Regina Spektor: What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

Album review
Regina Spektor: What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

Regina Spektor

What We Saw from the Cheap Seats

Label: Sire
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

Russian-born New York-based singer/ pianist/songwriter Regina Spektor is a drama queen. Not in a bad way; let’s just say her engaging, eccentric recordings lean toward the theatrical. On this latest CD, she even leans toward the operatic pop of Queen. Case in point: “Oh Marcello,” in which Spektor berates an Italian lover, quotes the Animals’ 1965 hit “Don’t Let me Be Misunderstood,” mouths a drum part, and mimics an exasperated Italian bimbo. With its structural resemblance to “Bohemian Rhapsody,” the song could easily have been written by a lazy Freddie Mercury. Other influences emerge as well, especially Rickie Lee Jones and Suzanne Vega. Oddly, Spektor’s most original when she doesn’t try so hard to be. That’s most noticeable on the ballads “Firewood” and “Jessica,” with its acoustic-guitar arrangement. The 1950s-influenced “How,” a straight-ahead piano ballad about lost love, spotlights Spektor at her most restrained and personal. It makes you realize that despite the drama, she seldom reveals her true colors on this album. What We saw from the Cheap Seats lacks the personal voice that won fans in such heartfelt songs as “Ode to Divorce” or “Us,” from 2004’s chamber-pop heavyweight Soviet Kitsch

More Info

  • primary artist, Regina Spector
  • CD

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