Regina Spektor — Remember Us to Life

Warner Bros. · Sire |
Quirky, lefty piano pop: a little older, a little wiser, a little sadder.

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Out of the hefty block of functionally identical young women who play functionally identical piano ballads about their functionally identical loves, Regina Spektor has carved herself a delightful little niche.

Eschewing the autobiographical angle, she instead deftly sketches character vignettes and narratives. Precious few could convincingly spin fantastical yarns about a grand hotel infested with demons, then muse on the owner of a lost wallet she has found.

Peppered with idiosyncratic vocal tics, her albums tend to polarise. Some consider Spektor's yelps, trills and melismas to be garish decorations, obscuring rather than highlighting her considerable songwriting chops. To be sure, her more unbalanced songs, especially among her earlier repertoire, always tip towards the former. But fifteen years on from her eclectic debut, Spektor has tamed them into a more demure, understated aesthetic — and she wears it well.

Remember Us to Life introduces a Spektor a little older, a little wiser and a little sadder. There are no happily-ever-afters for her beloved cast of characters this time, and their morals are often grim and gloomy. But in descending from the clouds, her tales resonate more deeply than ever.