February 10, 2007

Regina Spektor

I love the feeling of being overwhelmed by a new artist. Is there anything better than when you get your hands on a new CD and you listen to it so many times that you have trouble understanding who you were before you heard it? It is as if your entire existence in the universe was suspect and shallow before this new music entered your life. You watch as the iTunes counter goes from two to three to four to suddenly fourteen. You have listened to the entire CD fifteen times in two days. And those are the songs you think are okay. Your favorites are approaching twenty.

A few years ago, I saw The Strokes at Madison Square Garden and opening for them was a lively eclectic Russian girl who put on a good show. During the encore she joined the band to play a song called Postmodern Girls, which I went home and immediately downloaded. I lost track of her for a while, but her name was always on my “to get” lists. A few days ago one of her songs was on Grey’s Anatomy. (I know a kiss of death for people who like to keep their musical tastes away from the mainstream. I mean is there anything worse than bobbing your head to The Shins along with every other college girl or housewife who saw Garden State.) But what can I say? Grey’s anatomy picks some great music. This is a good thing in the end. Right?

Anyway, I put her name on a list of music to download, but my file-sharing program was acting up and taking forever. As luck would have it, my friend Jeff over at The Vapid Lemur who always sends me random music, sent me one of his now famous packages, which included ten CDs from artists I have never heard of. One of them was the Regina Spektor CD I had been wanting to get my hands on for years.

This CD has been on constant rotation on my computer since its arrival. It is life changing. I immediately needed to know how much material she has and I needed to get my hands on it as soon as possible. The beauty is that you can listen to her entire catalogue on her site.

I could sit here and re-invent the wheel and write what I think, or you could read her description on wikipedia, or you could go to her site and listen for yourself. That is what I suggest. Start with the song On The Radio, try That Time, then Fidelity (the Grey’s Anatomy single) Samson and Better round out the radio friendly material, the rest of the songs experiment with her Dr. Dre, Billie Holiday and Tchaikovsky influences. Yeah I know she is that good. Enjoy!

Here are some sample lyrics:

This is how it works
You're young until you're not
You love until you don't
You try until you can't
You laugh until you cry
You cry until you laugh
And everyone must breathe
Until their dying breath

No, this is how it works
You peer inside yourself
You take the things you like
And try to love the things you took
And then you take that love you made
And stick it into some
Someone else's heart
Pumping someone else's blood
And walking arm in arm
You hope it don't get harmed
But even if it does
You'll just do it all again


  1. Regina Spektor is in fact, incredible. And like you said, sometimes TV shows play fantastic music, and good for Grey's Anatomy (and also Veronica Mars, btw) to play her music. She's also had numerous songs of hers played on CSI: New York.

    You should definitely listen to her earlier stuff if you get a chance; she released two albums independently before Soviet Kitsch which was something of a success, but clearly Begin To Hope is her mainstream debut. Every song of hers on every album is a masterpiece, and you will not be disappointed. :)

  2. Anonymous6:13 AM

    She really is great. One of the very few contemporary artists whose music doesn't make one think "I must have heard it somewhere, it sounds so familiar".

    I wonder if she will ever record an album or at least a couple of songs in Russian.