Review ·

Regina Spektor’s schtick has always been otherworldly piano-driven pop, which is perhaps what makes her music so appealing. Drawing from her Russian-Bronx roots and attracting an anti-folk audience, Spektor has not only a distinct talent for tearing up a piano and vocally hitting each note to perfection, but also a special way with words and descriptors.

Spektor’s music in its earliest form began with minimalist approach, depending on only her voice and piano. Spektor’s earliest albums chronicled the peculiar and endearing things in life (reading with a jar of pickles) and New York in summertime (means cleavage, cleavage, cleavage). These albums, though quite underground, couldn’t stay that way for long. After playing her share of basement shows and remaining New York City’s little secret, Spektor’s work slowly built up in production and commercial value, culminating in 2006’s Begin to Hope.

With Spektor’s impending release, Far, it appears as though musically she has taken a step back from Hope and a step forward all at the same time. There is not one track here that isn’t catchy, creative, or beautiful in some respect. Spektor keeps the hook-ridden cuts coming (which has always been one of her selling points), but this time around, Far may be the answer to Begin to Hope’s question, offering a supplement to what the previous album was missing in the first place.

Far’s cover art is the first indicator of Spektor’s fresh perspective. Whereas most of Spector’s album covers have depicted a visual version of the singer’s face (mysterious Regina, shy Regina, beer-swigging guy’s gal Regina, or contemplative Regina), Far offers a calming image of a cartoon Regina sitting peacefully at her blue-sky-colored piano with a window open behind her facing a brick wall. Now, we must ask ourselves, where is the number one place in the world where open windows face brick walls? Why, New York City, of course! Could this symbolize Spektor’s return to the real and the raw? Whatever interpretations we choose to engage in, let it be said that Spektor is not dolling out the same ol’, same ol’.

Far features an engaging track list, kicking off with “The Calculation”, a sweet-as-pie cut that bounces and trounces, giving Spektor a chance to explore her ever-powerful vocal range. As endearing as the album’s first track is, however, it also hints at Spektor’s plans to take the album up about ten notches in terms of her vocal experimentation and musical tone. The album’s standout track and potential radio hit could easily be “Folding Chair,” which starts off slowly in solo piano, then moves cheerfully in time with Spektor’s soaring voice that seems to ask for the Simple Life from a love interest. But Norah Jones she is not, for the radio-esque quality of “Folding Chair” stops short as soon as Spektor imitates a dolphin mid-song.

Spektor recently provided a window into her intentions with Far in an interview with the New York Times. “I’ve always been fascinated with faith and religions. Sometimes I’m sarcastic about it, and sometimes I’m in awe," she said. "Sometimes I feel very connected, and sometimes I feel angry at it.” The following statement clearly relates to Far’s slow-moving track “Laughing With,“ where Spektor grows less hopeful and more contemplative. “No one laughs at God in a hospital/ No one laughs at God in a war,” she sings softly, her voice accompanied by her piano.

A track titled “Human of the Year” follows. If you listen closely, “Human” picks up the same but slightly altered theme of a much older track, “Love Affair,” which is the first track off of the Spektor album Eleven Eleven. The newer track can hold its own, only mirroring the older track during its verses, but Spektor breaks from the theme during the song’s chorus, belting her powerhouse vocals, which are soaring, halting, and deeply precious. While Spektor may reach back into her older discography on Far, she also selects bits of culture from East Asia with which to experiment. Theses influences are particularly noticeable on “Dance Anthem of the 80’s,” which sounds like it could have come directly from the latest pop-Bollywood film.

It is worth repeating that Far takes everything Regina Spektor has done in the near ten-year span of her career and mashes it up to perfection. Spektor looked like she was on the road to packaged radio fame after the release of Begin to Hope, but instead of moving in that predictable direction, Spektor has swerved off course into a world of quirky melodic creation and outstanding vocal range and experimentation.

The New York-via-Moscow singer-songwriter Regina Spektor is interminably cute. Watching her perform is akin to witnessing a child unwrapping their Christmas presents—she’s all Cheshire cat grins and explosive titters. Part of what made 2006’s Begin to Hope a Billboard Top 20 hit was those bubbly intonations, nimble turns of phrase, and charming punch lines. On her follow-up, Far , the eccentric pop starlet amplifies her appeal with a heavy-hitting production foursome: Jeff Lynne (ELO, Traveling Wilburys), Begin to Hope 's David Kahne, Mike Elizondo (Fiona Apple, Maroon 5), and Garret "Jacknife" Lee (U2, R.E.M.) The venturesome tracklist involves shadowy voyeuristic narratives ("Genius Next Door"), poppy numbers about Blockbuster and lost wallets ("The Wallet"), and some Spektorian goofball silliness ("Folding Chair" has the singer imitating a dolphin).

J Dilla - Jay Stay Paid Thieves Like Us Play Music

I look forward to this album more than any other. Her talent is unmatched right now. And her cuteness is just an unnecessary bonus :)

Anthony Minsky

Dying to hear this.

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i've been waiting three years for her new songs!


so super excited!! and folding chair is one of my favorite songs of hers. apparently, the redone version will be more interesting. haha. i love little miss regina. (:


i cant wait for her new album, and for her to come back to DALLAS TX!



I'm with you Margot, I've been waiting for this ever since I heard Begin To Hope. I couldn't get enough of Regina but I had only so much to get from her! haha, definitely purchasing this album.


i love her so much. what an amazing songwriter! i will be buying it the day it comes out. my favorite songwriter in a long, long time.


genius next door is my favorite. i can't WAIT!


I'm almost a little sad that Genius is getting included on this album. It has always been one of my favourite hidden treasures from her catalogue


OMG!!!!!!! Im so excited to hear it! i love regina! she is so awesome and unique. i already pre-ordered it on itunes.YAY!

(500) days of summer


Her new music sounds better than ever!
So excited!


Quite frankly, I'm a bit disappointed by this album.
Don't get me wrong, Regina has blossomed beautifully, but I can't help but feel that she's become more mainstream.
Folding Chair, for example, was one of my favorite songs, but now it has a more pop-like feeling. I'm also saddened by the fact that I'm listening to her piano less and less.
Far and Begin to Hope are probably my least favorite albums compared to Soviet Kitsch, Songs, and 11:11.
Again, I'm just voicing my opinion here. I will always love her music, I just think that the original versions of some of the songs on Far are better, and have a more Spektor-feeling,(if that makes sense at all)


I think her piano work is ever more present on this album than the last in my opinion.

Her talent im in awe of. The simplicity of her melodies seem so obvious yet so hard to achieve.

To say that she has become more mainstream is in no way a bad thing. The produciton only adds a bit more meat to the bones. Her choice of producer has been more than complimentary to her songwriting.


yeah I can't wait for this either. But really you haters out there have to stop whining--since when is it a bad thing to become successful or mainstream (whatever that means!)??? If she stayed exactly the same you'd complain too. Get over yourselves. She's awesome and I'm glad more people know who she is now. Support growth, not regression!!


new disc of reginna
omg this is Fantastic
3 years in waiting
At last we have the new album Reginna
only missing 18 days


I am so excited about June 30th!!! come play closer to charlotte!!!nc baby..


i love regina so much
i'm really psyched for her new album
she's totally inspired me a lot
and i'm really excited to hear her new songs


This album is a great disappointment. She's still in there somewhere behind all the producing. It's a continuation of some of the things wrong with begin to hope. I miss the story-time Regina who had something eternal about her songs. But I'm still in love with her, just not the new music. Maybe I should begin to hope that one day she'll make songs for herself again.


The the Bradleys and others:

She hand picked the producers she WANTED to work with. She wanted to see what they could do with her music and her vision. She chose it. It wasn't the label that told her it was required her to be "overproduced." What if she always wanted the ability to do bigger things but couldn't afford it in the past when it was just her and her piano?

She's still there. This isn't "mainstream." Stop being indie, uber hip whiny kids that have to be three miles out past left field to consider yourselves or anyone else acceptable and cool. Can't be associated with anything at all that other normal people might like. If people didn't grow and expand in their music we would've never even had ragtime or jazz or rock or punk.

Also some of the info that inspired the song Machine is really cool. She heard about David Byne's "Playing the Building," which is a music/art installation and that's where a lot of the instrumentation of the song came from. So cool. Who would've thought to use that except Regina? Seriously check it out.


is someone knows .. where i can get this cd in NYC?


Love Regina and the new album is definitely a winner. The folk that always hanker for her old stuff make me laugh - her old stuff was great, her new stuff is great - end of! :-) Looking forward to seeing her at TITP!


i agree with xxx that this seems to be somewhat "mainstream". but i prefer to use the word commercial. i too had a live recording of folding chair before i bought the album. and i also feel that the album version of folding chair is a bit out of her niche in the sense that it uses more commercial percussion instruments etc. but, just like everyone else, i love her music and also the way that she has expanded her genre to attract more and more listeners.
i often search for 'similar' or 'related' artists on the web, but there is just no one better than regina.


I bought the new album and was somewhat let down. It was like listening to somone with a new drum machine and had to use it cause it sounds sooo coool but like everything else, sometimes less is more. To continue the high hat on the vocal solos drowns out the richness of her very unique voice which I and many have grown to love. I will still continue to enjoy her work but in a different way.


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