Regina Spektor – Far
The first Regina Spektor song that I fell in love was with Samson. On the back of my love for said song I had high hopes for Begin To Hope but was left feeling a bit disappointed. Knowing how talented Spektor could be, I decided to chance it and bought myself a copy of Far.
Spektor’s voice is genuinely unique. She combines sweet soft tones, with harsher blunt lyrics to create something impressive. Opening with The Calculation, Spektor immediately wowed me in a way that her previous album never did. It’s got some great piano playing, particularly towards the end, and showcases the various sides to Spektor’s vocal range.
Eet is my favourite song on the album. It also comes extremely close to rivalling Samson as the greatest Spektor song ever to grace my ears. Her lyrics are cynical and yet they speak volumes. “It’s like forgetting the words to your favourite song/you can’t believe it you were always singing along”. These words have been carefully crafted for the listener to empathise and connect with them. Singing the onomatopoeic “eet” Spektor’s voice haunts you. If you listen to one song from this album, please let it be this.
Blue Lips is similarly haunting however this is due to the subject matter. Immediately I associated the “blue lips, blue veins” with illness and Spektor plays on this throughout the song.
Both Folding Chair and Machine take the names of inanimate objects to sing of emotions. Spektor’s ability to draw emotion out of concrete nouns continues to impress me.
The poignant Laughing With sings of the issue of religion and how there are times where we dare not laugh at God. Wars, hospitals and death are all sung about to throw the listener. And yet the contrast to singing about “Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus” when God is funny leaves you questioning your own beliefs.
Human Of The Year begins slowly and gradually gains pace. Spektor hits some impressively high notes whilst maintaining a sombre tone to the song. Ending it with the repeated “Hallelujah” makes the song memorable.
Neither Two Birds nor Dance Anthem Of The 80’s wowed me, but I must still credit them as good songs. There’s not a single song on this album that I would skip past were they to come up on iTunes Shuffle mode.
Two songs with outstanding lyrics are Genius Next Door and Wallet. Each uses a different narrative to creatively describe a story. The latter is particularly clever with the basic story being of the singer finding a wallet, flicking through all it’s contents before handing it into Blockbuster. Such a simple story yet Spektor throws in some humour and dramatic music to create something beautiful.
The final two tracks are sung with a slightly different tone. In One More Time With Feeling, Spektor uses her voice to sing both the lyrics and several other noises that add to the song. Man Of A Thousand Faces is sombre and the percussion creates huge tension that could genuinely scare the listener.
If you too, were a little disappointed with Begin To Hope, then I can assure you that this will take you right back to the brilliance of Samson and Braille. Spektor shines vocally and lyrically and I just hope that she continues in this manner for her next album. She’s playing a few shows in the UK in July and I seriously advise you to go and see her.