Posted by: Staff | 11.16.2009

Album Review: Regina Spektor’s “Far”

CHRISTINA NANFELDT ’10

Regina Spektor’s music is an adventure. When she sets off on a journey, she doesn’t pack any bags, she doesn’t use a map, and she doesn’t know where the road will take her, but in the end, she always arrives at a beautiful place. Spektor never writes any of her lyrics down or prepares lines before beforehand. Instead, the words just flow to her and then magically fall into place. Stories and characters blossom from her imagination and translate into song. The final product is a collection of songs, each with their own musical style. This quality in Regina Spektor’s music and latest album, Far, speaks true to many anti-folk artists, like herself, who strive to be raw and experimental and let the music transpire naturally.

In touch with the anti-folk genre, each song in Spektor’s album has its own unique sound and array of figurative language. Yet more than most artists, Regina has a soul of a poet. Her lyrics have depth, symbolism, and colorful literary details that surprise and enhance the experience for her listeners. For example, notice the figurative language used in her song “Blue Lips”:

They started off beneath the knowledge tree

And they chopped it down to make a picket fence

And marching along the railroad tracks

They smiled real wide for the camera lens

As they made it past the enemy lines

Just to become enslaved in the enemy lines.

The line “they started off beneath the knowledge tree” is a religious reference to the book of Genesis, which told how The Tree of Knowledge is the centre of the Garden of Eden. In context to the song, Spektor is trying to convey how God created a perfect world for his children to live in, yet we are mindlessly destroying it with greed and conformation. The metaphors and descriptive language coupled with the instrumental harmony makes the meaning of the song even more powerful and complex.

Another song, “The Wallet,” tells a story about someone finding a strangers wallet and then returning it to Blockbuster for the owner to retrieve.

I found a wallet

Inside were pictures of your small family

You were so young, your hair dark brown

You had been born in 1953

Your winter birthday was stamped on the plastic

Of a license so recently expired.

On the surface, “Wallet” is a pretty simple, silly story, but, like much of Spektor’s writing, it contains a much deeper, more meaningful message. One object, in this case a wallet, is a portal to someone else’s life and shows how all strangers share something in common; they all have their own stories.

Regina Spektor’s latest album, Far, couples inventive figurative language with memorable melodies to communicate inspirational messages to her listeners. Spektor’s talent outshines the average pop or rock singers who are mounted on billboards and played on repeat on the radio. Because unlike other artists, Spektor isn’t afraid to take a risk, step out of the box, and embark on an adventure into the unknown.

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Responses

  1. Oh she is so beautiful I just cannot get enough of her! Saw her live 3 times this year and each time she got better and better!

    also CHECK OUT MY BLOG – http://ocdtetris.wordpress.com/


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