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Regina Spektor:: Begin To Hope (Album Review)

I live in an apartment. In the apartment above me lives a 70 or so year old classically trained pianist. Every morning, between 9 and 10, I am treated to my own private recital. He has a knack for being eccentric and wearing horrible pastel colored suits. But damn, can he tickle those ivories.

This is leading me in a roundabout way to Regina Spektor. She’s also classically trained, Russian born, and not too shabby of a looker either. She reminds me of my neighbor, sans the weird late night noises and bad suits.

Drawing lyrical inspiration from cereal boxes, orca whales, crappy Guns and Roses ballads and the pain/joy of everyday life, Spektor has found a niche in a world with too many Fiona Apple clones. At times, she comes off as another one of those clones, especially in the beginning of this album, but she’s dirty. Unafraid to show that she can drink with the boys and still hurt like a precious flower trampled under the weight of society and love’s heavy foot. Bearing her soul for all to see, Spektor sucks you in to her world. Bringing forth one’s own paranoia, as well as empty hearted feelings. She weaves her brilliantly written gems of desolate times and lonesome drinking with a unique witty personal insight. She is extremely funny and her voice is gentle in a child like way. Her honesty is startling, but you find it easy to seek comfort in the subject matter that she sings about. Although sometimes she can come off a bit indecisive. Does she wants the happiness that comes from letting one’s self go? Or has she doomed herself to a bleak existance, never knowing the joys of having some stability?.And every moment is back and forth, always an intense battle of emotions. Raw, often misunderstood, lost and searching for something to grasp ahold of. Spektor breaks all the rules, one by one, with no regards of the consequences. Swaggering like a punk, but pouring her heart out to the accepting arms of her fans and admirers, taking no prisoners along the way. Hell yeah, that’s one ballsy lady.

Pat Benetar once sang, “Love is a battlefield.” If that’s true, Regina Spektor is General Patton and Love has no chance in Hell. Be afraid Love, cause you’re in the crosshairs and you’re going down!!!

I like this record. Maybe it’s because I’ve been drinking and can relate to a good share of the feelings expressed on this album. Maybe it’s because I’m a sucker for forgeign born women who can play a mean piano. Like a prizefighter, this record starts off slow, but in the end it’s a contender.
(Review:: Casey Schroeder)