Monday, January 7, 2013

CD Review-What We Saw From the Cheap Seats


                What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is singer/songwriter Regina Spektor’s most recent album was released on May 29, 2012. The album overall has a more poppy feel than her previous albums, but still has the typical Regina style.
                The album opens with “Small Town Moon”. This song, I feel, sets a certain tone for  the rest of the album, the softer and more gentle verses being interrupted with a slightly harsher sounding chorus giving the song a sort of tension and energy, This is followed by the strange “Oh Marcello”, whose lyrics I cannot make heads or tails of. I think it might be about Hitler’s mom, but I’m not entirely sure. It also includes the hook from a Nina Simon song, and part of me wonders if the whole song was created as an excuse for that hook. We then come to the rather tropical feeling, but otherwise unremarkable song “Ne Me Quitte Pas”, which is actually a newer version of the one found on her album “Songs”.  The lyrics and tune are kind of catchy, but the song just feels pretty plain to me.  “Firewood” “Patron Saint” and “How” are all rather typical from what you expect from Spektor. Then we come to “All the Rowboats”
                This song actually gives me goosebumps. The lyrics and the feel of the song is kind of dark in of themselves, lamenting the fact that beautiful art never gets to be appreciated or used by people, but rather just gets stuck in stuffy museums. The price of greatness comes out to be a life of eventual boredom and stagnation which one might not have to face if they hadn’t achieved such greatness. The person is lost behind their art, they don’t become a person, but rather become an art piece. That being said, ole Regina got a little carried away with the percussion instruments and making explodey noises with her mouth in this one, so the ending of the songs falls a tad. . .flat, because of that.
                “Ballad of a Politician” is another example of Regina displaying her quirkiness that made me fall in love with her music.  “Open” is another haunting song, and easily my favorite on the album. “The Party” and “Jessica” overall are not good ways to end the album. Both are a sudden departure from the previous songs which we were hearing and are kind of unremarkable in a way.
                Now looking at the album in a whole, it is definitely going to be a lot more accessible to mainstream listeners. It only has a couple of quirky songs on it, but the majority of it seems a little too “poppy” for my liking. Nothing as bad as Ke$ha or Minaj (both of which I find laughable excuses for musicians) but the influence is there. The album has a slightly less varied “feeling” to it than previous albums like “Songs” or “Far”, but this doesn’t detract overall. I was slightly disappointed, but it is definitely worth adding to your collection, and might be a good introduction to Regina for the standard Pop listener. 

You can buy the album here

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A young man living in North Texas. He is an actor, a Hellenistos, and a proud member of Hellenion.