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Regina Regina

08.14.2013

Regina Spektor. How far we’ve come. Before the hair-and-makeup, the fame, the girlie popularity, you were on a stage opening for the Strokes (a different encomium altogether), a hidden woman and her keyboard, a chair, singing songs with titles like ‘Baobabs’.

Regina Spektor holds an atrophying place in my heart. Her voice as versatile as a comedian’s, yet beautiful in the classical (the jazz) sense. As if Norah Jones were crossed with Lenny Bruce. She is indulgent, and unafraid, in the way that Miranda July is (both tread that sentimental line). It works, just, and that’s what makes it really good.

Spektor has the technical ability to do anything she wants. The Harpo Marx of the pop piano scene, she’ll play Rachmaninoff and then start gurgling weird sounds with her mouth (still completely on key). She’ll sing songs about pickles as surely as about God, mythological figures and mercantile tailgates, social issues and personal neuroses.

I have dreams about me in an empty room with her music coming down from the rafters. It’s not only her voice, it’s the tone of her piano. She plays in that clean, crisp way some rock pianists (Elton John, say) play those chords–simple, three-note majors, but clear–a deep sound, a cathartic ring. The right touch.

More recently she’s produced some lesser-than-quality stuff, but that happens. I find myself wishing she were still the silly, awkward Russian in East Village clothes, who uncannily could play like Chopin and sing like Billy Holiday. Those were more romantic days, in college, lying on our beds listening to her say how the Bible didn’t mention us, not even once. Whatever. It resonated.

regina spektor

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