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Regina Spektor: Home, before and after album review

Regina Spektor: Home, before and after album review

A great Regina Spektor song unfolds like a short story with the boring parts removed. Like “Chemo Limo,” “Samson,” and other iPod-era bangers, “Becoming All Alone” fits the bill. It is a skewed ballad that imagines what it might be like to have a beer with God, and its solitary chorus has the spectatorian ability to make sincerity seem like a superpower. When I saw Spektor, alone at the piano, debut the song at a benefit concert back in 2014, I remember feeling like I was let into a secret. Someone uploaded an amateur recording to YouTube, and fans sent it around like a treasure, wondering when she could record the song.

Now, almost eight years later, that wish has been fulfilled. “Becoming All Alone” is the opening song on Spector’s eighth album, At home, before and after. But the quiet vulnerability of the course has been lost. The studio version is adorned with large, Technicolor strings and a powerful, “Torn” adjacent drum loop that has the strange task of imposing a funky backbeat on a track that is not particularly funky at all. There is a great song hidden there, but the arrangement is so smooth that “Fidelity” sounds like a demo.

I know, I know: Do not get too attached to the early live version. It’s an unspoken rule for pop fandom. Nevertheless, the song’s development reflects the governing impulse on Spector’s first album since 2016. Spector worked externally for the first time, recording her parts in a converted church in the state of New York, while John Congleton produced the record from California. The songs are among her most memorable since Start hoping/Far era, but there is the occasional link between the songwriting and the arrangements, which are aimed at bombastic widescreen movements.

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Take “What Might Have Been”, which begins as a whimsical retelling of contrasts (“Sickness and flowers go together / Bombing and shelters go together”) before swelling into a windswept chorus cake in Broadway glitter. It sounds majestic, and absolutely expensive, but the production flattens out the songwriter’s nervous eccentricities.

Spector’s childish whim is still intact – “Loveology” culminates in her taking on the form of a schoolteacher and listing fictitious words ending in “-ology” – but it is set against a certain solemnity, a weight. The plate is full of cosmic musings; almost every melody is based on a grand, italicized declaration of love or loss or distortion: «Love is enough for a reason stay“(” Coins “),” The home is there of light on! “(” Through a Door “) and so on. The heaviest of all is” Spacetime Fairytale “, a nine minute long epic that alternates between serious orchestral pondering and playful piano interludes. Its ambition is dizzying and its subject, the infinity of time, compelling , but it is undermined by a tone that gathers around children, filled with rhymes like “The story must continue / So keep listening, my son”.

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