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Remember Us to Life (Deluxe)

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Album Review

Four years after her Top Five album What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, and three after being introduced to some via her original theme song for the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, Regina Spektor returns with Remember Us to Life. With a title that reflects its poignancy, at least relative to her catalog to date, it's still defined by Spektor's offbeat way with melody, phrasing, and diction, while expanding arrangements. Those arrangements span intimate piano ballads (though never merely voice and piano) and fully orchestrated set pieces, with a promise to reward those with a fondness for theatrical pop. Falling somewhere within the range of instrumentation is the jaunty "Older and Taller," which addresses a cad's return, with piano, drums, strings, and wordplay like "And all the lies, they were wiser/And the wise were the liars/And the liars were on fire/And the fires were put out." On the sparer side, and not to be confused with "Hotel Song" from one of her earlier EPs, "Grand Hotel" is a piano piece in 6/8 time, ornamented with occasional strings and tales of supernatural spirits. Later, "Small Bill$" takes an odd turn into playful, orchestral hip-hop that's followed by two earnest ballads, including the disarmingly profound "The Light" ("So many things I know, but they don't help me/Each day I open up my eyes and start again"). The most classical-minded entry, "Seller of Flowers," is contemporary orchestral song.

Arriving within a few years of first-time stage musicals for adult alternative songwriters Sara Bareilles (Waitress) and Tori Amos (The Light Princess), Remember Us to Life makes Spektor seem a natural for such a project, especially with her ease at mixing charming ballads and flamboyant chamber pop here. (If "The Trapper and the Furrier" weren't an audition for a musical-theater assignment, it could have been.) Actually, prior to the release of WWSFTCS, she was reported to have been working on music for a stage adaptation of Sleeping Beauty. While Broadway fans wait, they and others who can embrace the album's occasional leaps in tone have another distinctly Spektor song set to enjoy. Ultimately, the sweetness that's always been as much a part of her musical persona as quirkiness overrides any embellishment, offering a touch of drama without pretension. [Remember Us to Life was also released on LP.]

Customer Reviews

Masterpiece

Regina's voice and Piano take the front row in this album with the perfect amount of atmospheric sounds to add to -- not over power -- the raw beauty of her music. Lyrics are brilliant, thoughtful and poetic. Will always be my favorite artist.

GRAND HOTEL

That song is pure gold

Absolutely outstanding!

What an incredible album. This album differs from the previous as there's an amazing orchestration for each song, with a predominant piano. This does not take any of the intimate feeling of her songs. Instead it really allows us to enjoy the absolutely extaordinary voice that RS has. This is an abolute gem.

Biography

Born: February 19, 1980 in Moscow, Russia

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

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...
Full Bio