Regina Spektor ♦ What We Saw from the Cheap Seats (2012)

Regina Spektor - What We Saw from the Cheap Seats (2012)


 Regina Spektor ♦ What We Saw from the Cheap Seats (Deluxe Version)
Location: New York, U.S.
Release date: May 29, 2012 / Recorded: Summer 2011 in Los Angeles
Record Label: Sire Records
Runtime:    45:32
01. Small Town Moon    2:59
02. Oh Marcello    2:36 
03. Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)    3:37
04. Firewood    4:51
05. Patron Saint    3:38
06. How    4:45
07. All The Rowboats    3:33
08. Ballad Of A Politician    2:13 
09. Open    4:27
10. The Party    2:25 
11. Jessica    1:44
12. Call Them Brothers (feat. Only Son) [Jack Dishel, Regina Spektor; Non–Album Track]    3:07 
13. The Prayer Of François Villon (Molitva) [Cover Song In Russian] [Bulat Okudzhava; Non–Album Track]    3:33
14. Old Jacket (Stariy Pidjak) [Cover Song In Russian] [Bulat Okudzhava; Non-Album Track]    2:04     // Native name: Реги́нa Ильи́нична Спе́ктор
Born:  February 18, 1980, Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Origin: New York, U.S.
SputnikMusic:  /  Rating: 5.0
Summary: What we saw from the cheap seats was Regina Spektor release another album. What we heard was her best effort yet.
2001: 11:11
2002: Songs
2004: Soviet Kitsch
2006: Begin to Hope
2009: Far
2012: What We Saw from the Cheap Seats 
NPR 1st listen review:
A genuine oddball with a salty side, Regina Spektor possesses a vocal style rangy enough to encompass sweet nothings, animal noises, drum sounds and funny accents. But for all her occasional flights of fancy — or perhaps because her unpredictability makes her sincerity more disarming — Spektor is a skilled sentimentalist whose words summon universal feelings of love, hope, disappointment and desire.
Spektor's first new studio album in three years, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats (out May 29) finds her scattering in several directions without losing sight of the sweet melodies that make her so accessible. "Don't Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)" bounces and lilts through an almost comically jaunty arrangement — it's 3 minutes and 40 seconds of pure, sprightly ingratiation — before giving way to the sparklingly gorgeous ballad "Firewood," whose minor-key piano and hopeful realism make it one of her finest songs. Spektor may get silly in "Oh Marcello," or imitate drum blasts in "All the Rowboats," but she's forever on the verge of a devastating insight or a gasp-inducing succession of notes.
For a classically trained performer with an unusual history — she moved from Moscow to the Bronx when she was 9, then later trained at a music conservatory — Spektor has a remarkable gift for gut-level connection, and for drawing a straight line from her idea-packed head to thousands of bleeding hearts. On What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, as on its predecessors, even the weirdest moment comes in service of warmth that's as kind and necessary as an old friend.
by Stephen Thompson; 20 May 2012 /

NPR Music

May 28, 2012 |  1:11 pm
“The piano is not firewood yet,” Regina Spektor declares not long into her new album, and indeed it’s hard to imagine this New York City songstress running out of better applications for her instrument any time soon.
On “What We Saw From the Cheap Seats,” her fourth major–label studio set, Spektor uses the piano to anchor a succession of far–flung ditties, including the funky, suite-like “Small Town Moon,” the fuzzily percussive “All the Rowboats” and the deeply affecting white–soul ballad “How.” Her partner here, the producer Mike Elizondo, knows how to help diversify an artist's sound without muddying the mix; he famously de-cluttered Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine.”
Beyond her playing, Spektor holds together the music on “Cheap Seats” with her singing, which even at its most intricately melodic (as in “Oh Marcello”) retains an improvisatory feel, as though she’s making up these songs as she goes.
In “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)” — not the Jaques Brel tune — Spektor chews over the phrase “I love Paris in the rain” atop a bouncy quirk–pop groove, while “Patron Saint” finds her stretching “true love” to at least a dozen syllables. Those lyrical snippets tell you that Spektor, like so many songwriters, has romance on the brain. But, as with her unique arrangements, she rarely comes at the topic from the angle you'd expect.
Regina Spektor “What We Saw From the Cheap Seats” (Sire)
Rating: Three stars (Out of four)

◊ It’s not that Regina Spektor is struggling, goodness knows. She records for a major label, her albums sell well worldwide, and her songs regularly get licensed to movies and television. But new chanteuses keep popping up to steal her spotlight: some as quirky as Spektor, and some as virtuosic, but none as singular. And after 2009’s Far — a mostly good album that sometimes lost the plot in its attempt to be both mainstream and odd—Spektor seemed in danger of becoming formulaic, and thus too easily ignored. She was on the path to being tagged as just another talented singer–songwriter with a weird streak.
What We Saw From The Cheap Seats isn’t a major departure for Spektor, but it’s generally more comfortable in its eccentricity than Far. It’s more like 2006’s Begin To Hope in the way it integrates Spektor’s wilder, more Kate Bush and Björk–like impulses into snappy piano–driven pop. Spektor works lines from The Animals’ “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” into the loopy Italiano anthem “Oh Marcello,” hums the main riff from War’s “Low Rider” during the coda of “Patron Saint,” and gasps like a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner during the otherwise gentle and heartfelt “Open.” Spektor’s world is full of surprises, typified by album–opener “Small Town Moon,” which begins as a relaxed piano ballad and then explodes into a big beat and clapping, while Spektor whoops and half–scats lines like, “Everybody not so nice–nice.” Then “Small Town Moon” ends with Spektor quietly asking, “How can I leave without hurting everyone who made me?,” re–grounding the song in earnest sentiment.
Spektor still has some trouble assembling all her ideas into a cohesive album; What We Saw From The Cheap Seats takes a sort of “well, here’s another song” approach, all the way up to the sweet but anticlimactic closer, “Jessica.” But there’s not a weak track on the record, and there’s something arresting in each song, from the dramatic Thomas Dolby–style electronic drum sound at the start of  “All The Rowboats” to Spektor imitating a passing parade with her lips on “The Party.” And none of it would be as meaningful if Spektor didn’t keep returning to the simplicity of songs like “Firewood” and “How,” where she relies primarily on her big, rangy voice, and the honest expression of what it would mean, “to hear your voice, to see your face.”
by Noel Murray May 29, 2012 / Rating: A– /

Slant Review - by Jonathan Keefe on May 28, 2012 / / Rating: ****File:Regina Spektor black and white.jpg           Regina Spektor playing an electronic piano in 2006, July 26 / Author: Sam Ford

Regina Spektor's new album, What We Saw From the Cheap Seats, comes out May 29.

File:Russia stamp B.Okudzhava 1999 2r.jpg

Regina Spektor ♦ What We Saw from the Cheap Seats (2012)