Regina Spektor holds a special place in my heart, musically speaking. Her concert was my first “adult” gig; post Soviet Kitsch and just after the release of Begin To Hope, we stood close enough to touch the stage and laughed along with her opener, Only Son, who later became her husband which is basically just the most adorable thing in the world, right? Anyway, it was a great show, and I’ve tried my best to keep up with Regina from my very very early days of posting about live-only tracks and b-sides on the Brumstix forums all the way until now.
I wasn’t really expecting or needing more music from Regina Spektor at this point in my life, but I happened to catch “Bleeding Heart” on my Spotify release radar and realized that more Regina was exactly what I needed. I fell out of touch a little on the last album, but Remember Us To Life, which was released on September 30, picks up right where I felt like I left off.
And I love it.
Fans of Regina’s older work will feel a very Begin To Hope vibe on this record, interwoven with new sounds to create an album that might be a quintessential Regina Spektor experience for both old fans and newcomers alike: it is beautiful, it is elegant, it is weird, and it carries the same unique, adventurous vibe of all of her previous records. It’s a little bit quieter, a little more gentle than Cheap Seats and Far, but that absolutely works and creates a record that sits comfortably with the rest of her discography.
Though I already spoke of “Bleeding Heart,” a great, upbeat track that reminds me a lot of her last two albums, it’s followed up with one of my favorite tracks, “Older and Taller,” which winds between being cheerful and fast paced to a little dark at times, and includes one of my favorite lyrics from the record: “enjoy your youth / sounds like a threat / but I will anyway.” From here we loop into “Grand Hotel,” which feels very much like a spiritual cousin to everything on Begin To Hope, and “Small Bill$” carries us on through the trip through everything Regina Spektor has ever worked on.
I think that’s what’s so remarkable about this album: it feels both new and like a trip through memory lane. It’s a culmination of every style she’s ever used, every song on every previous record, and it does so in a seamless, coherent way that never makes you feel like you’re listening to 15 years worth of music on shuffle.
My favorite part of the album is easily the seventh track, “The Trapper and the Furrier,” which hearkens back to songs like “Carbon Monxoide” and “Ghost of Corporate Future” with an eerie fairy tale vibe and low, measured notes that guide you through the lyrics in a way that makes you feel as if, for a moment, you are marching through dark forests into soot covered factories and puts you right in the middle of the action. We also get songs like “Obsolete,” which are beautiful in their sadness but feel inspiring and welcome rather than depressing; you know, the sort of songs you want to listen to when you’re in a bad mood but ultimately know things are going to get better.
While “The Visit” is a wonderful closing track for the album, the deluxe version also includes three bonus tracks: “New Year,” “The One Who Stayed and the One Who Left,” and “End of Thought,“which serve as a beautiful encore to the rest of the record and as a trio of songs feel like a story in and of themselves. If this were still 2002 and 2-3 track albums were still all the rage, these three bonus tracks could easily exist on their own and still be well worth owning.
All told, this might be my favorite Regina Spektor album since her first two. I don’t necessarily think it is her best album since her first two, but she manages to capture exactly what I loved about her music when I discovered it for the first time while still managing to sound a little more mature, a little more polished, but still distinctly Regina.
Remember Us To Life is available now via Amazon, iTunes, and directly from Regina Spektor’s online store. You can also preview the entire album for free on Spotify if you would like to listen before you buy.
Have you already listened to this album? What did you think? What are some of your favorite tracks? Be sure to let me know in the comments below! I’d love to hear what you think!