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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

1039 Ratings

THE ALBUM OF THE YEAR HAS ARRIVED

semiglia,

I have been looking forward to this album all year, and now this amazing work of art has arrived. Many of Regina's fans were upset that she changed her sound so much on this album from her previous one, but I welcomed this change, and personally loved it. She had many more resources at her disposal for this record, so her sound is more polished, but the things that make Regina spectacular are her extraordinary lyrics and incredible voice, both of which are very present in 'Begin to Hope'. Each song is beautifully crafted and will resonate in your mind for weeks after you hear them. My personal favorites are 'On the Radio', 'Fidelity', and 'Samson'. If you are new to Regina, this album will serve as a great introduction and if you are a long time Regina fan, acknowledge that she herself said she doesn't want her albums to sound the same. Regina Spektor, as an artist, has a right to change her sound and her true fans should accept this beautiful album for what it is, a masterpiece.

A True Artist

Leon Russell,

I know, "Artist" is overused. It should be reserved for those musicians who not only are talented and who sound good, but convey the idea that they would judge themselves a failure if they sounded like someone else, even someone great. This album confirms that Regina Spektor is an artist in this highest sense. She defies categorization. Her voice sounds like no one else's; her music sounds like no one else's; and her lyrics sound like no one else's. Her voice, music and lyrics are all not only original, but of the highest quality and fully mature. I was ready to dismiss Spektor's eccentric hiccoughs and grunts, which occasionally punctuate this album, as pretentious, but none are gratuitous; each rounds out the meaning of the song or suggests something about the character of the person from whose point of view the song is written. It's hard to "ipod" this album by omitting weaker tracks; they all convey something fresh and memorable. That is a sign of Spektor's commitment. To return to the theme, true artists give you the sense that they need to do what they are doing and would keep doing it even if no one bought their painting, sculpture, or record. Luckily, however, people are buying this album and so should you!

About Regina Spektor

A veteran of New York's anti-folk scene, songwriter Regina Spektor makes quirky, highly eclectic, but always personal music. Born and raised in Moscow until age nine, Spektor listened to her father's bootleg tapes of Western pop and rock as a young child and also learned to play piano. She and her family moved from Russia to the Bronx, where she was immersed in American culture (at the time, hers was the first Russian family in the borough in 20 years). Eventually, Spektor and her family became part of a community that balanced her Russian Jewish roots with her new home's culture. Meanwhile, she continued to practice piano anywhere she could, including at her synagogue, until her family got a piano of its own.

Spektor further developed her classical piano training by attending the SUNY Purchase Music Conservatory. During her studies, she was exposed to blues and jazz artists, including Billie Holiday. These sounds made such an impact on Spektor that they became a big part of her self-released 2001 debut album, 11:11. At the same time, she was also playing gigs anywhere she could in the city, in venues ranging from basements to parties to comedy clubs. On the strength of her frequent performances and another self-released album, 2002's Songs, Spektor developed a following that included Alan Bezozi, They Might Be Giants' drummer. He introduced Spektor to the Strokes' producer, Gordon Raphael, and both worked with Spektor on her third album, Soviet Kitsch, in both New York and London (where she collaborated with the band Kill Kenada). Soviet Kitsch was initially self-released like her other work, but it eventually found a wider release with Sire Records.

Tours with the Strokes, Kings of Leon, Mates of State, and the Moldy Peaches' Kimya Dawson further raised Spektor's profile. She also toured the U.K., where the success of "Us" as a European single led to the release of the CD/DVD retrospective Mary Ann Meets the Gravediggers and Other Short Stories early in 2006. That summer, Begin to Hope, her first album of original material for Sire, arrived. Begin to Hope enjoyed popularity on both sides of the Atlantic and went gold in America, where it also cracked the Top 20. After taking several years to tour and compose new material, Spektor returned in 2009 with Far, which featured a bevy of star producers, including Jeff Lynne, David Kahne, Mike Elizondo, and Garret "Jacknife" Lee. Spektor’s first-ever live release, Live in London, was recorded and filmed at London's legendary Hammersmith Apollo, and released in 2010. In summer 2011, Spektor reunited with Elizondo in Los Angeles to begin recording her next album, What We Saw from the Cheap Seats. The dark, driving single "All the Rowboats" arrived the following February, and the album itself was released in May 2012.

Accompanied by a full orchestra on select songs, Spektor returned with her seventh studio album, Remember Us to Life, in September 2016. That summer, she also recorded a live set at Chicago's WTTW studios for the PBS series Soundstage that included songs from the album as well as older favorites. After airing on television that October, the performance got a multi-format release by BMG Soundstage in March 2017. ~ Heather Phares

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