tremble clef

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Regina Spektor, "On The Radio" (2006)

Let's review and prognosticate.

Here's what we know about Regina Spektor's current album, Begin To Hope. It's her major label debut on Sire; prior to this there've been albums, but they were independent and spiky. On the iTunes store, a fan moans that the new record "deviates from what makes Regina so special, her ability to create an intimate feeling....[I]t's almost as if she's lost her passion and replaced it with snappy background music and backup singers." Some fans more bluntly name it as Regina "going POP," though some feel that this is no bad thing ("she's growing up!" "there's nothing wrog with our girl trying to reach a wider audience with some radio friendly song structure"). Allmusic further points out that the first half of the album is more conventionally pop-sounding; the "more unique, quintessentially Regina Spektor-esque tracks [are] at the end of Begin to Hope," though this "isn't so much a bait-and-switch as is a clever way to lure in and loosen the inhibitions of new fans. The album feels like getting to really know someone: at first, it's polite and a little restrained, but then its real personality, with all of its charming idiosyncrasies, finally reveals itself." Thankfully, it feels like the metaphor stopped at the right time, seconds before phrases like "got me drunk," "roofies," "woke up with my clothes in disarray," "finally got a good look in the morning light" entered to extend it further.

From this, would we be right to predict that (1) I am, for pretty much the first time ever, willing to give Miss Spektor the time of day; (2) indeed finding the first half of the album more instantaneous; and (3) especially enjoying the poptastic single "On The Radio" (with its pizzicato string arrangement, ba-ba-ra-da-da-DUM! piano, swirly background bits, the almost call-and-response hook of "uh-oh!", which overcomes the too-quirky way Regina enunciates "pray-dee-oooh!", as the song progresses)? Yes. Yes, we can. Sorry. Like Regina, I can't be wild, wacky, and unpredictable all the time.


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