Regina Spektor – ‘Remember Us to Life’ Review

‘Remember Us to Life’ is Regina Spektor’s 7th studio album and the first in four years, with ‘What We Saw From The Cheap Seats’ being released in 2012. But Regina Spektor has still been with us, for the last three years, in the form of her ridiculously catchy and surprisingly moving theme – ‘You’ve Got Time’ from Netflix’s ‘Orange Is The New Black’. With this kind of show, you’d think I’d be anxious to get to the sex and the chicken and the shanks and the yoga and the meth and the joke about the egg-plant and the Alex Vause. But Spektor produced such a great theme that whenever Netflix skips the titles, I find myself taking it back just to listen to the theme every time. It’s got to the point now where I can’t start the show without it. It’s like trying to start a movie with the lights on, or no popcorn or no blanket.

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With such a quality and celebrated body of work behind Regina Spektor, I ex-Spekt-ed, excuse the pun, much from this album and I think fans will not be disappointed. ‘Bleeding heart’ is the first single from the album and an extremely strong entry. Unfortunately, it’s possibly the only track suitable on the album for a successful single. That’s not to say that the tracks are necessarily without merit, they just possibly have more affect in an album context.

Spektor is known for her gentle and moving contemplations and songs on this album such as: ‘Grand Hotel’, remind us why Spektor has been given the title of the “Joni Mitchell of her generation”. The rest of the album is more musically reminiscent of Tori Amos and Bjork and there are certain tracks where Spektor’s voice sounds remarkably like Fiona Apple but these comparisons are nothing new to fans of Spektor.

On this album Spektor touches on thought provoking issues and emotions, not just romantic as in ‘Black and White’ which is a gloriously mournful love song (“all my love in black and white”), but also fear (‘Tornadoland’), loneliness (‘New Year’), art (‘Obsolete’), change (‘The Visit’) and the injustices in society (‘The Trapper and The Furrier’). But the most interesting topic addressed in any of the songs, for my money, can be found in the bonus track ‘The One Who Stayed and The One Who Left’. This is a song that examines the friendship between two men, one who is ambitious and one who is happy as they are. In ‘The One Who Stayed..’ the consequence of being too ambitious or not ambitious enough is drifting away from those you once cared about. The song does not mourn this loss, however, and seems to see it as an inevitable part of an individual’s nature – “It’s not your choice, it’s how you’re built. It’s in the blueprint of your soul”. But the most important issue Spektor draws our attention to in ‘Sellers of Flowers’, is that “winter is coming”. The track that reaches me on a personal level is ‘Older and Taller’. The song is my favourite on the album and my favourite lyrics has to be: “‘’Enjoy your youth’ sounds like a threat but I will anyway”. There is another inspiration on this album who is probably the reason for the four year wait on this album and that is the son that was born to Spektor in 2014. She has said that motherhood gave her a new motivation for her art. Her new muse’s influence is noticeable on tracks like ‘The Light’ which seems to be a message directly to her son.

rsThe jacket provided with the album makes for an enjoyable journey. The lyrics are, of course, included as well as a message from Spektor that says “Love and Peace” (shame it doesn’t have a smiley face in the O like O.J. Simpson suicide note). There is also some very nice album art which includes a photograph of Regina Spektor dressed as Enya:

‘Remember Us to Life’ is an album that loses its momentum somewhere along the way. Musically it is interesting, but not unique and lyrically it has depth but again is nothing new. This is an album that “has its moments”. It has a few stand out tracks but they come right at the beginning, the rest of the album is not as consistent and by the end you are left somewhat deflated. That being said, it is definitely worth a listen and definitely worth purchasing ‘Bleeding Heart’ and ‘Older and Taller’ and I have ‘still got tiiiiiiiiiiiimmme’ for Regina Spektor.

 

‘Remember Us To Life’ available on CD, Vinyl and digital download, now.