t have no doctor Robert
You don’t have no uncle Albert
You don’t even have good credit
You can write but you can’t edit.”

Pretty cool ‘eh?

Lady sings the blues so well”. Wow this opening line is so powerful. Regina’s lyrics, vocals and style in this song remind me of something by Amy Winehouse, I guess it does a slight resemblance. Regina’s vocals are truly at their best here! This is one of the longest songs on the album clocking in at 4:45.

Summer in the City is full of clever lyrics and a soft piano line. However nothing really caught my attention in this song is pretty average, but nonetheless it has above average lyrics, however Regina has written better songs before.

Another Town is another extremely catchy song, I love how Regina clicks her tongue at the end of lines. “Another Town” has a beautiful chorus consisting of the words “I love you…” In this chorus mellow and deep guitars are added, which I think is really sweet! I really like this song!

Uh-merica I have to say is a very weird song. I don’t really mind that however I know that some of you will hate this song, especially when Regina emphasised the phrase “UH” in “Uh-merica”. And the crowd screaming with the “UH’s” will annoy some people, however I think that this song is very sweet. It is probably one of Regina’s most melancholy songs.

Baobabs is another, hmm how shall we say -unique song, but nevertheless very clever, as are all of Regina’s songs. The lyrics are melancholy, but amazing talking flowers and thorns (metaphorically) and not raising children in “this” city, because of the negative effects.

Düsseldorf is strange and charming. The lyrics are of great quality and follow a very simple and affective structure, the same type of structure as in “That Time” and “Another Town”, however this song is more appealing. One of Regina’s best.

Besides the first and last verse this song has nothing to do with a Music Box. It’s more about washing up the dishes – Regina style, such as “setting all the bottle caps she owns afloat“. Yes, it’s quirky and fun and that’s how I like Regina.

Begin to Hope I believe is an improvement from Soviet Kitsch which was still an excellent album. Begin to Hope is more “polished” and smoother in terms of lyrics, instruments and transitions. All of the tracks were thoughtfully placed, and I can tell Regina gave it everything she’s got! This is one of the most unique albums I have heard and definitely fits into the “Alternative” category. I am looking forward to Regina’s new album, as this album was a pleasure to listen to and I don’t have any regrets buying it

Rating
4.5 Stars4½ stars