“You leave such a mess, but you’re so fun.” This line from the penultimate track of Regina Spektor
’s new album sums up the listening experience for me - she’s an eclectic and quirky artist, but her spectacle is always enjoyable.
Anyone who felt that 2009’s Far
was far too listener-friendly will be pleased that What We Saw From The Cheap Seats
more fully embraces Spektor’s quirky side. This album has her imitating drum beats, vocalizing her own horn sections and putting on a fake Italian accent. These signature eccentricities add depth to her musical storytelling - her gasping breaths near the end of “Open” drive home the sense of a self-made prison with chilling realism.
You’ll find some mass appealing tracks here too, notably the infectious “Don’t Leave Me (Ne Quitte Pas),” revamped from her 2002 self-released album Songs
. It’s pure, poppy fun, sure to inspire plenty of sing-alongs in bad French. Some of her standard heartfelt ballad fare joins the mix too, with the wise and introspective “Firewood” and soulful “How.”
Like many of her previous releases, the album lacks a sense of flow for all its stylistic variations. But it’s so solidly Regina that the haphazard arrangement is easy to forgive. Fans of her many facets should easily find something to love on this release.