Regina Spektor’s Far is confident, polished, predictable

Regina Spektor - Far

It’s that time again. Big review Tuesday. Though not quite as much of an anticipated release as say, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest or Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Regina Spektor’s new effort, Far, still arrives with great excitement and fervor. And while Far is probably Spektor’s most ambitious album to date, it’s also the most unvaried – offering up the potential for hot debate in the music community as a whole.

Spektor captures grandiose moments with her full-fledged piano pop, yet leaves little room for the Spektor of old – she of Soviet Kitsch, who worked her way into the hearts of quirks and nerds aplenty, while still appealing to others who found her voice to be just as precious. We could see this progression coming though – Begin To Hope already was a step in a new, more polished direction, and Far only builds upon that.

That’s not to say, though, that Far is an album I can’t enjoy, and I hope those folks who were into the Regina of old can accept this full-sounding album. Because on display is some magnificent pop, with hugely gorgeous vocals, as on “Dance Anthem of the 80’s”, and devastating piano, as on “Eet” (probably my favorite track). While she may have lost some of her “raw” edge, the arrangements are as confident as ever, with intricacies abound (“Machine”, “Dance Anthem…” – breathtaking crescendos) and oftentimes a cappella percussion.

But, while Far rounds itself into a produced and mature whole, it also is very much of “the same.” It surely doesn’t slack on talent (may even be her most talented effort yet – don’t let that get lost on you!), though I expect some hardcore fans to be a little taken aback by this latest effort. I just hope they don’t lose sight of the beauty within each track.

Bottom line: several stand-out singles on an album that doesn’t lend itself to much variety. Regina’s still awesome in my mind, and she’s probably going to gain an even greater following on this record for those who couldn’t connect with her previous albums.

Regina Spektor – “Eet” [MP3]

Regina Spektor – “Dance Anthem of the 80’s” [MP3]

Regina Spektor – “Laughing With” [MP3]

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