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Regina Spektor: Begin To Hope
Verdict: Vulnerable, uplifting, passion soars
Music Review - Album - 2006
(duration in minutes: seconds; writer; track number)
Fidelity (3:47, Regina Spektor, track 1.01)
Regina Spektor's voice softly sings tender lyrics over simple piano chords and syncopated tambourine. The simplicity of instrumentation allows the lyrics to shine through. Its upbeat quality contrasts with the lyrics' heartbreakingly honest account of love.
Better (3:22, Regina Spektor, track 1.02)
Sweet but with attitude - a very uplifting song. The piano is strengthened by drums and electric guitar; Regina Spektor sings with fragility and energy.
Samson (3:09, Regina Spektor, track 1.03)
Regina Spektor tells a story in a quietly powerful way. Her voice is vulnerable, then suddenly passion sears. The simplicity of bare voice and piano creates a sense of purity.
On the Radio (3:20, Regina Spektor, track 1.04)
Syncopated clapping and scat singing create an organic feel: a playful backdrop to thoughtful lyrics. A sensitive and honest song of love.
Field Below (5:18, Regina Spektor, track 1.05)
A tale of pain - 'Like ancient bruises, I am awake to feel the ache'. Sparse piano texture is decorated by Regina Spektor's stunning voice, which swoops over melancholy chords.
Hotel Song (3:28, Regina Spektor, track 1.06)
Bursting with attitude, Regina Spektor's quirky lyrics are complimented by an ongoing energetic beat. Organic scat singing is juxtaposed with electric instrumentation, creating a refreshing combination.
Après Moi (5:08, Regina Spektor, track 1.07)
Opening with booming piano chords Après Moi is like a dramatic monologue. Extracts in French float elegantly over the accompaniment and heighten the drama. Introduction of strings adds to the passion.
20 Years of Snow (3:30, Regina Spektor, track 1.08)
Flowing piano accompaniment trickles like falling snow. Regina Spektor's voice jumps between soft innocence and heartfelt guttural cries - a theatrical journey through the song.
That Time (2:37, Regina Spektor, track 1.09)
Bursting with energy, the formula of electric guitar, drums, and voice exudes attitude. Regina Spektor reminisces over quirky incidents in a playful cheeky way. Her voice dives and hiccups teasingly.
Edit (4:51, Regina Spektor, track 1.10)
Instrumentation becomes a feature: piano occasionally supported by strings, over an ongoing drum beat. The melodic line is quite repetitive, and instrumental sections dominate.
Lady (4:42, Regina Spektor, track 1.11)
Bare piano accompaniment gently floats underneath, with atmospheric glimpses of brass. Singing with fragility transforms into a powerful voice resonating pain. Simplicity of instrumentation creates a tingling atmosphere.
Summer in the City (3:50, Regina Spektor, track 1.12)
The combination of voice and piano creates a delicate mood, which contrasts with witty lyrics sung expressively.
Another Town (4:10, Regina Spektor, track 2.01)
A simple combination of piano, guitar and voice, Another Town is a mixture of passion and vulnerability. The gentle chorus repeats 'I love you', juxtaposed with upbeat verses.
Uh-Merica (3:19, Regina Spektor, track 2.02)
A sense of repressed anger. 'Uh' is cried out like a protest; powerfully, like a punch. Regina Spektor transforms into a character, her voice full of passion.
Baobabs (2:04, Regina Spektor, track 2.03)
A gentle love song. Regina Spektor's voice floats effortlessly over piano. Stunning lyrics feature strongly, pleadingly crying, 'You have tamed me, now you must take me.'
Düsseldorf (3:12, Regina Spektor, track 2.04)
Piano chords bounce underneath tales of adventure in foreign cities. Düsseldorf has a sense of freedom and excitement, enforced by snippets of foreign languages. Regina Spektor's voice playfully skips over notes, seeming to enjoy the melody.
Music Box (2:06, Regina Spektor, track 2.05)
A metaphor perhaps for breaking away from the constraints of society, 'Everyone inside the mechanism is yearning to get out'. Interesting and amusing, a joyous celebration of music. The basic piano accompaniment highlights Regina Spektor's wide range and cascading vocals.
Singer - Regina Spektor. Guitar (track 1.02) - Nick Valensi. Guitar (track 2.01) - Rusty Anderson. Bass (track 1.02) - David Kahne. Drums (tracks: 1.01, 1.02, 1.04, 1.06, 1.07, 1.09) - B>Shawn Pelton. Huqin [Er Hu] (track 1.05) - Zhao Gang. Saxophone (track 1.11) - Ralph U Williams.
Writer - Regina Spektor. Engineer - David Kahne. Additional Engineer - Craig Bishop. Assistant Mix Engineer - Will Hensely. Mixed By - David Kahne. Recorded and Mixed at - SeeSquaredStudio, New York City. Additional Recording at - New York Noise Studios, New York City. Mastered By - Bob Ludwig. Mastered At - Gateway Mastering & DVD, Portland, Maine. Artists & Repertoire (A & R) - Michael Goldstone. Management - Joe Hegleman, Ron Shapiro. Photography - Adria Petty, Christopher Frederick. Additional Photography - Georgia Kokolis. Artwork Director - Adria Petty, Christopher Frederick, with special thanks to Regina Spektor, Ellen Wakayama. Artwork Modified & Illustrated By - Christopher Frederick. Co-Producer - Regina Spektor. Producer - David Kahne. Format - CD Special Edition, 2 disc set. Release Date - 13 June 2006. Label - Sire / London / Rhino. UPC - 093624431527. Additional Format - Vinyl LP, 2 disc set. Release Date - 18 April 2009. Label - Warner Bros / WEA. UPC - 093624979395. Marketed By - Warner Bros Records Inc (a Warner Music Group Company). (C)(P) 2006 Sire Records for United States. (C)(P) 2006 WEA International Inc outside United States.
(c) Emma Wood 2009
reviewed Friday 13 November 2009 / Bristol, UK
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