mon 20/05/2024

Album: Regina Spektor - Home, before and after | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Regina Spektor - Home, before and after

Album: Regina Spektor - Home, before and after

Sincerity made entertaining through quirks, pathos and orchestral backing

Regina Spektor's new album, 'Home, before and after'

When did life become so theoretical? In the penultimate track of her new album, Home, before and after, Regina Spektor plays the role of classroom teacher to list all of the -ologies, from porcupineology through pleaseology to sorryology and loveology.

Set to endearingly intimate piano, it’s a sardonic poke at the current epidemic of self-branding and the categorised polarisation of thought this has created. Perhaps this is why – in a world where everything now published extraneously from our internalised thought process has become a concept to be marketed – this album is such a breath of fresh air. The song’s incurable humanism, it’s awareness and self-deprecation about “singing songs about nothing at all” is a gloriously wry satire that is oh-so-Spektor. Thrillingly, the excellence doesn’t let up throughout the album.

The Russian-Jewish-American singer-songwriter is the queen of intuitive sound – she sings what feels right as opposed to what people might like to hear. The result is often a dichotomy of sound and sense – “Becoming All Alone” and “Up The Mountain” introduces grand scale orchestra to cushion Spektor’s meandering colloquialism and buoyant musical refrains alongside wistful lyrics. The latter, a surging, multi-layered musical search for answers reminds us of her talent for syncopation and meditative tongue-twisty repetition.

“One Man’s Prayer” and “Sugarman” look at the manipulation of loneliness and submission in the face of possession. “What Might Have Been” is a standout track with vibrant lyrical brilliance based on the assurance that “everyone loves a story”, listing how “Pirates and parrots go together, Sticks and carrots go together, Loving and leaving go together, Lies and believing go together”. An upbeat chorus is paired with simplistic lines, underpinned by a yearning, vintage twang.

 “Spacetime Fairytale” is Spektor’s “Also sprach Zarathustra”, a wildly epic orchestral about the ethereality of time complete with spoken word, rousing strings and a skipping La-La-Land piano section accompanied by the sound of tap dancing.

“Through A Door” echoes the butterfly effect that is ever prevalent in many of her songs, telling that “tomorrow, may it pass like a shadow or a storm” but ultimately details the strength of the human heart. It is the perfect finale to an album of joyful dualities – irreverence and wisdom, deities and misogyny, elegant piano melodies and conscious poetics.

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