Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
Throughout Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor toys with every possible persona of the female singer-songwriter. She's alternately cutesy, quirky, stand-offish, and approachable. She's both strong and weak. Both smart and stupid - even though deep down you know she's one of the most intelligent artists you've ever listened to. She sprinkles pop-culture references into her songs so effortlessly you almost miss them, and then writes an intricate song about the biblical story of Samson. Blink and you'll miss something.
Hope is much more polished than anything Spektor's done in the past. With the help of David Kahne, she eliminates the rough around the edges feel of her previous releases, with mixed results. At times, Spektor's unique personality is pushed to the background, especially the surprisingly pop-rock tune 'Better.' But even under the sheen, her eccentricities poke their heads out every now and then. If you aren't paying attention, 'Hotel Song' sounds like the most pleasant of pop songs complete with Spektor's most lovely cooing, but listen to those lyrics: "A little bag of cocaine / A little bag of cocaine / So who's the girl wearing my dress? / I figured out her number / It's on a paper napkin / But I don't know her address." This is just an example of the strange tension that runs through the album.
More fun than Fiona Apple, stranger than Nellie McKay, and more commanding than Tori Amos. Some will be disappointed with the increased production on Begin to Hope, but Regina Spektor is too strong a personality to be bogged down by such a thing.
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on 2007-07-10 lmartini Said:
Regina Spektor; wonderfully creative, fresh and new with each play. Eclectic both musically and lyrically, she draws jazz, folk and classical music influences into her songs, ranging from the upbeat bubbly tunes such as “Hotel Song” and “On The Radio” to the light yet heart-rending “Lady” or “Samson”. Though piano remains the predominant instrument here, a brilliant display of natural progression between the keys, strings and guitar must be noted. Of course, none of this would be complete without the most powerful instrument on the record; her voice. Quirky, unique, at times vulnerable and emphasized by a strong New York accent, there is always something left behind for the listener to return to and rediscover.