Review: Regina Spektor :: “Home, Before And After” – Broadway Melodies

Regina Spektor probably has a rich record collection. On the one hand she owns the records of Fleetwood Mac, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Suzanne Vega, Tori Amos, Aimee Mann, David Byrne, Lou Reed and the Strokes. On the other hand, she listens to the works of Shostakovich, Mahler and Stravinsky, Schönberg and Philip Glass. And no doubt she’s also followed what’s happening in electronic music in recent years. She loves piano ballads. She loves orchestral arrangements. She loves pop music.

A musical with a loose plot and lots of hits

Spektor hasn’t made a record for six years, a large part of her 20-year career. Remember Us To Life was preceded by a four-year hiatus. While she released her first albums in quick succession (and without a record label), she’s been in no hurry since the stunning success of 2006’s Begin To Hope. Peter Gabriel, Ben Folds, the Strokes worked with Regina Spektor. She wrote a song for The Chronicles of Narnia. And hardly any American series could do without a song by the Jewish American from the Bronx.

“I went walking home alone/ Past all the bars/ Hey, let’s grab a beer/ It’s awful late/ I’m becoming all alone again/ Stay, stay, stay”: You can see the pictures in front of you. The singing, the piano playing, the orchestra, then again just the voice. These songs are cinematographic, they complete breathtaking dramaturgy in four minutes: “Up The Mountain”, the strings climb and the brass blare, and the electrobeat gallops. In the shimmering piano etude Raindrops, Spektor casually quotes Burt Bacharach’s Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head.

“One Man’s Prayer” is sardonic and sounds something like “I’m a big, big girl in a big, big world”, but tells a man’s fantasy in role prose: I am the king and the girl is begging for a ring. “I’m not your doll, I’m not your pet,” she sings in SugarMan. “But I’m not the same since we met.” Home, Before And After is an enchanting fairy tale soundtrack and the fairy tale itself. Or let’s say: a musical with a loose plot and lots of hits. “Everyone loves a story about far, far away/ About long ago/ And what might have been.”


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